Monday, October 31, 2005

The Best Bags Ever!
It didn't take long for me to figure out that carrying home several Wal-Mart plastic bags in each hand was not going to work. I decided to find some bags I could use and was delighted to find some at and before I knew it they arrived in the mail. Now I take them with me everytime I go shopping. They fold up and fit nicely in my purse and hold a lot! Just check out what I got today:

One loaf of bread for sandwiches
One loaf dessert bread
Four 260 ml bottles of diet coke with lemon
One bag of flour (1.5 kg)
Two candy bars
Eight eggs
One packet frying seasoning
One lemon
Four small packets of tomato paste (about 2 Tbsp each)
Two cucumbers
One package beef (.25kg)
Four packages of chicken (totally just over 1.5 kg)
Two Asian eggplants
One bunch bananas
Two ears of corn
Four large carrots (just under .5 kg)

I managed to spend about $7. I am forcing myself NOT to be a bargain shopper in China. I figure if I want it and they got it I better splurge. Never know what they will have next time I go. Tonight I used one package of chicken and the eggplant for dinner. Wonder what we will have tomorrow...

See my great bags on the chair? All of the items in the picture on the right were in them and there was still room to spare.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More Fast Food?
Our stuff finally arrived and the unpacking is almost done. When it first arrived, we needed to take a break from unpacking and have something to eat. What says moving day like pizza? We decided to go to Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut here is pretty upscale. I mean, when is the last time you got prawn or escargots at a Pizza Hut in the US? I ordered a cheese lover's pizza hoping that there might be at least a little bit of cheese on it. It was AWESOME! Cheese was oozing off of the thing, and it was good cheese too. Rob got the American special. They accidently brought him a ham pizza first so they let him eat that while they made the pepperoni one. Ham, pepperoni, guess it is hard to tell the difference. Anyway, I have decided that Pizza Hut is my favorite place to eat here. I LOVE cheese and it can be difficult to find here. I might even save enough room next time to try a dessert like their black forest cake. Check out the Chinese Pizza Hut site at and see for yourself all of the yummy (and not so yummy) things they have. Eel pizza anyone?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm Loving It!

When I lived in the US I very rarely ate at McDonald's. It just didn't do much for me. When I was sick I craved their cheeseburgers. Wanting one of them could only mean bronchitis was setting in. It was so predictable that I really could save myself a trip to the doctor. (I want a cheeseburger from McDonald's? Must be bronchitis!) Now that we are in China, I crave McDonald's about once a week. So far I have tried their Big Mac, cheeseburgers, hot chicken strips, fries, sweet taro pie, stawberry shake, chocolate shake, and soft serve ice cream. Cheeseburgers are my favorite. I am so excited to have real cheese (or real processed cheese product at least). Yum. I want one right now! The burgers and fries have tasted the same as those in the States (thus far). Check out there site:

Thursday, October 06, 2005

We Don't Speak Chinese!

Last night Rob and I decided to get our Chinese food to go so that we could bring it back to our place, eat what we wanted, and then have leftovers. We had previously had someone at the hotel write (in Chinese) that we wanted to get our food to go. At least, that is what we asked them to write. I think it came out to be something more like "we want take food from here back to hotel to eat so please help we." Anyway, got to our restaurant, some waitress type chic read the note and took our order. We sat on the side of restaurant waiting for our food, minding our own business. Of course we were quite a sight, being white as we are. One lady came over from her table and sat beside me and started talking. We kind of looked at her and shook our heads, so she indicated that she wanted to write something. Hmmm... that doesn't seem like something that is going to work. If we don't SPEAK the language, why would we read it? Do we look like we speak Cantonese and not Mandarin? Whatever. She saw our "take out" note and was amused by it. She was disappointed that we couldn't read her note so she tried to write something else. (Why, I don't know.) She gave us her phone number so that we could call her. Ah, that would be great. We can't communicate in person so the phone would be much easier. Don't really get that. Of course she wanted our phone number too. Okay random Chinese lady, like I am going to give you my phone number. Should she try to call I am sure she will enjoy the recorded message from our disconnected Verizon number in Maryland. She might not know that it isn't me. Her husband also joined in our conversation (or lack thereof) and wanted to know where we lived. We were able to explain that we are staying in the Sheraton Hotel. Since that is on the other side of town, he wanted to know why we were where we were and decided that it was because we wanted to see the Mao statue. Well, we got to give them big hugs and they are now our good friends, or at least a good story that they can tell their friends. I only wish I had my polaroid. I bet we could clean up charging people for photos with us. I am starting to think that I really need to make sure to do my hair and make up before I go out. What a burden being a celebrity!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Beiling Park and the North Tomb

Rob and I decided that we should go up to Beiling Park and the North Tomb. The North Tomb, located in the north part of Shenyang, is called the Zhaoling Tomb . It was built in 1642 and is the tomb of the second emperor of the Qing Dynasty and his wife. It is one of the three largest tombs in Northeastern China. The park itself is quite large and actually costs to get in. It was another beautiful day and there won't be many more before it gets cold.

