I now know what the forcast of "sand" feels like.

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
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Trip End Aug 31, 2011


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Flag of China  , Henan,
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Two Fridays ago I had a pretty annoying day at work. It's my day that I only have one class, but it's my horrible class. And they were horrible this day.

So my friend rescued me. She had reason to go and get some foreign goods, so she took me down to the street that has some stores that sell foreign foods. I didn't need anything, but I was happy for the walk. However, I finally got to experience the "sand" forecast in its full glory. Pretty much you could wipe your face and wipe off layers of dirt. Sand was permeating my hair and every pore. It felt like my eye balls were getting sanded from the amount of schmutz that was in there. Several sleep later black stuff was still coming out of them. It was very, very gross. 

While this seems to be as extreme as it gets, days like this appear to happen about once a week or so. Probably 3 times a month overall. Thankfully, Saturdays have always been pretty clear so I've gone out with the Chinese riding group.

Lucky for me, a professor at a law school here decided to add cycling to his range of sports. He went to the shop and laid down 1,000 for a bike that normally costs 750-800 in the US. He got a decent deal, too. In China, everything that's American is expensive. Well, not everything, but everything bike from America is expensive. I believe this to be simply because of the shipping. However, the Chinese brands could go ahead and just sell their stuff cheaper, however, they don't. Giant sells their bikes for the same price as Trek and Specialized do even their bikes don't come back from US distributors. Anyway, getting off my tangent...

The guy went to school in the US. Pretty sure it was law (duh) and ended up staying in the US for a while longer and took a job with CACI in Washington DC. He was surpsied and very slightly offended that I knew of CACI by the spoken word (sounds like khaki) rather than C-A-C-I. Apperantly the company themselves finds this offensive. When he asked how I knew about it I told him that I pay attention to protestors.

I find him interesting for quite a few reasons. First of all, I've heard many a stories about Chinese people who just couldn't make it in the US so they gave up and went home. I've also heard of Chinese people making it in the US and staying there to make it home. This guy was neither of those. He made it well in the US and purposefully did not nationalize so that he could come back and live in China. He came back because he was offered a primo position at the college. At the time of his hiring, foreign degrees were highly valued. Especially masters and PhD's. So he moved and settled here again. After a while he was bumped out of his position. The time of valuing foreign education had come and gone in only a year for him. The person who replaced him had no high degrees, but was high up in the party affiliation. He had been trying to convince me to come to his school (I might have taken it if the pay was better), but he also was telling me about the infighting and politics that went on behind the scenes there. I'm still waiting to hear back from the school about an offer even though I sent my information to them over 3 weeks ago. So he was definitely telling the truth about that.

The other Chinese guy that bikes I actually just found out he biked earlier this week. He is a friend of a friend and his job is hooking foreigners up with schools. One interview that we went to we decided to go by bike. He has a pretty cool Chinese touring bike (similar in function to a western tourer, but you can tell the culture is very different by the component selection. I won't bore you with the details in here). I invited him to go riding with myself and in the group. Turns out he also wants to go ahead and buy a racing bike as well. He realized that it would be a ton cheaper to buy the parts and build a bike (The individual components in China are dirt cheap, even cheaper than wholesale in the US, but completed bikes are way over priced). He basically told me, "I've got 10,000 yuan and want to build a race bike. Help me and I'll buy your race wheels." So I ended up doing that and have picked out some really nice components. When its done he'll have a real nice, raceable fully carbon road bike for slightly more than my other friend paid for his entry level basic American name brand bike. I'll take pictures of it once I'm done putting it together for him.

Speaking of which, it's my annual spring bike sale! Seems to have become a yearly tradition. Zhengzhou is already quite a success and I haven't even needed to make my phone number public. So far I've sold my waterproof panniers (bike bags), 2 cycling jerseys, and a bike. And I've got my set of wheels and the trainer lined up with a buyer, but not yet sold. Pretty much the only thing I'll have left to sell that I want to is my handlebar bag and my bike lock. So here's to hoping that gets done.

So anyway, here are a bunch of
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