Living in China. November 24, 2012. Walk to Photographer.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22. Continued. When dawn broke it was very foggy. By noon the fog had cleared and it was sunny and pleasant. The air was as clear as I’ve seen it in weeks. The first picture is of the view from my window that I have pictured several times before. Note the mountains. I wore shorts again.

The small tangerines I like must be back in season. All of a sudden there are sidewalk vendors all over selling them, oranges, other fruit. I bought a large bag for about $1.50 USD, took them home and ruined my dinner eating them.
I grew a rather large bruise from my fall in Hong Kong. I fell on the outside of my shoulder, but the bruise is on the underside of my arm. I can’t explain it. This evening Sea rubbed Wood Lock, a camphor/menthol/turpentine balm, on it.
We didn’t do anything for Thanksgiving. Some of the bigger hotels and restaurants that cater to westerners have a dinner or a buffet, but I wasn’t in the mood. Thanksgiving is a family affair, otherwise it’s just eating turkey.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2102. Woke up at 03:30 again and couldn’t get back to sleep. Got up at 04:00. The weather seemed a bit cooler than yesterday. About 07:00 a strong storm rumbled in. Probably won’t go out today unless it clears up later. Took the same picture as yesterday. It is the second.

For some reason my Hotmail had changed to Microsoft Outlook this morning. I hope it won’t require a learning curve.

Went to bed about 08:30 last night, got up for a couple of hours at 13:00, then back to bed. Woke up at 05:30 this morning and made coffee. It’s cool again. I can’t see the weather yet. I think the paper said it would be cool for several days.

Accompanied Sea to the photographer this afternoon. She needed passpport size pictures of herself and her sponsor (me) for her visa application. We went to a place close to the old building. As soon as my picture was taken, I headed out to the park. She stayed and got the pics developed before returning home. Later I remembered I should have taken Sea to the old noodle place, which was less than a block away, to ask the new owners if it had relocated anywhere near.
The fourth picture is of a family feud we passed on our way to the photographer. A crowd had formed around a man and woman yelling at each other on the sidewalk. There was a cop standing by, but he didn’t interfere. We watched about 5 minutes, then went on our way.

We passed through what I call mahhjong alley. There are at least a donzen small mahjong parlors with 6-8 tables in each. When the shops get full tables are set up outside. The 5th picture is of one of the outdoor tables.

The sixth is a picture of an old man playing a homemade instrument. I dropped 1 Yuan into his cup and took is picture.The seventh is of the fruit Sea always keeps on the table.


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Living in China. November 22, 2012. Korean Restaurant

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20. Had a piece published in the Shenzhen Daily. They haven’t had an Opinion page in two weeks because so much space was used to cover the Communist Party Congress. It’s over now, so things are back to normal.

It’s been raining off and on all day. The weather is pleasantly cool. I broke out my long pants.

We went to a Korean restaurant last night for the first time. Korean food is my least favorite Asian cuisine, but it was OK. They brought us 6 small appetizers when we sat down. Sea has a kimchi noodle soup, Edison had a rice and squid dish served in a stone pot. I had a similar dish, but not squid. The dish was served with a fried egg on top. The waitress stirred the egg into the dish before serving it. I’m not sure what kind of meat, if any, I had. I also had a single eel sushi served in a seaweed cone. It was my favorite part of the meal. We shared a beer. The bill came to 141 Yuan, about $22. USD. All of the pics are of our dinner.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22. Woke up at 03:30, misread the clock  and got up thinking it was 04:30. I had started making coffee before I realized my error, so I stayed up. It’s now 04:15. I’ve been getting up earlier and earlier, but this is ridiculous. Edison goes to work about 08:00, and Sea sleeps til 09:00 or later. I enjoy a few hours of morning quiet to read, write, play chess, email, etc. but this is ridiculous. I’ll probably try to go back to bed for an hour or two before dawn.

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Living in China. November 19, 2012. Quiet

Living in China. November 19, 2012. Quiet.

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Living in China. November 19, 2012. Quiet

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11. It was very cool this morning. I might have to break out my long pants soon. I woke up at 04:30 and tried unsuccessfully to go back to sleep, but was unsuccessful, so I got up at 05:30 and banged out an 1100+ word piece, but didn’t send it to Shenzhen Daily. I’m going to see if I can find something else to do with my stuff.

