It was Sunday when I started this post but decided to post the yak one instead. I was watching the full moon rise over the TV tower. It’s spectacular any time but at night it is an ever-changing rainbow of colors and part of our nightly light show.
The day started with a 10- minute walk to one of the many Starbucks in GZ. It’s located in the GZ concert hall. Not a bad place to start the day. We walked through one of the 3 amazing parks on the island to get to it when we saw a man channelling the power of the pig. There was a huge pink statue of a pig and a man who was standing stock-still in front of it with his eyes closed (“the worst part is when they close their eyes”- what movie is that from?). I can only guess that he was born under the sign of the pig and was paying homage to his zodiac sign.
We noticed a prominent show of policemen and thought that perhaps there was a race of some kind on the island. We discovered later, through Ben of course, that the President of China spent the night on our little bubble of an island at the #1 guest house in GZ. If Er Sha Island is good enough for the Chinese President by darn it’s good enough for us.
We had Ben pick us up at 1. We needed to go to 2 banks, a sporting goods store, and the electronics market. We trusted Ben to plan the route accordingly. We’re like putty in his hands. He could take us to the China Sea, dump us in, and we’d be smiling the whole way. The banks were easy, just ATMs and with a little direction from a nice security guard we were able to deposit our yuan. Yep, the bank is open on Sunday. Then we were off to the southern part of GZ to a Dick’s-like store for ping-pong equipment. There is a table at the club house but my semi-professional ping-pong playing husband needed semi-professional ping-pong playing equipment. The ride in the car was great because we neither had to drive nor had we been in this area before so we were able to sightsee. Ben dropped us off at what looked like a mall but it was just another one of the thousands of markets in GZ only this one was a swanky new mall. It specialized in bathroom fittings but for some reason the Decathlon was in there as well. So as we were looking around we ran into Ben. He had never been in as it is a very new store and mall and wanted to check it out. We found the ping-pong equipment and he helped us make our choice.
It was then off to the electronics market. I had no preconceived notion of what the “markets” here looked like but I still wasn’t prepared for it. In the case of the electronic market it was about 2 city blocks of multi-story buildings with stall after stall selling electronic equipment. We were looking for phone cases and were spoiled for choice. It can actually be overwhelming. The fact that I walked out with 4, yes American consumerism at its best, is a wonder. I paid about $10 per and got a special deal because I am so beautiful (translation -“white”). Bargaining is so much fun. We also found the DVD stalls and were amazed. We bought 4 seasons of the Tudors and 3 movies for $16! The main floor stall had a limited selection so we were led to the alley where there were “many, many, many” DVDs. She taught us the Mandarin word for many but I can’t for the life of me remember it. I wasn’t nervous but Anders was concerned that Kiersten would have to get the copy of our will out. It was a back room, as they all are for the good stuff, and amongst the sinks and garbage bins. They have a thing for little kid seating here. We sat on chairs that were meant for nursery school students and the saleswoman wanted to make sure that we were as comfortable as possible. Really? It’s funny, part of the experience, and one just has to laugh. I know we’ll be able to find a better supplier but it was fun to get out on our own and discover some things that are unique to China.
After a few hours I was tired and had a headache. It is sensory overload: the noise of cars, people yelling hello and trying to entice you into their booth because they all want the Westerner’s business because they charge us more, smells, neon lights, people pushing and shoving, and the heat! It’s fun, it really is but only in small doses.
So back home we came but along the way Ben showed us where the President stayed. If we had just gone a bit further on our Starbucks run this morning we may have run into President Jintao. Ben didn’t know the word for President so he used the analogy of Obama coming here. It’s interesting to see how resourceful you can be when you don’t know the right word. We understood exactly what he was trying to tell us.
We came home, changed out of our perpetually damp clothes into clothes made for ping-pong playing. We only spent 1/2 hour playing because there were some Chinese kids waiting to play. Anders and I had a lot of fun but I bet they were having a field day watching us.
After that we went to the convenience store for a bottle of wine only for my dinner recipe. We walked out with: Bottle of wine, bottle of Pepsi (for Anders not me), tabasco sauce, Nature Valley PB granola bars, chocolate Twizzlers, and Snyder’s pretzel bits. The last 2 items were for sentimental reasons only: Pennsylvania rocks! I told the clerk that we had only come in for the wine to which she replied that she was happy. I just bet!
I cooked a very nice pasta dish for dinner in my smallish kitchen. I have to say that our meat intake has plummeted and that’s OK. I certainly don’t mind and when I asked Anders if he did he said no. It certainly is healthier. I have managed to lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks without trying and Anders has lot 11 pounds in the month that he’s been here. We knew coming into this that we’d lose weight which is why I was pigging out on Graeter’s ice cream and hamburgers before I left.
After that it was just a matter of sitting and admiring the view. I guarantee that when we leave here I will miss the view. I will NEVER get tired of it. We are definitely spoiled but oh do we appreciate every second of it.
4PM – 97 degrees