News from Changzhi

Yesterday I walked downtown which was the first time since arriving here a month ago. In the past I always walked but having Xueer here with a car has made life easier. The city of Changzhi is much cleaner than Jincheng with garbage cans on every block so there wasn’t any trash anywhere which was really nice. The people here also follow the traffic lights so you are not taking your life in your hands every time you cross the street, and the sidewalks are all even so much easier to walk and not trip every second step. It was a nice 30 minute walk to the center of town so on the way home I decided to go into a store to look for a pair of shoes to wear to a wedding we are attending today.  Most of their shoes go by European sizes so I know I wear a 39 which I wrote on a paper (I can say it in Chinese but just wanted to be safe) and after hearing “mayo” (means no don’t have) a few times I figured I would leave.  Then I spotted a cute pair of of shiny white ones with a bow for $12.00 which they had in my size. Actually I don’t know what scale they use as they were size 250.  It felt a little small for my normal shoe but I’m not going to be running any marathons in them as that is the biggest size they had so I bought them. So now for the wedding I will wear the dress that I bought with Xueer a few weeks ago and my new shoes.  It will be interesting to attend my first wedding in China. Sounds like they have the ceremony before hand at one of their homes so we will be attending the reception at a hotel.

This past week they had a work dinner for the couple at a local hotel so Mark and I went. Grant is an interpreter at the mine and his wife Catherine speaks English quite well so it was nice to visit with them. In China toasting is a huge custom so they had to walk around and toast everyone there (about 20 people) and then many more toasts at the table. Catherine is toasting with coke and Grant with( bijiu  “byjoe” )a very very strong horrible tasting liquor. Notice how small the glass is. This is what Mark has to toast with at all of his official meetings. Will be sure to take lots of pictures.

Catherine and Grant

Catherine and Grant toasting

Last Saturday we went to a local florist to set up a delivery schedule for flowers to be sent to apartment every two weeks. She said she would send the flowers in a few hours so we came home and just waited to see what would come as I wanted a few small bouquets. So look what came.

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Needless to say I was quite shocked as I certainly wasn’t expecting anything that big. She said thru Xueer she made it big as a thank you for continued business. So we will see what comes in a couple weeks.  The flowers keep me busy keeping them all trimmed and just makes me happy every day when I wake up. That arrangement was about $8.00.

Video of rickshaw ride and fish for dinner

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I just love listening to all of us laugh. When we first start laughing it is because the rain really starts to come down.  Listen for the horn to honk than I flip to the back to see the bus right behind us. A similar rickshaw is right in front of us.

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Maybe we will have this for dinner sometime.

Ooopps final pictures from Hong Kong

Last night I was organizing all my pictures and realized I did not send the pictures from our ride on the sampan. It was on the other side of the island and the city is called Aberdeen. A small town with a shopping area filled with lots of foreigners as people vacation there to be close to the water and do some souvenir shopping. The Hong Kong 083boat  ride lasted about 30 minutes as we circled the big floating restaurant “Jumbo” which our tour guide said wasn’t very good.

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We learned that people live on these boats full time (a real houseboat) and every morning they go out fishing. There must have been a hundred boats all parked very close so it would be interesting to see them all leave in the morning.

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As we weaved around all the boats you could see people napping or doing laundry and just hanging all the clothes everywhere. Cute to see the dogs sitting on the front of this boat.

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This is what our boat looked like that we were riding around in.

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As you can see it was a sunny day. The driver stopped and parked a bench in front of the sampan to get a picture of the two of us. For a small tip.

Joan and Mark at Jumbo

Vegetable shopping in Changzhi

Last Sunday for our dinner party we needed to pick up some fresh vegetables and Xueer said she knew of the perfect outdoor market so we took a walk to find it. The first place we stopped just had fruit and lots of watermelons and I mean lots. And there are many markets like this in town.Changzhi 001

Changzhi 002We purchased some delicious plums and cherries. So we continued our walk to find some vegetables. It was lunch time so lots of the booths were closed for their nap time but we were lucky to find one open.

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The gentleman just smiled when Xueer asked if I could take a picture.

The vegetables were so fresh and so cheap. We bought 3 heads of lettuce, carrots, green beans, garlic and tomatoes for $2.00 US.  So many people here do not have a refrigerator so everyone shops daily for their meals. That is why Xueer and I go shopping every day (although we do have a fridge). Just what you do in rural China.

This is something you would definatley not see in Utah.

