Saturday, March 10, 2012

china train tickets

first, i realize it's been over 6 months since my last blog. i considered making it a new year's resolution to blog more. then i remembered when i made it my resolution to floss my teeth every night and that never panned out, so i didn't even make any resolutions.

so my first blog entry of the new year (yes, i realize it's march) is concerning train ticket buying in china. when we first came to china 7 yrs ago you could only buy tickets from the departure city to the place where you wanted to go. living in a small city also meant that we were never given seats on the train. no matter where we went, if we left from our city (siping) we'd have to stand the whole way. that also meant that when you arrived at the city where you were going to, you'd have to stand in line and buy a return ticket back to siping. for chinese people, this was standard and no one seemed concerned about how stressful this was for americans. americans like to have everything planned out, especially traveling times and dates. showing up to a city and not being sure if you were even going to get a ticket to return home the day and time that you wanted was always stressful. sometimes we'd get the time we wanted, but most of the time we'd settle for some slower train and get home later and have to sit next to the guy with his pick ax and bag of dead chickens.

two years ago policy changed we were allowed to buy tickets from anywhere in china. so that meant that we could purchase a return ticket back to our city from our city. man, that was like the best day ever! i couldn't believe it! so now if we wanted to travel to beijing for the weekend, we could buy a return ticket from beijing to siping in siping. holy cow! how awesome was that?

well this year they started selling tickets online. i know. i can't believe that china is moving into the 21st century with online ticket sales. we just purchased our first tickets online this week. now let's see if we actually get on the train, but at least china is moving forward!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

shopping in chiner

so i know i'm the worlds laziest blogger, but i just can't seem to arrive that things to blog about. but as i was cruising the isles of the local grocery store, i stumbled upon some gems that everyone needs to know about.

here's some of the pills found in the vitamin department:

this is called "wine-less (sober up)". so for all you drunks out there, china has figured out a way for you to sober is some "fur seal oil". what does someone want with fur seal oil? will it make their skin shiny?
"essence of kangaroo", now what good is a little kangaroo for?
here's some pig feet in the freezer. delicious!!!
a little chicken complete with his little, warmly welcome you to come shopping in china!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

my changing quality standards

ever since coming to china my standard for food quality and service at restaurants has changed dramatically. maybe because you never tip the waitress and when you want service you just yell at the workers. literally, if we want someone to come to our table we just yell "fu yuan" and someone will yell back acknowledging us and then come to the table. at first it was strange, but now i love it. i sometimes imagine myself sitting at applebees or fridays and yelling for my waitress - i probably wouldn't get any service and someone would spit in my chicken fingers.

anyway, i was thinking about how in america when you get weird flavored food or there is a hair in it, it's standard procedure to get another entree or get your food for free. like one time i went to eat at logan's in holland, mi. and i got a burger where there was mold all over the bottom bun. i was one bite away from eating it (thanks to rach for saving me on that one). the waiter was grossed out and the manager apologized and comped the burger. if that happened here, nothing would be replaced or comped. for my birthday we went to pizza hut and ordered a hawaiian pizza. when we started eating it, we tasted a very strong seafood flavor - yuck!!! i tasted some bits of crab and spicy seaweed junk in my pizza, so i decided to take some action and tell the manager. he was not phased at all by my complaint. in fact he said, "yeah, i know. we use the same knives and pans to cut the pizzas." what the heck? can someone say "cross contamination"? that evening was also spent in the w.c. as my body expelled the crummy pizza. then i went to kfc the next day and there was a hair in my drink and in my french fries. holy cow, a terrible string of dining experiences.

imagine this beauty of a pizza mixed with the pizza you really wanted to eat.

needless to say, if i was in america i would have complained up a storm and expected a refund. but in china, i just kinda roll with it. man, i've gotten lame.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

english class

here's the latest lesson from sam's preschool. rach and i noticed the english lesson on the door to her room last week.

the interesting phrase that they are learning is "get off the bus piggy". who is piggy? i hope they aren't learning to call fat people piggy. that would be a shame. i'm not really sure what they are learning. i was hoping that sam would be going to english class, because i think it would be funny and her english is probably better than the teacher's. but she only goes to school in the morning and english is in the afternoon, so i guess she won't be going. oh well, at least her english is pretty good.

here's also a picture of the cabinet that i successfully opened.

