Back in Qing Xi

Trip Start May 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 15, 2008

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

After returning back to Qing Xi we started to develop a routine as each day went on. Our normal routine is for me to get up around 7:30 or 8 and check emails and then get a shower. After that we decide if we are going to go out to breakfast at the Time Coffee restaurant or if we are going to have cereal in the room. We found a place that sells cereal and another place that sells milk. My favorite milk is called "breakfast milk" and it is sort of sweet. After breakfast I am picked up by Mike around 9:30 and we go off to start our day of work. The past week or so has consisted of us going to Graco's main production partner called Wonderland and reviewing a new product we are working on. After a morning of work I get a hold of Liz. I either send her an email from my phone, call her on her chinese cell phone that was given to her by Mike, or I call the hotel and I tell them this, in chinese..."Hey, this is the foreign devil who is staying at your hotel, I want to talk to my girlfriend in room 1022"...they are giggling as soon as I say foreign devil (a common name for foreigners here) and then they connect me to the room...I then tell Liz that we are on our way to pick her up and where we are going to eat...sometimes we eat lunch at Mike's house, other times we go to get sushi or beef noodle soup, other times we go and get a's a surprise each day. Not understanding everything that is being said around you leads to a lot of surprises...sometimes things will just appear that you asked for a few days ago, like Liz's cell phone. They could have been talking about getting this cell phone for a while and we didn't know it and next thing we know Liz has a cell phone that only works inside of China. After lunch we either take Liz back to the hotel or she comes with us to our next stop. If she goes back to the hotel she will usually take a nap, catch up on emails or the celebrity gossip in the US. She has also been doing crossword puzzles and reading a book that I gave her on China. Sometimes I also go back to the hotel and try to keep up on my workload that I would usually have back home. It has been somewhat difficult for me to stay on top of emails, analyses, learning Chinese, learning about molds and attending tooling reviews. As we continue to develop a routine, the juggling is becoming easier.

We plan on going to the gym around 4 every day and Mike and Xiao Li actually meet us there. Mike says he hasn't been to a gym in about 6 years and he is excited that we got him back into it. Xiao Li on the other hand has never exercised in her life and struggled to do one sit up. She told Mike "she is going to be the sexiest woman in all of China" and it seems like she enjoys being there. The gym is basically a sauna that guarantees a soaking wet shirt with every workout. We get back to the hotel around 5 and have to quickly get ready because dinner plans are usually for 6 o'clock. Dinner almost always involves a few beers and we really haven't had a meal that we have disliked. We have moved into a new hotel room at the Sen Mei Hotel that is considered a suite.

It is the first suite that was finished in the hotel and we are the first people to stay in it. It is much bigger than the previous room and it has a second living room area. We like it because it gives us more storage space for our stuff and we don't feel as closed in.

The view of the mountains is beautiful when it's clear enough to see and we plan on doing some hiking on one of the weekends.

One of the issues with the hotel is the fact that Liz has gotten a ton of bug bites on her legs.

They are most likely bed bugs, but I haven't gotten bit yet. So we are trying to figure out what the cause is. She went to the pharmacist with Xiao Li today and showed them her legs and they ran off and got her some stuff to put on them. When we got back to the hotel we discovered that it was basically Vicks and it has worked wonders for her itchiness. While on the topic of issues with Liz, her stomach hasn't been processing the food very well and she hasn't been visiting the toilet very often. We have acquired four different kinds of Chinese poop medicines and she is getting better each day.

Other things we have done in our free time over the last week or so are:

We went to Karaoke for the first time on this trip. Liz was definitely hesitant to go to karaoke in China, but she was a great sport and wound up having a fun night once we got settled in. The deal with karaoke in this part of China is that someone rents out a private room at the karaoke place. It is a room that consists of a large wrap around couch, a large TV and a karaoke system. There is no stage and no guy that you tell what song you want to sing, you select the songs with the remote and sing whenever you want. That night we drank this horrible red wine that is mixed with 7-UP which makes it taste a little better. It is drank out of very small, shot sized, wine glasses and there are dice games that some people play to pass the time. There are "ladies of the evening" at karaoke, but we only treat them as friends and send them on their way when we are done singing. Liz and I sang Take Me Home Country Roads.

And a few other American pop songs, we sound really good together. The guys that invited us to karaoke are some of the few Asians that can drink a lot of booze. We all wound up drinking a lot and they were able to hang with us all night.

We got invited to our first Chinese house warming party that was held at a Hunan restaurant. The party was for our friend Liu You Hong and this was the first house he has ever purchased. There were approximately 60 people at the party and we had a good time.

As soon as the food was cleared we left the party. We could have stuck around for a while longer, but Mike has been to enough of these banquets to know that it would have turned in to a game of lets see how much the foreigners can drink.

We've also had dinner at Xiao Li's Uncles house. They live in an "apartment" that rents for $12/month.

The meal was delicious and we stuck around for a while so Mike could try and beat Xiao Li at this card game called Kill the Landowner. She is an expert at this game and Mike believes that she can truly count cards.

We also had a meal at a Korean BBQ that involved a set of coals being placed in the middle of the table and the meal was cooked by a waitress in front of us.

After our Korean meal we went bowling at a place about 20 minutes from Qing Xi. We bowled enough to make our arms hurt and it is always an experience seeing some of the uncoordinated Chinese try to bowl. If you bowl a certain score or get a certain number of strikes, you receive a "prize". Here is a picture of me receiving the great prize of a bottle of water for bowling 4 strikes in a row.

And here I am receiving my second award of buy one get one free for bowling over 170.

Finally Mike and I had a bowling championship to see who was the Grand Master of the World and he won. I now owe him a case of beer.

The final topic of interest is a trip to the Columbus bar where we were playing Jenga and Liz was reading thru the list of shots that were translated into English. The one shot was named "nothing". Mike asked the one manager of the bar who was playing Jenga with us "what is this shot of nothing" she replied back by saying "Mei You" which means 'do not have' in Chinese. We had to try it.

Overall we are really enjoying our time here. We have made plans to go into Hong Kong this Saturday morning for the weekend. The main reason for this trip is that our visas only allow us be in China for 30 days at a time. Going into Hong Kong is considered leaving the country of China. We will be staying at the Sheraton in Kowloon near the Space Museum. This Sunday is the Dragon Boat Festival and we hope to see some of it before we head back up into China.
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Where I stayed
Sen Mei Hotel

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