National Holiday vacation...and there's always some drama

Beijing Travel Blog

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The busted sink

I realize it’s been a while, and a lot’s happened.  Last Sunday I moved out of the hotel I’d been staying in since my arrival a little more than two weeks ago.  It wasn’t an expensive taxi ride, but it was something (then again, all Beijing taxi rides are).  I managed to get into the apartment and sigh.

What the Hell have I gotten myself into? 

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for quite often lately.  I’d gotten directions to a market across town, so I went there (and I finally found the place after a phone call saying my roommate wasn’t able to make it).  So I went in and found that they had pretty much everything.

What they used to fix the busted sink...

Lead me not into temptation, I can find the way myself.  Thank you very much.

So I found bedding (after walking through pajamas, glass stuff, socks…) and managed to buy a set of lime green Snoopy sheets, two pillows and a blanket for 300ÂĄ  ($40 US).  Probably could’ve done better since bargaining is expected there, but I was alone and just wanted my stuff in the midst of all that chaos.  I got some looks on the way back to Guo Mao (my Metro stop), but I didn’t care.  I walked to SoHo and then got a cab since I forgot my way back.  After setting up my bed, I realized that this was home for the next year…

Couldn’t get on the internet since the only good stray wireless signals my computer was finding were all secured.

Little ice cream cones with Pooh and Friends on the box

The next day I met Librette and her mom at the market and got more bedding things like comforters for the rooms and they picked up more sheet sets.  Once we had those, we went across the street to Pizza Hut for dinner.  You’d think that at an American restaurant, they’d know a little English.  Nope, welcome to China.  Thank goodness Librette knows Chinese.  Especially since her pizza was strangely almost devoid of pizza sauce…and they tried giving her ketchup.  I wouldn’t even do that.  Then we split for the night, me with the three comforters on the Metro.  It was a long 20 minute walk from the Metro to the apartment.

Tuesday- Went to the market yet again.

And I did mean little
  I got there early, so I had a little McDonald’s (pointing from a menu…how sad).  This time we went for rugs, towels, pillows and socks.  *shrugs*  From there we went our separate ways and yet again, it was another long 20 minute walk home.

Wednesday was Librette’s moving in day.  And did she have a lot of stuff, no wonder she hired a moving company.  Our landlady was there too, bringing over the microwave and putting some wax on the floors AGAIN.  I don’t know and I don’t want to know.  Spent the day getting settled and cleaning. 

Thursday was recoup day, we didn’t do much.  Friday was the trip to…WALMART!  We first explored the area and found a little market nearby that sold some Western things, so joy.

The best meal ever- French Toast with *real* Vermont maple syrup
  From there Librette found her bus to Wangfujing (I’m still on the Metro) and then it was time for some food.  We ate brunch at Grandma’s Kitchen in SoHo where they serve American style food.  I had banana pancakes, Librette and her mom shared a shrimp quesadilla, blueberry pancakes and an omelet.  There was much drama, but it wasn’t bad overall.  I found out that they also serve waffles, apple pie, meat loaf and other yummy foods.

Walmart was a trip!  I just wanted in and out, but it’s hard with two other people.  Finally, with our cart full to the brim, we made it to checkout…where some major drama occurred.  First the cashier hands over a stuffed bag that ends up hitting the floor…breaking a bottle of grape juice and wrecking the other things in there, then the cashier took off the stuff, Librette went to replace them…and all Hell broke loose.   There were receipts that weren’t printed, stuff being put into the wrong orders b/c the cashier wasn’t paying attention…it was just bad.  But we got everything settled up and down.

Saturday- Internet and Papa John’s!!  We found a video store nearby, but didn’t buy anything.  They had CSI, Firefly (since I didn’t bring my copy) and Supernatural!  They also had a Nickelback CD with loads of songs from all their albums.  We made a mental note to remember that place.  Also, we have a 7-11 nearby.  After Bank of China, we found the internet place where I finally got to send the “Sign of Life” email to the fam and friends back home. 

The best part- I found out that my (I’m possessive…) New England Revolution won the 2007 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.  They beat FC Dallas 3-2 behind goals from Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman and Wells Thompson.  And not only did he get a goal, Pat got two assists as well.  I’m hoping they put clips up because I want to see those goals.

