Thursday Adventures

February 11th, 2010 by tungsai

We got up and tried on a traditional hat.

Mommy and Daddy hopped on the bus with Bao Qi to go to the bookstore across town. We saw a girl sporting the latest fashion: Glasses *without* lenses. Next: Coats that don’t keep you warm, watches that don’t have a face, and Beer that doesn’t get you drunk. Oh, wait…. they already have that.

At the book store, mommy put her bag into a locker outside the store. This is pretty usual for “fancy” stores. This one dispensed a bar code receipt, and you showed your receipt to the scanner to re-open the locker.

Upon returning from the book store, the bus was extremely crowded. People were jamming into the exit-back door, and still jamming in more. The bus driver kept getting up to yell at people to move back. We were already in the back, as far back as we could possibly go. A certain Weird Al Yankovic song comes to mind….

That didn’t stop somebody from being all tuckered out:

On the way back home from the bus stop, we discovered a Popcorn vendor! This stuff was expensive: $0.80 for the whole bag!

MMmmmmmmm…. Chocolate!

In conclusion… the iphone served well as a point-and-shoot for the day. I think I’ll start carrying it around some more.

Day 3. Sightseeing, Bus-Riding, and Computer Diagnostics

February 3rd, 2010 by tungsai

I woke up this morning around 7 or 8. Mia woke me up. Hongmei was already up, washing clothes old-fashioned style, with a washboard and a tub of water. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of that. We had breakfast, and I made a video. I still haven’t gotten the videos to work uploading to the blog. So, after eating breakfast, we had a web conference with Grandma & Grandpa, which worked flawlessly for the second time. Amazing!

While making the video, I also happened to notice a toilet set that I could unfold and use on the squat-style toilet in the water closet. Wow, was I pleased to notice that. For some reason my complaints about having to squat all the time was falling upon deaf ears. Perhaps there’s some sort of language barrier problem? 😀

Yes, Hongmei does provide translation services, but her attention is often elsewhere, talking to her family members about who knows what. (Certainly not me, although I do pick up keywords and usually it’s obvious if they’re discussing something nearby). This trip, I also have Mia to keep me company, if her attention is not getting taken away too! So, anyway, back to breakfast.

I was also pleasantly surprised that a coffee maker was found! We installed it post-haste and I enjoyed my first cup of coffee since arriving. Too bad I still haven’t had a shower! It takes time to adjust to the time change. Lots of fatigue, dietary adjustment, psychological adjustment… just dealing with all that took much attention and energy, I don’t have time for such luxuries until I get my body and mind adjusted.

After the web conference with Grandma & grandpa, we got all bundled up, packed up the diaper bag and the camera, a few snacks and water, and of course my $100 Ultraviolet Water Purifier (TM), and headed out to our first real day of “doing stuff”.

We put Mia in the stroller and rolled across the avenue, caught a bus over to the “Yang Liu Qing” Tourist district. The bus was very bouncy, and it was a manual shift vehicle (All busses are manual here). The driver drove in a very Speed-Up/Slam-on-the-brakes style, and, well, poor little Mia had enough of that jostling: Her breakfast ended up on her scarf… and mommy’s gloves. 🙁 Fortunately, it wasn’t exceedingly long and we arrived there shortly.

There are many hotels there with the traditional Chinese-style roofs and outside arcitecture. Upon reaching the area, we walked a few more blocks and went to our destination: The “Shi Jia Da Yuan” Mansion, built by a Senator in Tianjin in the 1900’s. Actually, I would call it more of a “Compound” than a “Mansion”. It had several buildings, about 20, all surrounded by a wall, complete with multiple Wife quarters, the Accounting Department, a garden, guest rooms, a wedding room, and a auditorium. I tried my best to take advantage of our somewhat dated “Prosumer” camera, propping it up for some longer-exposure shots.

Well, I started to get hungry, and so did Mia, so we headed off to … KFC! Yaay, Meat! American (sort of) Food! It was pretty crowded, and of course we were stared at quite a bit. That’s normal: I get stared at everywhere I go. Not everybody stares; but everywhere has at least one person who double-takes, or blatantly stares, or whatever. Sometimes it’s not creepy; sometimes it’s friendly. Well, toward Mia; not usually toward me. they just stare at me. Hongmei says, “Just pretend like you’re a celebrity!” Well, being a celebrity isn’t really my idea of a good time; people bugging you in public all the time. I don’t know who, if anybody, would really appreciate that sort of attention. Maybe those who seek fame… ah, forget it.

Click Here for Photo Album of Day 3!

Now, Mia has woken up from her nap and is quite cranky. Time to see if I can actually get a good blog entry published.

Now Playing: Gord’s Gold… Ribbon of Darkness.