A day in the life…well weekend day anyway


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


About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

2 responses »

  1. Initially I was worried that you would no longer be able to watch TV. Then I remembered you can watch TV series on your computer. And THEN I remembered not everyone is obsessed with reality shows like me, so this is probably not a major concern of yours anyway. It was nice to read you got some DVD’s. Now you and Anders can have a movie night after a nice meal of yak.:)
    How you let Ben out of your sight once you get to your destination is beyond me. Why don’t you let Ben do the shopping – I already know the answer- you’re up for the challenge! Seriously, I sweat just reading your posts! Your “behind the scenes” purchasing reminded me of when I used to go to New York City to buy designer knock off purses. I can’t believe the places I went or the people I followed to save a buck!
    I’m not understanding why you aren’t eating meat. They don’t sell it or is it too expensive? OR are you are grossed out at purchasing a chicken,with all its body parts still intact, hanging by its head, minus most of the feathers? What kinds of meat does the average grocery store have?
    Since being “white” is a thing of beauty, is lounging by a pool a no-no? Do people have pools? I’m thinking no, not enough real estate. You called, what I assume is your apartment complex, the club house. Does that have a pool?
    Did your “stuff” arrive yet? If not, what furniture do you have?
    You should just walk around with your passport in a Vera Bradley lanyard, hanging from around your neck.

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