Ironically enough, I was wearing my #20 Taylor shirt.  I wore it with mucho more pride in Beijing after that news.

From there we figured out that we didn’t have time to go anywhere else that we wanted because we didn’t have time to cross town and do our thing.  So we went to Papa John’s (again with the Revs).  The breadsticks weren’t that bad, just pizza crust with dipping sauce.  I got a meat pizza which was really pretty good.  Even got leftovers to bring home, bonus.

And the best part about Papa John’s- we get free delivery for orders over 50ÂĄ.  And their pizzas are over that anyway.  Go us!

Went to a grocery store for food stuffs- bread, cereal, tea, etc.  Stuff that I didn’t get at Walmart.  Then it was home time.  Saw that the Chinese like their Tang too.  Overall, I’ve found Oreo and Chips Ahoy cookies, shortbread cookies, black teas, Barilla pastas and sauces, Ritter Sport bars, Kit Kats, Hershey’s Kisses, and I’ve heard rumors of Ben & Jerry’s and Bisquick.

Stopped at the little store near the apartment since Librette’s mom was looking for Philadelphia cream cheese and whipped cream.  While we were looking in the small fridge case, a guy walks up to use and tells us about the Ritter bars and shows us the sample pack (I translated the German flavors), then he pointed out that our shirts had the Adidas stripes.  Then we started talking sports, especially basketball and baseball (and there was a lot of mime involved).   She only bought the cream cheese since the whipped cream was expensive.

Sunday ended up being a crap day since we were supposed to go out to do stuff, but couldn’t because we had to wait around for our kitchen sink to be fixed.  Apparently, the plumbing was shoddy to begin with (especially since they glued some pieces together…hot water melts glue…don’t think anyone told them that).  So nothing doing that day.  Found out I was scheduled to teach Tuesday when I was supposed to have Monday and Tuesday off.

A few things I’ve learned since I’ve been here.  Spitting in the street is acceptable behavior, babies are dressed without anything covering their backsides so that their parents can hold them over a garbage can when they do their business (haven’t seen it…yet), they don’t care about English spelling (as seen on clothes, signs, menus and DVDs) and they haven’t quite figured out the subtleties of staring.   I mean, I know I don’t blend in with my mousy brown hair, pale white skin and freckles, but come on!  Sometimes I feel like a sideshow freak (no comment from the peanut gallery).

Nice thing about China… cheap ass DVDs!!!!  I’ll be stocking up, that’s for sure.  Librette’s mom has 24 on right now, and she’s watching the season that has Brady Corbett in it.  He played Alan in the Jonathan Frakes’ Thunderbirds movie.  I’ll be getting CSI, CSI:NY, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Supernatural and whatever else I can get my grubby, greedy little paws on.

I found out that I really, really like my screensaver.  It’s all Pat Noonan and Taylor Twellman looking oh-so-gorgeous.  Especially in pics that I nabbed from where each are in front of an American flag.   I so needed a fan since they looked so wicked hot.  Yeah, I’m getting back into saying wicked.

I’m so teaching New England English.  At least they aren’t learning all about the Boston or Down East accents.

chineselink says:
Hi. I know your entry is from a while back, but I just wanted to comment on the staring business here in Beijing. Me, my wife and our 2 chinese-adopted-girls are here for a holiday. As I was told, staring in Beijing was not an issue anymore. still is, with our without a small girl sitting on my shoulders.

These people just come up to you, when you are sitting in a bench outside and just pop their heads between us and our girls... just to see if they just happened to be chinese or not. And when they found out that these girls are chinese...the chatting just gets started.

Even when I go out on myself, they can't keep to themselves.

Today in the Zoo, we were asked to be on someone's pictures, twice on different occasions. This is funny, but the staring we just have to ignore.
Posted on: May 02, 2008
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The busted sink
The busted sink
What they used to fix the busted s…
What they used to fix the busted …
Little ice cream cones with Pooh a…
Little ice cream cones with Pooh …
And I did mean little
And I did mean little
The best meal ever- French Toast w…
The best meal ever- French Toast …
photo by: Deats