Last pictures from Hong Kong

On one of our days of touring we took a ride on the subway which was very well air conditioned. The stop before we got off was Hong Kong Disneyland and since we were above ground I thought we would catch a glimpse of the park as we went by. No luck as it was behind a hill so not much advertising, and I  heard it was small. At the park we took a cable car (paid extra to go in one with a glass floor so we could see everything. It was great.Hong Kong 060

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You can see the airport to the left. It is relatively new but took 10 years to build as they literally made the island that it is situated on.

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After you get off the cable car you can hike up to the Buddha which sits on a hill. You can see the dark clouds and this was our last stop for the day so we just enjoyed the view from the bottom.

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I bet you can tell that the legs do not belong to Mark and I. We came down with a couple from Mainland China.

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First dinner party

Last night we had our first dinner party at our apartment which turned out to be a fun evening for all of us. We invited Simon and his fiance, Joe who works with Mark and Xueer. I must say it was fun to do some cooking with Mark and make do with the few  utensils we had. Simon had mashed potatoes at Brad’s wedding and really liked them so we bought some potatoes, but did not have a potato masher so we really cooked them and then Mark just used a fork. The Chinese really don’t eat many potatoes.  The beef here is really tough so even after cooking it all afternoon it was still tough but tasted okay. Cooked some green beans and mushrooms and made a salad. As Mark said “a traditional Sunday dinner”. It was enjoyed by all.  I even made some dessert of peanut butter cookies and brownies from a mix. Getting good at guessing with out any measuring utensils. Making a list of things I need to bring back with me.

A few more pictures from Hong Kong. One day we took a ferry boat across the bay to look around. It was a short 10 minute ride.Hong Kong 041

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The Peninsula Hotel is the popular hotel to stay at. I guess that is where James Bond would stay in the movies. I am standing in front of a green Rolls Royce that they use at this hotel.

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This street is called the golden mile for its shopping. Many people come here to get a suit made. Mark checked into it and for less than $300.00 he could get a nice suit. Maybe next time.

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Pictures of Hong Kong streets

We really enjoyed walking down the streets as they were really clean with nice even sidewalks. Most buildings have just a huge sliding glass door which they keep all the way open so as you walk by the stores you can feel the cool air exiting the building which is refreshing on a hot day. You can see the British influence from the double decker buses and the fact that they drive  on the other side of the street. The cabs reminded me of the one I rode in in Japan which makes sense as they are Toyotas  made in Japan.Hong Kong 006

You can easily find a KFC anywhere in Asia.

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Our hotel

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In front of hotel looking towards the water

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Pictures from Hong Kong

Happy July 24th to all of my dear friends and family in Utah. Hope you all get to see some wonderful fireworks.

Last night we flew back to Changzhi (sat on the plane for 3 hours before taking off because of the rain) so it was nice to unpack. Enjoyed putting out all my new mats and blankets from IKEA. Finally able to download Mark’s pictures from Hong Kong so I will adding a few each day.

I was surprised to hear that Hong Kong is made up of 216 islands of which some are so small they are not named. The first morning we walked thru Hong Kong Park.

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If you look closely you will see the women in the water wearing a hat that was similar to an umbrella. They had rubber pants on.

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We took a cable car up to the top of the mountain which was called The Peaks Park.

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This view is looking down on  our hotel. (Hong Kong)

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This view was looking on  the other side of the island.

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We enjoyed the cable car ride.

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Looking down on Hong Kong. The next day we took a ferry ride across to the other island.

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Back to Beijing

The rain has come to Beijing and it us unbelievable how dark it gets and the streets just flood with water. Last night we were ready to go to IKEA to do some shopping (for the apartment) and the rain started which makes it very very difficult to get a taxi as everyone is getting a taxi. Our hotel is on a back street which makes it even harder. After waiting for 20 minutes the rain let up so we walked out to the main street but still no luck so we made lemonade out of our lemons and decided to take the subway and just go out to eat. Went back to the Blue Frog and enjoyed some delicious fajitas.

This morning we caught a cab and enjoyed shopping at IKEA which has been in China for 6 years. I needed some bath mats, blanket, laundry hamper and found everything on the list.

In the afternoon went and got my nails done and have included a picture. I was wondering what Ruby was going to do to fill in my nails since I will still have the  flowers for a few more weeks. Just add some glitter and sparkle. It is a wonder I can sleep at night.

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Went for a massage which was absolutely wonderful and thought I would walk the 30 minutes back to the hotel. When I came out it was as black as night for 4 pm. and the rain just poured down. Luckily this hotel always has taxis waiting so I was thankful.

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The rain stopped so Mark and I went out to eat. The waitress was so sweet as when Mark would speak Chinese she would say “you surprise me when you speak Chinese”.  She was happy to teach us a few words.

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Tomorrow back to Changzhi.