Sunday, September 7, 2014
It's 86 degrees today, at 9am on Mid-Autumn Festival Monday. I'm not teaching today, but downtown is busy and the banks appear to be open, so I will do some more foreign exchange if I can find a Bank of China.
I am very uncomfortable going out of my apartment each day, as I'm just not accustomed to people staring at me or chattering at me in rapid fire Chinese. My all purpose phrase is "wo shi Yingwen laoshi", which roughly means "I'm an English teacher." Unfortunately saying this to an older guy in the Botanical Gardens kitty corner from my apartment (a place I plan to frequent, as there are fewer people to stare at me), backfired yesterday. This persistent clown insisted I give him my Chinese cell phone number, then demanded that I accompany him out of the park (what on earth for?) then, giggling like a halfwit, he grabbed my hand, tight, which isn't what I'd read the Chinese do, and trotted down the path, I suspect showing off his new English friend like a new pet. When he started to kiss my hand, I stopped in my tracks, told him: "I don't know what the F you're playing at, Bub, but I'm outta here." Then I walked away from
Mr Crackpot, and bought myself a canteloupe from a nice woman with a truck parked outside the gate. I also checked that this idiot wasn't going to try to stalk me. If I start getting strange phone calls and heavy breathing my phone, I have this person's number and will ask one of the female teachers at school to report him to the police. I'm really not sure what was going on. I'm willing to write it off as some lonely retired guy (he told me he was a teacher, hmm not sure that's true) biting off more than he could chew by trying to communicate with the foreign woman.
I also bought some raw sugar, 2 forks and a "sunning rack". You clip your laundry to the clothes pins and then hang the contraption from a hook that hangs from a rail inside your window cage. I guess if anything falls off, you go downstairs to retrieve it. Good thing I'm only on the 2nd floor.
It cost me a total of 3 yuan for a round trip on the No. 6 bus. It should be 4, but on the outbound I watched other passengers put coins in the exact change box, and I'm sure they only put in 1 coin. I guess the driver didn't care.
As I had to take my tray of 21 eggs back to the apartment, I cut my downtown visit short. I guess it's BYO egg carrier around here, so a miracle I got them all back, unbroken.
I think I'll go back downtown later today and check out a big street market I saw in the side streets near the hotel I stayed in for my first 2 nights in Tongling. I'm guessing that's where I'll find vegetables and fresh meat.
Various bbq duck street hawkers ply my apartment block, but I'm not sure I can trust the cleanliness of hot duck being hauled around on the back of a tricycle in near 90 degree heat. Once I figure out how to ask the guy when he cooked it, and how much per slice or per gram or whatever measure they use here, I will try it. Survival Mandarin 101, and not in my phrase book.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I'm not sure why we are being treated to fireworks today. There is a national holiday tomorrow (mid Autumn Festival) where people give moon cakes as gifts. However, all week I've been hearing explosions at random times of the day or night. I don't think this morning's show is related to any festival. Perhaps someone needs to drive out a few personal demons or mark some event known only to him or her. It's quite amazing. No one is else is paying one bit of notice. No lights are coming on, nor are there any angry shouts from the apartments all around here.
It's all apparently totally normal.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Monday, September 1, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014
I amused myself on the 11 hour flight yesterday by watching the multilingual inflight movies. I watched nearly all of La Grand Boucle, a French slapstick comedy about a bike store clerk who accidentally rides the Tour de France route and becomes a folk hero. I had to watch in French with Mandarin subtitles, as no English version. Just over 1 year ago I was looking at the Annecy TDF stage setup, with all the inflatable starting ramps, barricades to prevent the crowds colliding with the peleton,and exquisite alpine scenery all around. What a difference a year makes.
9 floors below, in the wide street between buildings, I can just make out a guy on a bike with a big cargo rack on the back, going about his business on a weekday morning.
I'm sort of curious to learn about the state of China's bike culture these days.