National Holiday vacation...and there's always some drama
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 5 of 79 › view all entries
I realize itâ€™s been a while, and a lotâ€™s happened. Last Sunday I moved out of the hotel Iâ€™d been staying in since my arrival a little more than two weeks ago. It wasnâ€™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?
Thatâ€™s a question Iâ€™ve been asking myself for quite often lately. Iâ€™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 wasnâ€™t able to make it). So I went in and found that they had pretty much everything.
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, socksâ€¦) and managed to buy a set of lime green Snoopy sheets, two pillows and a blanket for 300ÂĄ ($40 US). Probably couldâ€™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 didnâ€™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 yearâ€¦
Couldnâ€™t get on the internet since the only good stray wireless signals my computer was finding were all secured.
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. Youâ€™d think that at an American restaurant, theyâ€™d know a little English. Nope, welcome to China. Thank goodness Librette knows Chinese. Especially since her pizza was strangely almost devoid of pizza sauceâ€¦and they tried giving her ketchup. I wouldnâ€™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.
Wednesday was Libretteâ€™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 donâ€™t know and I donâ€™t want to know. Spent the day getting settled and cleaning.
Thursday was recoup day, we didnâ€™t do much. Friday was the trip toâ€¦WALMART! We first explored the area and found a little market nearby that sold some Western things, so joy.
Walmart was a trip! I just wanted in and out, but itâ€™s hard with two other people. Finally, with our cart full to the brim, we made it to checkoutâ€¦where some major drama occurred. First the cashier hands over a stuffed bag that ends up hitting the floorâ€¦breaking a bottle of grape juice and wrecking the other things in there, then the cashier took off the stuff, Librette went to replace themâ€¦and all Hell broke loose. There were receipts that werenâ€™t printed, stuff being put into the wrong orders b/c the cashier wasnâ€™t paying attentionâ€¦it was just bad. But we got everything settled up and down.
Saturday- Internet and Papa Johnâ€™s!! We found a video store nearby, but didnâ€™t buy anything. They had CSI, Firefly (since I didnâ€™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 â€śSign of Lifeâ€ť email to the fam and friends back home.
The best part- I found out that my (Iâ€™m possessiveâ€¦) 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. Iâ€™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 didnâ€™t have time to go anywhere else that we wanted because we didnâ€™t have time to cross town and do our thing. So we went to Papa Johnâ€™s (again with the Revs). The breadsticks werenâ€™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 Johnâ€™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 didnâ€™t get at Walmart. Then it was home time. Saw that the Chinese like their Tang too. Overall, Iâ€™ve found Oreo and Chips Ahoy cookies, shortbread cookies, black teas, Barilla pastas and sauces, Ritter Sport bars, Kit Kats, Hersheyâ€™s Kisses, and Iâ€™ve heard rumors of Ben & Jerryâ€™s and Bisquick.
Stopped at the little store near the apartment since Libretteâ€™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 couldnâ€™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 togetherâ€¦hot water melts glueâ€¦donâ€™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 Iâ€™ve learned since Iâ€™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 (havenâ€™t seen itâ€¦yet), they donâ€™t care about English spelling (as seen on clothes, signs, menus and DVDs) and they havenâ€™t quite figured out the subtleties of staring. I mean, I know I donâ€™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 Chinaâ€¦ cheap ass DVDs!!!! Iâ€™ll be stocking up, thatâ€™s for sure. Libretteâ€™s mom has 24 on right now, and sheâ€™s watching the season that has Brady Corbett in it. He played Alan in the Jonathan Frakesâ€™ Thunderbirds movie. Iâ€™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. Itâ€™s all Pat Noonan and Taylor Twellman looking oh-so-gorgeous. Especially in pics that I nabbed from MLSnet.com where each are in front of an American flag. I so needed a fan since they looked so wicked hot. Yeah, Iâ€™m getting back into saying wicked.
Iâ€™m so teaching New England English. At least they arenâ€™t learning all about the Boston or Down East accents.