For some of the people there I think Rob and I were a bigger attraction than the tomb. I mean, the tombs have been open to the public since 1920, but how often can you see Noodles and Rob visiting them? Small children were tapping their parents and pointing at us. One girl saw us and started laughing, though she did cover her mouth with her hand. One little boy was running ahead of his family, not paying attention, and nearly ran into us. I wish I had a picture of the expression on his face. It was a look of suprise, fascination, and fear. I feel kind of like a wild animal encountered in the woods. If you are out there you know there is a possibility, but when you actually encounter one you don't know how to react.

Big Spenders: Our (just over) $20 Day

  • Cab fare to and from the park $4
  • Admission to the park and the tomb (for both of us) $9
  • Nestle ice cream drumsticks and water $2.50
  • Dinner at local restaurant (braised eggplant, sweet and sour pork with pineapple, spicy diced chicken, and rice) $5.25

Now we did get cheated a little bit on cab fare on the way up. Whether snacks at the park were as pricey for the Chinese as for us is also unknown. Whatever. It was within what I was willing to pay. As Rob said, we wouldn't have spent more money in the States just going out to Applebees.

Monday, October 03, 2005

National Day Adventure
To celebrate China National Day (or at least to take advantage of Rob's work holiday and the beautiful weather) we decided to go to Nanhu Park. I had read that there wea supposed to be a big flower and plant display. That we never saw, but enjoyed the park nevertheless.
It is the biggest park we have gone to, though not the biggest park in the area. It was nice to get out of the city rush and noises and enjoy nature and a bit of quiet. It is already October and nice days like these won't be around much longer. I think secretly (or not so secretly, we just don't speak Chinese) people were suprised to see us without jackets on. At least I wasn't wearing open toed shoes! The calendar seems to dictate what one should wear more than the weather does. True, it wasn't HOT today, but it was odd seeing everyone with a jacket or sweatshirt or something on.
The river was full of paddle boats and a few row boats. On one side of the park there were a bunch of little kiddie rides and even a big ferris wheel. We decided to be wild and crazy and spend a whole $1.25 so that we could see an exhibit in the park. I call it an exhibit, because I
am not really sure what it was supposed to be. It seemed kind of random to us. The entrance had some small birds in cages, a few peacocks, a turkey, and a vulture. There was a small alligator, some rabbits, pot bellied pigs, fish, and some interesting little paths and building structures. Things were interesting, but kind of random. It made me think of someone who had a nice sized yard and some animals who decided, hey why not charge admission to our yard and see if people want to come and see it?
At one point in the day, we were sitting on a bench taking a break from walking and just enjoying the surroundings. A group of people were walking by and stopped. One of the ladies stood by a tree and another member of the group took her picture. They were trying to get us in the picture with her, but discretely. I recognized what they were doing and made eye contact with the photographer, nodded, and smiled. The group swarmed us, pushing a small girl to us so they could get a picture of her with us. She cried and didn't want to get anywhere near us. The others took turns sitting on the bench with us and getting their pictures taken. I wish I had thought to give them my camera too. We probably have more opportunities to have our picture taken with random Chinese people than they do to have their pictures taken with Americans. (The picture off to the right is from the exhibit, it is not the people who had their picture taken with us.)
Well, this is quite a lot of writing about nothing. At least there are a few pictures here for you to enjoy.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Rob and I just got back from being out and about with a couple of people from the consulate. We went to the ceramics market. The only thing I bought this section edited out as my purchase is a gift for a family member who will be reading my blog. I think I will get something similar for me sometime before we move. I see it as subdued and classy looking. Some of the stuff there is just so bright and/or gaudy. Some of the things were just WAY too big. Some was beautiful, but I don't know what I would do with it. I worry about lead poisoning and don't want to get some of the things for actual food serving. Some is beautiful, but just not really my taste. I think I will end up getting a few things once I have more of a sense of price, availability, etc.

We went to Pizza Factory for lunch and I didn't think much of it until the people we were with were saying that they have some places in California and Idaho too. I thought it was like the Pizza Factory Mer worked at in CdA and even got a menu to send to her. Then I remembered (much later) that she worked at Pizza Shoppe. There is a Pizza Factory in Hayden, Idaho. Don't think I have been though. Pizza was good, reasonably priced, and definitely will be a place that gets repeat business from me. They will even deliver if you pay their cab fare. That ends up costing about what I would tip a delivery driver so definitely something to think about. My first Chinese lesson may have to center around ordering pizza to be delivered. :)

We bought a DVD player for just under $35. It seems to be fine. It might be multiregional. It plays US and Chinese region DVDs, is dual voltage, and does NTSC and PAL systems. The only drawback is that the manual is in Chinese. Took forever to figure out how to set some things up. Definitely going to have someone translate the buttons on the remote too. It seems to have way more than it needs and isn't very intuitive.

Rob got his first massage. $5 an hour AND she comes to your home. What could be easier than that? Unfortunately, she is moving to Shanghai or somewhere at the end of this month. A few of the Americans who live here have been using her for awhile and she is going to introduce us to a friend she has who also does massage.

That is pretty much it for our Saturday.