Tuesday, September 01, 2009

China Girl (Part 2)

I am pretty much back to normal today and will actually get dressed and join the human race.

The red text is what I am adding as I add pictures. The black text is what I typed in China. This is a bit time consuming, so bear with me.

Next morning, we met up across the street from my lodgings at, yep, Starbucks.It looks like any Starbucks in the States, both inside and out.
The only difference is that crazy chinese lettering that they insist on putting on everything. Another big difference is that they are staffed with the very nicest of employees. The very first day I was there, they accidently gave my grande skim latte to another Tom (an Aussie of all things!!) and when the apparent mixup was ironed out, they actually wrote my name down on THE PICTURE THEY TOOK OF ME right next to my coffee choice. Each time (every morning) I went into Starbucks they said, Hi Tommy and Bye Tommy. The very last day (which I didn't have the heart to tell them I was leaving) I didn't have enough money with me and they actually said, 'Oh, that's okay; bring it tomorrow.' Can you imagine anyone in the states even acknowledging that they recognized you, let alone give you credit?

After some caffeine we headed to Pearl City, home of the knock offs. It was pretty interesting. I have never been at a place like that before. No photos allowed and my guess is that it is because the knock offs are mostly real and therefore probably illegal. The money here is RMB’s and they only take their own money, whereas lots of places I have traveled overseas would rather have US dollars. The exchange rate is about 7 RMB for one US dollar. We all have cheat sheets to help with the conversion. Need something Tod, Chloe, Louis, Gucci, Prada, D&G? Hundreds of stalls hawking everything imaginable. So far, I haven’t made the leap into a purchase but it’s early in the trip. I like to see a bit before I plunge in.

Next up? We had a coke while waiting for our driver at a manicure/pedicure joint. They like to combine the most unlikely things here. It was just an escape from the heat and humidity. You have to stay hydrated here and you do not drink the tap water. Even the locals don’t do the water. I wish I had known that when I used the water to make coffee in the room. Well, so far, I am okay. Ha ha.

We went back to Susie’s house to wait for Reese, her three year old to get back from pre school.

I will tell you a bit about that. The two kids go on a 45 minute bus ride each morning to go to pre school. They just started four days ago and still are having a bit of a scene when it is time to board the bus at 7:15 am. They seem okay when they return home tho’. They are learning words and phrases and to count, in Chinese, but basically being an international school, it is predominately an English school. Reese only goes for the morning and is back home by 11:45. Shane, the four year old, goes all day. They have i.e’s on the bus to take care of the kids.That is not how you spell the actual word but it sounds like – eye and then the letter E to me and it means Aunt.

Here is a picture of Reese being handed to her mom from the bus.
And here's the cute little bus. Not bad service, eh?
We went to an open house at the school and so I am going to insert some of the photos I took when we were there. Here are the school buildings. Very handsome campus, and state of the art.
Here are Susie and Joe and Shane and the sleeping Reese. She is quite the sleeper and can pretty much fall asleep talking.
After a little nap, the kids are having some lunch and watching the entertainment.
This is a view from inside the school (we gave ourselves a tour) of the playground. You can't see from here but there was a band and a bunch of those jumpy air filled thingys that kids like to play in.
And it's no picnic without some cotton candy, now is it. Jayne pointed out that at this particular open house they served beer and wine and you would never see that in the states.

Most foreign families have an i.e. to work in the home each day. If you had to put it in other words I guess it’s a nanny/house keeper. Susie shares with another family and so she has her every afternoon during the week. Xia (pronounced Shee – a) is her name and she is a doll.
She wants everyone to talk in English to her so that she can learn the language better. She uses a electric scooter to get to and from work and she lives in a small village 45 minutes away.

We spent a good portion of the afternoon having lunch at a French Bistro and then hitting Carrefour, a mega store that has just about everything you can imagine.

I believe it is French based. The grocery section is amazing.
Do you think maybe they are overkill on the red and yellow sale banners?
This is the back to school section. It makes me a little nauseous to look down this aisle.
Do you notice how many yellow shirts are down this aisle? You can't even see them all but there were a good 10 and these are the store employees. There is about one employee for every customer.
This is white watermelon. This next thing is a fruit but for the life of me I can't remember the name.

Anybody know? This next fruit is dragon fruit and I was the only one that really liked it. It looks and tastes like white watermelon

but it is speckled with little black seeds. The taste isn't very sweet and I think that's why it isn't popular with us but I liked it because it was wet and refreshing.
This is a massive crab wrapped in some sort of seaweed stuff; It's gotta be about six inches across.
Yeah, right in the regular grocery department, you can find turtles. It was a little shocking to see.
These are all different kinds of clams. They have a lot more choices that we do here in the states.This is just one example of dried fish. They hang from the ceiling in their own section of the fish department. This one is a good 12" wide and 24" long.
These are also dried fish and fish parts. Nothing looked familiar to me.
Can you tell what this is? It is a whole chicken (and I mean whole). They sell every part; even the head. I have lots more pics of food at the other kinds of markets we went to. This next picture is a whole aisle of just
milk; not refrigerated at all. Susie hasn't tried it yet. There is just something about milk that isn't cold.

Here's a picture of the three generations of blond women in China. Grandma Mimi (Jayne), her daughter Susie, and Granddaughter Reese. Are they not cute, or what?

The night found us out with a bunch of young women that live in the same ‘compound’ as Susie. They have a weekly get together where whoever can go out is welcome. We met up at a tapas restaurant. The food and wine was great and we got to meet lots of Susie’s friends. There were Dutch, Israeli, German, Finnish, Norwegian, Aussie and other nationalities in the group.
It was great fun.


dee said...

the spiky fruit is durian-very stinky when open
the pink fruit is dragonfruit-pretty good stuff and supposed to be good for you. I've only had it dried.
Durian tastes like a weird custardy stuff. The stench is famous. People that love it seem not to care.
This is such fun...more please

Cosmos said...

Yup, that spikey fruit is a durian. When I tried it there wasn't much of a smell, I was actually a little disappointed.