Vivian and the baby came by at 09:00. She, Sea, and Eleven went out to a pharmacy to get something for the baby. I don’t know what or why. They were back in less than an hour.

Went out about 13:00. It was quite cool and windy. I guess a cool front was coming through. About 15:00 the sun came out. About 16:00 I headed home. Stopped at Vanguard for some hand lotion. My elbows have gotten a little chapped, probably from the change in weather combined with sitting at my desk reading, writing, and playing computer chess a few hours every day. Picked up some kiwis for Eleven, some oranges and a loaf of bread for Sea, and some bananas for myself. On my way home I bought a bag of hot chestnuts from a street vendor. I’m afraid to look up the calorie content of chestnuts. Since I like them, I’m sure they’re not good for you. I ruined my dinner eating then.

I have to go to Hong Kong tomorrow to get my visa stamped. Filled out my paperwork before going to bed.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Went to Hong Kong about 09:30. Sea accompanied me since she has her new passport that allows unlimited visits. We went shopping in a multi-story mall.  I wanted to find a pair of shoes that fit me. No luck. There was a temporary carpet laid down and I tripped and fell. Landed on my left shoulder. No damage except to my pride. It was the first time I’ve fallen since leaving the hospital.

On the way back we stopped at the Duty Free store and bought a bottle of wine to take to the party on December 8. I bought a box of 5 German cigars. They had some very strong warning labels attached. I took a picture of some of them.

Sea went out this morning to get some document approved in her quest for a visa. After an hour or so she returned, flustered.It seems something was wrong. She got on the phone then tried again. Whatever was wrong was fixed by an 800 yuan bribe. She got her red stamp.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15. Vivian had dinner with us. We opened a bottle of French Bordeaux I received for my birthday. Pretty good, but not as good as Aldi‘s.

Got together with friends for dinner at an outdoor barbecue place, There was a very loud Frenchman there. He was with two young Chinese girls and was very loud, very gregarious. I liked him immediately. One of his girls got my number. She said she wanted to interview me.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19. It’s been very quiet. Vivian and Sea went shopping and got back about 19:00. They bought me a pair of warm house slippers for winter. I’ll post a few pics above.

The first is of a clam dish I had one afternoon. It cost a little more than $4. USD.
The second is an outside view of the Futain checkpoint to Hong Kong.The third is of the creek that runs by my building.The fourth is of a box of cookies Sea bought. They’re very light, like filo dough on the top and bottom with a sweetish layer in the center. A box of 12 cost under $2. USD.The fifth is of the construction next door. The thing in the top left is what they  are pounding down. Noisy.


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Living in China. November 10, 2012. Election Loss

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2012. Had dinner with Robert last night. We went to the same outdoor Muslim place we went before. We had a lot of grilled lamb and various veggies. One thing we got was a plate of chilled lightly cooked green beans that were in a light vinegar dressing with sesame seeds. It was very refreshing. I put a few on my plate to cleanse my palate after the mutton.

I am following the election on my computer. Right now Romney is ahead but less than half the states have closed voting. I hope to know the final results when I return from my afternoon walk. I have a bad feeling it won’t be Gary Johnson. So far he has 0.3% of the vote.

By the time I showered, etc. I knew Obama had won. While I was out on my daily walk I got 4 text messages taunting me about the win.

There are reports of more things being blocked from the internet. Supposedly because of the party congress starting in Beijing.

Vivian, Edison, Eleven, Sea and I ate a big dinner Sea made for us. The kids would much rather eat at home than go out. Like most everyone, they think their mother is the best cook in the world. I like to go out,  just to get out for a while.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8. The pounding started about 08:00 this morning. When I look at the construction site I can’t see what they are trying to break up.

When I went out this afternoon there were several cement trucks around the building. Hopefully they are ready to start pouring the foundation and the pounding will stop.

The muse was with me this morning and I pounded out an 850 word piece that I sent to Shenzhen Daily. They have at least eight of my pieces they haven’t published. I suspect most won’t be. A few nights ago I saw Keven, my editor. He’s been working as copy editor for The Nanfang. He said I should try there. Unfortunately they are a recent start up and don’t paying anything. But even worse, they don’t publish author’s names. Forget them.
When I was browsing the news this morning I came across a story that said celery was so hard to digest that your body burned more calories than it takes in when eating it. There’s a cafe close to the park that sells a dish of sauteed celery that isn’t bad, so I stopped in after my walk and ordered it. The first picture above is of the calorie fighting celery.