Monday, February 28, 2011

my life as a criminal

there is a cabinet in our apartment that we inherited from another teammate 6 yrs ago when we first got to china. at the bottom are two doors with a lock on it. the doors have been locked for 6 yrs and no one ever gave us a key. on sunday i decided that i was tired of having a locked cabinet and really needed the space for all the extra stuff we recently inherited from our teammates who went back to america. so i went to our building "handyman" (term used loosely) to ask for a drill to drill out the lock. he wasn't there so i explained to another lady what i needed. this was all in chinese and i didn't know how to say drill, those are vocabulary words that you don't cover in introductory chinese classes. she said she would tell the guy when he got back. so i headed home anxious about getting this stupid lock opened (not sure why it bothered me so much, but after 6 yrs enough was enough of having a locked cabinet). so i started researching online how to pick open a lock with a paperclip. i tried multiple methods and nothing worked. the people online make is seem so easy to be a criminal and pick locks with minimal tools. finally i stumbled across a youtube video of a kid with the metal thing from a pen cap and paper clip. i attempted to pick the lock for the 20th time of the day and to my surprise it totally worked. i know, it was awesome! i'm totally going to break into people's cabinets now. i told sam that there must be some kind of treasure inside the cabinet too. because really, who would lock a cabinet and then take the keys with them? something awesome must be inside. when i opened the doors, there was nothing but an old iron and 2 paper bags. what a disappointment. it was like when geraldo opened up that tomb and there was nothing. man, geraldo, i totally feel your pain. it wasn't even a cool iron. it was like the first iron every made to plug in, it didn't even have the steam function. just a big block of metal with a cord.

i should have been preparing for class, but now i learned a valuable life skill. thanks a lot 13yr old kid from youtube!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

back in action

here i am back in chiner :) we just arrive 3 days ago. i love me some jet lag too. how do you explain to a 3 yr old that even though their tummy says it's time to eat, the clock says it's time to go to bed. the first night here, sam went to sleep at 3 pm and then woke up at 1 am ready to go for the day - ugh! at least things are starting to look up. we're all going to bed around 9 pm now and getting up in the middle of the night, but at least the little sam actually goes back to sleep (without a snack).

so here's what's shakin' in china:

1. pizza hut!!!!!!! seriously, we have a pizza hut now. we don't even have a mcdonalds, but we actually have a pizza hut. we went for lunch today and they wouldn't make us a pepperoni pizza. how lame is that? isn't the pepperoni pizza what all pizza places were started on? it was difficult to explain that we didn't want the seafood toppings and that we only wanted the pepperoni, after the manager put the negatory on it, we were stuck ordering off the menu. but don't order the cheese pizza today, they don't have it. i know you're thinking - is it really pizza hut? according to the logo and prices it is.

2. crappier roads and an increase in taxi fares that's what else is new here.

3. chinese food still jacks up my tummy. i think i put some weight on after living in the states for a few months, but after the last days, i'm pretty sure that i'm back down to my "china weight".

now were are trying to wipe all the dust off our stuff and unpack all our stuff. i'm also realizing that 3 girls in one tiny apartment is going to be a difficult thing. man, those girls have a lot of clothes!

i'm still in shock about the pizza hut. when we first arrived in siping 5 yrs ago we just got snickers, and they were even hard to find. now i'm waiting for the mcdonalds.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

austin's animals

i was born in a city, no farm animals or farms. the closest thing to the farm was the orange groves (which is cool but lacking in big farm animals). so whenever i go to the midwest, i love the cows and farms. i'm also a fan of the small towns in america. that's the reason why i love to go to rach's hometown and read the local newspaper there. it's pretty awesome. one of the things they have in the paper is the local police reports. here is where they chronicle every activity that the police do throughout the day. so today's blog is dedicated to the entries in the police report that relate to the animals of austin.

* deceased cat found (that's it? nothing said about if there was an owner looking for it)
* officer dispatched to a deer that was hit by a car near international paper
* checked the area of 13th street and ninth avenue for loose dog, returned to owner
* report of a dog to be tied to duffle bad on interstate 90 (this is my favorite)
* loose dog in the 500th block of 4th street

* picked up an injured rabbit at 900 block of 23rd ave sw
* report of an animal complaint at the 100 block of 10th st
* checked on a dog that was inside a car for several hours at 600 block of 9th st, dog was fine
* checked the area for a dog that jumped at a mailman at the 1400 block of fifth street

so i came to the conclusion that the police in austin do more for the animals than the people.

on another note, here's a picture of us at austin's most famous museum - the spam museum.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

hangin' in NC

i realize that i'm the world's worst blogger, but i'm okay with that. the last entry was from china and now we are in cary, nc. we've been in the states since july and we're heading back to chiner in feb 2011.

since we've been home, we've been to a ton of place. we're putting miles on my parents mini-van, cuz they don't. here's some highlight so far of our time in america.

sam learned to waterski - this is more of a highlight for her dad.

we went to disney world.

we've carved some pumpkins (my is the one of the right).

we also went to the state fair last weekend and it was quite the experience. i love people watching in china, but the fair is way better. it's like i was in another country. ahh the fair, full of awesomeness!