With the lack of any real news around here, I will provide you with a few stories.
Story number 1 (concerning the strange picture)
This picture is courtesy of our friends back in Winnipeg. That creepy rubber head in the window used to be our neighbor across the street. The day we moved in, we noticed that there was a strange man who appeared to be in a wheelchair constantly watching us. It started out very non-suspiciously. But as the day went on, I started to feel sorry for the man who's caretakers had obviously forgotten him out on the porch. Oh well. But the next day bright and early, there he was again...watching... It became a little creepy. Everytime we took the garbage out, there he was...watching... After a while, I became suspicious because the skin around his neck looked a little too flabby (rather Men-in-Black-like). Only after trespassing on the neighbor's yard and walking up to the window did we realize that it was a strange rubber head. For many different reasons, we were not all that sad to move out of the house. However, this recent picture tells us that the head is still there. Thank goodness, I was afraid he might have moved.
Story number 2
A few weeks ago, as Jude was walking around with two cups on his feet like a strangely hoofed animal (or Tumnus the Fawn), he tripped and spilled coffee all over our laptop keyboard (that is not the funny part). The keyboard of course fizzled into an unresponsive state. So James found a Mac warehouse here in Beijing and bought a new keyboard to install in the laptop. While he was waiting for the parts, the man serving him asked him where he was from. Upon hearing that James was Canadian he exclaimed with excitement "Jianada ren! Wo ye renshi Jianada ren!" (Canadian! I also know a Canadian), at which point he pulled out his cellphone and immediately dialed a phone number and spoke into the phone. "Nihao, xianzai you yi ge Jianada ren gen wo zai yiqi. Shuo hua ba!" (Hi, I have another Canadian here with me. Talk to him!"
James awkwardly took the phone, and he and the stranger on the other end chuckled that they were supposed to have some sort of meaningful discussion because they were both Canadian. But feeling obliged, they chatted anyway. The Canadian told James that he had met this man once (five years ago) only a week after he arrived in China. He generously stated that if we ever found ourselves in Hong Kong we should look him up!
Story number 3
We have gotten used to the fact that people are usually taking our pictures with their cellphones on the street. My solution is usually to ignore them, but they are far from subtle. But there was once that James pulled a good stunt. The man at the bus stop next to him "stretched" with the lens of his cellphone pointed at James. As the man pretended nonchalance, James gave the camera the biggest goofiest grin possible. When the man pulled the phone back, he looked at the picture and physically jolted with the shock of seeing James' face. He looked at James with surprise, and James grinned back. Subtlety breeds subtlety!