Warm and sunny today. The pounding at the next door construction site began at 08:00. Vivian and the baby came over for the day about 09:30. They stayed through dinner.

Got an invite to a friend’s birthday party on December 8. Vivian, as usual, asked if she could tag along, as she always does, but the invite said NO EXTRAS in capital letters, so I told her no. I asked my friend if I could bring her. He’s out of the country, so I hven’t heard back yet.
When I went on my afternoon walk I got a little sweaty for the first time in several days. I stopped by the same cafe as yesterday to have the celery dish again, but ended up having a plate of noodles for under $3.00 USD. That’s pic number two two. I only ate about a third of the noodles.
While on my walk I found another cafe with a giant clay jar out front. The jars are used to cook lotus root soup. It was too hot to have soup today, but I’ll remember it for the next time it’s cool. Picture three and four.

When I returned I turned on the a/c for the first time in a few weeks. It’s supposed to cool off again tonight.
A few nights ago when we went out for dinner we passed the restaurant in picture five. There were 12-15 people waiting for tables outside. This is unusual behavior for Chinese. They don’t like to wait in lines, and there are several restaurants and cafes in the area that weren’t full. So I assume the food must be very good. I told Sea we’d go there the next time we went out. Picture five is the front of the restaurant.
Picture six is of the little cafe where we went that night. Very inexpensive and very good.

Picture seven is of a random street scene.

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I Hate Chopsticks

I Hate Chopsticks.

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Living in China. November 6, 2012. Flute and Fruit

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4. Another bright and comfortably cool day. Vivian and Eleven spent the day with us again. They came by about 09:30. Edison slept all morning. At 12:30 when I went out he was still in bed.

Took a long walk this afternoon. For some reason I was feeling unusually energetic. Sea’s sister gave me two small jars of tea when we were in Urumqi. It is made from a small red dried flower. It’s supposed to be god for “fat in the blood,” whatever that means. It tastes pretty good so I’ve been mixing it with a few leaves of green tea for my morning drink. I had four giant cups this morning. I wonder if it’s given me a little more energy.

Anyway, while I was walking I spied a China Daily newspaper at a news kiosk. It’s in English. I’ve read it before at the Futian Library branch, but never seen it for sale. I bought a copy then I walked back to the newsstand where I usually buy my papers and showed it to the woman. I asked her if she could get it. I told her I’d buy a copy every day if she could get it. She said yes, but I’m really not sure if she understood what I was asking. Will find out tomorrow.During my walk I heard a flute playing. It was the guy who plays in front of his restaurant. I hadn’t seen him for more than a year, and of course he remembered me. I sat down and enjoyed his music and a beer. The first two pictures are of him. He’s very good.

Vivian, Eleven, Sea and I went out for dinner at a small cafe close to the house. Vivian had a set meal. Sea had a would of rice and green onion porridge plus some sort of very large dumpling made of rice with mushrooms and spinach inside. I had chicken soup that was very good except the chicken was full of bones. It was very inexpensive.

Sunny and comfortable weather again today. There are at least 4, maybe 6 “American Idol” type shows on Chinese TV. They run at night and are repeated in the morning at about 09:00. Sea is hooked on them and watches every day. On the days when the construction next door is loud, she turns up the sound so it’s louder than the outside noise. I can’t even put my ear buds in and hear anything. Fortunately the shows just last an hour. Then the TV goes off.

The woman at my news kiosk had the China Daily, so I bought all three papers and headed to the park. On my way home I bought a bag of hot chestnuts. I ate more than half of them before dinner. Sea had eaten a box of chicken feet, so neither of us was hungry for dinner. We walked to a little cafe and where Sea got a bowl of rice porridge, I got a bowl of chicken and mushroom soup, and we got something to take home to Edison.

