911 and Autumn festival.
Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
101Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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What I did
Saw the Qaintang river's tidal bore.
After getting familiar with the game "Mah Jongg" last night on the internet: this morning Lil Al and I went looking for a "Mah Jongg" tile set, I plan to learn how to play the game. I figure that "Mah Jongg" is a great way to hang out with the locals without having to speak too much of their language. They play this for hours and I very much want to join in all the fun. I only know how to play Mah Jongg solitaire which has little to do with the actual game but does get you familier with the different tiles (and teaches you to read a few Chinese characters as well!). Lil' Al is ok to a small extent as an interpreter, but he does not know this town. Most people that live are are temporary and they don't know it either. Al comes along just for the fun of biking with someone. We are homies for the most part. I know the town better since I've lived here longer and I do get on a HZ expat site and ask a lot of questions
Did buy a $50 classical guitar yesterday, probably a $300 guitar in the states, the quality is pretty good. I started on a classical about 30 years ago and after steel strings and electrics, decided to revert back to classical since I never use a pick anyway. Plus, the sounds that Willy Nelson can make with his classical amazes me. Nice to be able to play an instrument much quieter than the sax, though I do manage to get some sax in once a day for a little while
Tonight I quietly played on the front porch of my 5th floor flat. The much louder noise of the local children playing, the bike and car alarms, horns honking, people shouting to each other, kept my playing secret enough, the sax is a louder instrument and the sound carries quite well though concrete.
THESE TWO WATER PICTURES ARE MOVIES! BE SURE TO CLICK ON THEM!!!!!!! (note that the boat in the still picture is the same boat but on the opposite side in the first movie)... he better move that thing by Thursday when the big one hits!
Drove way out to the Qaintang River this afternoon, mainly to see what it looked like and got there just in time to see the famous "Tidal Bore", that this river is world famous for. When high tide hits, a big rushing wave goes miles up the river from the bay and the noise can be deafening. Several rivers in the world experience the Tidal Bore, but the largest is in the Qaintang River that runs right though Xiasha. Only happens like once a day and I got there right before it happened. Very powerful and amazing. This Thursday is should be more magnificent than today, the most powerful tidal bore of the year, and I will not miss it
Went off to see the tidal bore again close to the same time as yesterday. It happens 40 minutes later each day (dont know much about tidal timing). This time I went to the main viewing area, where they had thousands of people and a big screen showing about tidal bores
Fun afternoon: Then I went to see my office (shared with others blah...) of course no one was there since it is a holiday and all. The army was alive and well, seems that every where on campus I rode to, I met up with a squadron or two: all wearing camo. I'm the lone whitey running around, it was like being in a video game except that half the army were adorable little Chinese girls some holding hands when they walk. This kept the fear factor to a minimum.
Once bored with campus, I went to a small Chinese supermarket (not convenience store), and looked for peanut butter but to no avail. Some Chinese guy kept following me, I thought he was the store detective so I walked up to him and said Ni how? He just put my arm next to his and marveled on how much larger and hairier my arm was than his. Then he shook my hand and walked away. Later I noticed he was just kind of hanging around so he probably was the store detective, just not very good at his job.
Went to KFC again, always a million people there and of course they had no mashed potatoes and gravy again (the Colonel was more proud of his gravy than his chicken FYI), but the chicken was authentic and since two pieces and a coke were only 2 dollars.... an exceptional deal for KFC. After that I came home, took a nap, decided to stay home this evening bla bla bla....
Did make the 5 flight run down stairs, merely to unplug the bike charger and put it away, then easily ran back up. Three weeks ago, I just would have stayed upstairs and risked losing the charger
Spend a couple hours on the blog as usual, then plugged in a bug repellent (just like the one I bought my mom this summer, only it can plug into a socket and not rely on propane. This is for Mosquitos. The one's near Shanghai are fast little bastards. They are only on you for a split second then leave. They are so small you can't hear or feel them. Like little Japanese Zero dive bomber from "The War of Japanese Aggression" (as the Chinese call it). But the plug in repellant does work. I need to bring back loads of these devices and baits to Texas where the Mozzies aren't as lethal and fast. I think we are in the Dengue fever zone but safe from Malaria and Yellow Fever. Regardless, I get bit many times each day. Just parking the bike gets at least a bite or two. Don;t even feel it till the next day when it itches a little.
Got a late start playing the sax tonight, so while playing around 10:15, the local party member pounds on my door. Up until 10 PM, it's loud as heck around here, but at the magic hour of 10 PM, most of the apartments all go to sleep like good commies!!! (joke) There are many night owls like me in China, but they knew better than to blare out Elton John tunes after the quiet time
Then around 1:40 I plan to check on the tidal bore, it's is supposed to be bigger each day until Thursday. I also need to spend some more time in the office creating lesson plans, but I need to find out exactly what curriculem my classes are expected to teach. I know they have this, but everyone is on vacation until Wednesday due to the Autumn Festival.
As usual none of my plans remained static. Up since 8 AM. with a new round of Bejing Belly, (also known as the "Taipei Trots"). Checked my E-mail and the boss sez that lesson plans and syllabi for the entire semester is due in two days. Caught me off guard, but it is time to get serious
Ever go to a Chinese ethnic food store in the US just to see if there is anything you care to eat? I have and the answer is usually "What the hell is this stuff, and what to I do with it"? This is the way that mainstream Chinese grocery stores tend to be. Yeah, I know what to do with snacks like "Pocky" (love pocky), but 95 percent is unrecognizable and little is written in English. A lot off meats in Shrink-wrapped packaging, non refrigerated kind of like "Slim Jim" beef sticks, but I've seen shrink-wrapped chicken legs and spareribs and chit like dat? WTF..Way too much of that factor here. I can go to an Islamic or Indian ethnic food store and understand what to use it for? Why is Chinese cuisine so much more foreign than Indian and Persian cuisines? I spent at least an hour combing the shelves at our supermarket looking for one thing
Speaking of Chinese (or Zhejiangese) foods, they really go all out as far as variety goes. The typical menu of a 2 star restaurant will have up to 200 choices. And the food style has far more ingredients than lets say, Italian, Indian, and Mexican food combined. My favorite hotel to eat at (now that I know the word for "Cold Beer", serves every part of every food animal (no bugs or rodents or house pets served here.....cept frog and turtle). Would you like pork ribs, meat, brains, kidneys, tails, feet, livers, stomachs, lungs, or just bites of the skin? These chefs put the rest of the worlds' to shame as far as basic knowledge of food preparation goes. My hot and sour soup tonight had at least 40 different ingredients, I do make this dish at home and use 20 or more (which is a lot for me)
Speaking of not wanting any Chinese food today, I heard that this place pictured: Thats right, it's the "Feeldom Cafe". Which is a very high dollar place as evidenced by the Porches, Mercedes, ect... out front. Huge wide luxurious seats, marble columns, even free paper napkins at the tables, which is a rarity in China. The attached hotel/skyscraper is a $300 per night and up which makes it the nicest place in town. I heard today, that the "Feeldom" has Western Food choices (although mostly not). I opted for a Club sandwich and fries ffor a mere $5.00, leaving me enough money for a huge assed mango smoothy made with actual mangos and not just mango sludge