Here is the legal disclaimer – if you do not want to get these bloggy mails, either let me know or delete them. I am trying to figure out how to actually do a blog, but I am about as computer literate as an 18th century monk so – one fine day……. Although a friend is hooking me up so maybe sooner than I think!
Firstly – I apologize to my facebook friends. Forgot to put change my status to “Banished to the land of no facebook”.
Anyhow – let’s get started with where we left off.
Got to my apartment on Saturday afternoon – LONG flight. Seems like it gets longer every time although I think that is a function of me getting older. Was happy to see that things are pretty much the same – pretty much.
The cooktop cover on the stove was put in the upwards position, and a pan was left sitting on the range top. Like that would ever happen again – seriously? I blew it up, paid for it, they replaced it (and a much nicer one I might add) – so did they seriously think that I would blow it up again? Maybe they think it is a strange American ritual to blow up the stove the first day in China. Had to shake my head and have a little laugh.
Now – for those of you who doubt me, I can proudly tell you I cooked dinner Sat AND Sun night here. Yep – enjoyed a fabulous frozen pizza on Sat (understandable as I could not make City Shops on Sat). And on Sun (after my trip to City Shops) a wonderful can of potato leek soup and a piece of frozen garlic bread. OK – so took the lazy girl route. But I did pickup fixins for risotto which is on the menu for the weekend.
Another weird thing – no more buttons on the toilet. Completely changed it – brand new toilet. Now I am button free. Again – I have to ask – did they really think that would happen again? And how could they know what happened? I cleaned up the mess. Seriously. Do they have cameras in here?
Now the really weird thing. My plates shrunk. I swear on a stack of bibles. When I left they were full dinner sized plates. Now – my cell phone nests snugly in the plate. I sent a mail asking where my plates were. I was told firmly to look in the kitchen. I explained that the ones in the kitchen were the small offspring of the plates I used to have. They told me to look in the kitchen. I took a photo of the plate with my cellphone to prove my point, but of course my cell is not working here for some reason so I cannot send it to anyone. Looks like I am on a diet for the duration. I had two pieces of toast for breakfast. Took two plates.
And the maids. I got here literally late Saturday afternoon. They came yesterday and changed the linens. Hm. And today, to clean the apartment. It is only Monday. Again, I am NOT a dirty person. So me thinks they are back to their sneaky ways and spying on me. I can just see the maid bulletin board – “she who wipes her face with sanitary napkins is back – be on alert”.
Oh – and one other thing. For those of you who remember the whole “flying panties” episode from earlier this year – they moved the clothes drying rack to the FRONT balcony. Guess they are now going to give prizes to the one who collects the most big American panties! Seriously?
And the last apartment note – the landlord gave me a bottle of champagne. Yep – in a very nice ice filled bucket with two glasses. Hm. OK – the ice melted so I washed the bucket. The bottle is in the fridge. The glasses are still sitting on the counter and I am trying not to knock them over and break them when I wash dishes. Not sure if they were happy I am back or hoping I would stay drunk the whole time and not blow anything up. Weird but nice. I guess.
So Sunday I figured it would be fun to have a “Chinese immersion” day. Spend a nice lunch and afternoon with 8 of my closest Chinese friends. Do lunch the real Chinese way and get reminded of my love for this country. Can you say noodle house? Speak a bunch of Chinese and try not to piss anyone off. Exactly what the doctor ordered.
So – I am sure you guessed it. Spend the afternoon at ……………… California Pizza Kitchen. Seriously. Menu is not the same exactly, but REAL pepperoni – I swear. Not the normal Chinese pepperoni. And the Thai Chicken Pizza? YUMMY – the same as home.
Did get to speak Chinese and did not piss anyone off. But got a lot of blank looks and a few laughs.
And got to see my goddaughter Abby. She is a pistol. She was eyeballing the sponge bob square pants balloon from the moment we arrived. Of course it was tied to the chair of a little boy at the next table. Within an hour she was walking around the restaurant with – yep – the sponge bob balloon. Personally, I think she takes after me. Except for the looks of course. She is really cute!
So today back to work. Unfortunately I slept until 0730. I should note that I went to bed at 2000 (8 pm) so it was a little surprising I slept so late. But at least it was Monday and I did not have a million mails backed up.
Had a really good day – went to the office, got stuff done and arranged the trip to Dalian for tomorrow to have a look at the windmills we will load out next week. All in all great day and had a lot of stuff to think about on the way back to the apartment. Only problem is, the auto pilot was not yet working. Decided that it was stupid to take a taxi at rush hour. The traffic would take me at least 30 minutes. So of course the smart thing to do is take the Metro (subway). I am a tall American woman and have learned how to get onto the subway without waiting for 10 trains. I can just wade through the masses and get on the first train. The office is only 2 stops away so literally the Metro takes 3 minutes. And then a walk of about 10 minutes.
So you may be wondering then if it is a 3 minute Metro ride and a 10 minute walk … why the heck it took me 1 hour 20 minutes to get home. GOOD question.
Again – apparently the auto pilot is not working, or just needs to be rebooted.
You see when I got off I automatically walked to exit #4. Unfortunately, this is the exit for the OFFICE metro stop – not the HOME metro stop.
Then I (for some strange reason) was not paying attention and went into lemming mode. Yep – just followed the crowd. After a while I started looking around me and realized that I had NO IDEA where the heck I was. I looked for my landmark which is a really tall building outlined with blue lights (at night of course) and a big hole in the top of the building. Uh oh – nowhere to be found. I dead stopped and after getting rear ended by about 20 people tried to get my bearings and realized I had no clue at all where I was. Seriously.
So of course, smart girl that I am – I kept walking thinking that surely I would recognize something – anything. Nope. Nothing.
I realized that the best thing to do (ok – the sissy-girl thing to do) would be to get a taxi. Unfortunately I was waived away by at least a half a dozen taxis. They would not take me (and yes – they had the green light on top so they were looking for business). I admit that maybe I looked a little harassed – but not crazy or anything. Why wouldn’t they pick me up? I have to ask Wallace about this.
Maybe they figured that I was a stupid American who obviously looked lost but lived close and they did not want a short fare? Who knows.
Anyhow after realizing that there was no taxi in my future, I walked a ways further and saw Union Square. Then I realized I had been walking parallel to my apartment the whole time (and a few blocks north – at least I think it is north). So FINALLY I saw Puchang road, and then I saw the big building with the blue lights like a beacon in the wilderness.
OK – a little dramatic but my feet were killing me and my shoulder was about 2” shorter than when I left the office due to a heavy briefcase.
And by the way – don’t the Chinese learn about music? I mean – why did the guards look at me like I was crazy when I walked through the complex gate singing Halleluiah? Have they never heard of Cohen?
So I made it. I walked and to me that is a gold star on the cupcake of my day.
Gotta go soak a couple of dead dogs (my feet), eat some dinner (yippee – minestrone soup) and get some sleep as I have to be up at 0400 for an early flight to Dalian.
But I am happy to be back even though I seem to be a dismal failure at life in China. But as long as they put up with me, I will keep coming back. Although they did refuse to renew my visa (seriously – the Houston Chinese consulate told me no) – which expires Nov 18 (well before I return to the states) – should I take that personally?
Maybe blowing up major appliances is a felony here…. I didn’t think of that before now.
If I suddenly disappear – please look for me in the blowing up appliances jail here ok? Or, maybe I am just being paranoid. You decide.
Hopefully you will hear from me end of the week.
In the meantime, take care and write back. I love to hear from you all!