The Shenzhen Daily made a deposit into Sea’s account for some of my writing. It wasn’t a large amount and Sea asked if she could give it to Eleven for her birthday. I said fine, but suggested should should buy something frivolous for herself instead. We kind of left it at that. When I returned home she was literally dancing on air like a kid at Christmas. She had bought a heavy vest and a short coat for 705. Yuan. They had been marked 1998. RMB and were on sale. Then Sea talked them down even  farther to 705. RMB. She was much more excited about the discount than with the actual clothes.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6. Another bright and pleasant day. Got up at 06:15 and wrote a 1000+ word piece and sent it into Shenzhen Daily before 11:00. A few weeks ago Vivian gave me some tea that has flowers, fungus, seeds, and god knows what else in it. I threw in a few green tea leaves and have had 3 giant cups this morning.

Today all Google services have been blocked. I assume it has something to do with the party congress meeting in Beijing. I have as VPN, so I still have access to everything, as do most people.

We’re going to dinner with Robert tonight. We’re going to the same place as we did a few days ago. It’s an outdoor Muslim place with grilled mutton.
Sea always keeps a lot of fruit around. The third is what she keeps out on the table. There are apple, kiwis, and pears in the fridge. The fourth picture is of what the large yellow fruit looks like when opened. It’s sort of like a grapefruit.
The fifth picture is of as giant jar of some sort of alcoholic beverage Sea has. I don’t know where she got it, but I’m sure someone gave it to her. She’s had it for a couple of years. She says it’s for the winter. Last night we tasted it. It was horrible. It will have to be a very cold winter before I’d drink it.

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Living in China. November 3, 2012. Another Party.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30. Night. Went to dinner with Sea’s ex-boss who is in town for a few days. She’s kind of cute, and Sea says she’s quite rich. She owns two apartments in Beijing and three in Shenzhen. I didn’t get her picture.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31. Another bad air day in the morning, but it cleared and the sun came out about 11:00. It was very cool when I went out.

I forgot if I mentioned this in my last email, but my interview  with the Shenzhen Daily reporter was not for a profile of me. It was about foreigners living in Shenzhen. There were about 10 people interviewed. It was mentioned in only two sentences in the piece.

I also forgot to mention that I was mentioned in an online publication called The Nanfang a few weeks ago. It was about political opinions of the coming election. I got a long paragraph in that one.

I try to eat a banana every morning and I was out, so I stopped by Vanguard on my home to buy a few. I had read in the paper that persimmons are very cheap now, so I bought four. I also bought some oranges. There was a crowd around the egg display, so I assumed the eggs were well priced. I bought ten. I also bought a dozen cookies. By the time I got home one of the eggs was broken and one of the persimmons was crushed. Sea used the broken egg to make egg drop soup for dinner.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Very nice weather today, sunny and comfortably cool. Got invited to a dinner party at a fish restaurant tomorrow night. Sea invited her ex-boss to accompany us.

The construction going on next door includes two large cranes that do nothing but hammer away whatever was once built on the site. Sometimes it is very loud. The construction noise is very little, but the hammering began about 09:00 this morning and is still going on. I hope whatever they are demolishing is destroyed soon. It looks like they are going to build two basement floors, probably for parking like in my building. Once the basement is complete the hammering will stop.

Last night Sea showed me the household expenses for October. Being an ex-accountant she is very meticulous in her bookkeeping. If she goes to the market she will write she spent W Yuan on a bottle of lotion, X Yuan on meat, Y Yuan on vegetables, and Z Yuan on fruit. The total for the month came to $1558.60 USD. I paid a little under $1000. She and Edison paid the rest. That’s a lot more than when we lived in the other place, but the new place is worth the money.

Got 2000 Yuan out of the bank for November’s rent. Checked my balance when I got home. I made 3 – 2000 Yuan withdrawals this month. The first cost $316.00, the second $319.00. The one today cost $321.00. The value of the dollar is dropping like a rock.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2. Another nice day, weather-wise. The paper said it’s supposed to reach 25 today. It’s sunny.  Went for my walk and returned early to try to take a nap before dinner, but couldn’t get to sleep.
Went to dinner with Sea and Vivian. Sea’s ex-boss was supposed to come, but for some reason she didn’t show up.
The first picture is of Vanguard where I sometimes shop. It’s like a small Walmart and sells most everything. The second is of a little cafe where I like to eat. Very good food. Very inexpensive. The third and fourth are random pics to the new neighborhood. The fifth is of the fish tanks in front of the restaurant. The rest are from last night’s dinner party.

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Adonis Rising

Adonis Rising.

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Living in China. October 31, 2012. Walking Around.

Living in China. October 31, 2012. Walking Around..

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