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Archive for April, 2009

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if you can’t beat em’ join em’

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Complete chaos again at the train station! Fudgeness. I’m not the type of person that would push, shove and cut in front of anyone though now I think I’m going to have to change my ways unfortunately, to “fit in” since I plan on being here for a while. In mere observation, people have very little concern for others in this populous country. The cutting in line, the shoving to get on the bus first, barging in an elevator before the people inside can step out, is an everyday thing, but simply because the Chinese are accustomed to it; same goes with the constant spitting in public. I don’t want to sound like I’m putting down the culture, because I’m not, its just plain observation. Plus, noting it will give others a heads up on these customs which can easily be mistaken for rudeness. Going on three months in China, I’m more used to it now. I learned to jostle my way through lines more aggressively now – go me! Although, I don’t think I’ll ever find myself horking up mucus and spitting publicly 🙂

Anyway, despite all the craziness at the station, this was by far the easiest ticket transaction yet, thanks to my friend Eunice. She was able to translate everything for me. No Chinese phrasebook needed here lol! It turned out that no trains ran to Guilin from Dalian. Sucks. I was so hyped on Guilin/Yanghsuo that I didn’t really think of a plan B – crap. For some reason, the next city that came to mind while I was standing at the ticket counter (while the ticket lady stared at us) was Nanjing, Jiangsu province – so I guess I’m heading to Nanjing for this May Day holiday, 1st-11th!! I love Chinese holidays!! I’ll start off in Nanjing and from there travel south to umm…. I’m not sure where yet…….but eventually ending up leaving China and crossing the border into Macau for my last visa run (hopefully). Getting this work visa is such a pain in the ass.

I’m a regular

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

So I’ve been hitting up this small Chinese eatery next to my apartment regularly. I remember my first visits being a bit awkward- constant stares, staff struggling to understand the foreigner who sucked at ordering in Chinese, my food coming out slower than usual etc… It didn’t bother me though because:

1) food is cheap and pretty darn good, especially their dumplings and dim sum.
2) the eatery is conveniently located near my pad and
3) my Chinese isn’t too great so that didn’t help with the ordering (although that will change in a few months)

After a few weeks I noticed things were changing…..

The usual stares were gone and replaced with smiles, small conversation in Chinese, better, faster service and get this…. minimal English words such as hello and bye bye. What? For me? 😀 Even the workers outside the restaurant smile and wave at me every time I pass by even when I’m NOT going in the restaurant. Nice.

This morning I woke up and decided to head over for some breakfast and the coolest thing happened. I’m walking towards the restaurant and from a distance I can already see the smiling worker outside waiting to greet me. I step inside, the waitress smiles and shouts out an order of Shao Mei!! (my usual order) WOW. I didn’t even make it to the table and already she’s ordering for me. Although, little did she know that I was in to order something different. I told her “Bu yao le shao mei” then we all busted out laughing, she started talking to me in Chinese and I just kept nodding my head. Didn’t understand her but I’m sure it was in the likes of “Oh I thought you were going to order your usual shao mei, you must of gotten sick of eating em’… yadda yadda yadda….” LOL.

Oh I’ll be back for my Shao mei – tomorrow or maybe for lunch 🙂

Twilight fever in Dalian?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

English books are hard to come by here in Dalian. Being that this city is home to a huge number of expats, I find that very surprising. According to my colleagues, there are a few bookstores that carry a small ... [Continue reading this entry]

new visa, new acoustic

Monday, April 13th, 2009

A few days ago, a friend and I were at the Chinese visa office applying for an extension. From the visa experiences I’ve had in the past, walking in, I was already expecting a sit down with a not-so-pleasant person ... [Continue reading this entry]

Qianshan National Park

Thursday, April 9th, 2009
Bingyu Valley was a no-go last weekend. Instead, the girls and I ended up hopping on a four hour train ride north to another city, Anshan, to visit the well-known Qianshan National Park -aka- "Thousand Lotus Flower Mountains". This ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lazy post, pics inside =)

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
Many Chinese spend their mornings playing cards or chess on a sidewalk. Every morning, I walk by this particular group. Sometimes I get lucky and catch some of them in an upset; which includes cussing out loudly at each ... [Continue reading this entry]