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A Year in China (lots of pics/txt)

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Found this:


Last summer, I got a work opportunity to spend almost a year inChina. I've been there for about half a year now. During that time, I've traveled to a bunch of China's largest cities, gotten married, driven across Tibet, went to Nepal shortly (needed to renew my visa), and spent some time in Sanya (the "Hawaii ofChina").

I'm uploading my photos to Picasa and editing the emails I sent to my family so as to be suitable for posting here. I'll add as many as I can as quickly as I can and bump the thread when there's new content. I've reserved a whole page for myself because there's A LOT and there's a limit as to how long each post can be.

Hope you enjoy the read!



Arrived at Shanghai airport. Our flight was positively miserable. Chinese people seem not to like to sleep on the plane, so they talked (LOUDLY) all night long. Also, about halfway through the flight, one lady opened her window which was facing directly into the sun. It was about 2 in the morning by my internal clock and the absolutely blinding light was very confusing.



I'm glad to be back in China. I think it's liberating the way you don't have to have manners here. In the airport I badly cut some dude off trying to get into the lineup for customs. I intentionally smoked another guy's shins with my luggage cart and stared resolutely ahead of me; he didn't react at all. I saw a girl push an old lady's luggage back on the conveyer belt in order to get her own bag off. People stare at me and I stare right back. They may be rude, but that just gives me license to do the same.

We have a pretty decent $20 per night hotel in Ningbo, a little industrial suburb of Shanghai. Ningbo, though it's seldom heard-of outside of China, is bigger than any city in Canada (6.8 million people here). On the way, we passed a nuclear power plant, drove over the second-longest bridge in the world (35 kilometres) (the longest is also in China, some 70-something kilometres), and wound up in this city. It's a national holiday right now so the roads are deserted, everyone's at home with family.

After dinner, my wife and I went for a foot massage. The girls who rubbed our feet charged us $6 for 45 minutes each, and proceeded to talk in an uncommon Chinese dialect about how we're from abroad so we've got lots of money. The girl doing my feet divined from my pressure points that I sit too much and I don't sleep enough. Two for two. On the way home, a reasonably well-dressed man looked at us, then said loudly (in Chinese) but to no one in particular, "your mother's c*nt."” My wife seems to feel like our part of town is dangerous. I disagree.

Tomorrow we will find a cleaner place for massages. The place we went to was a whorehouse, and the girls were surprised to see my wife and disappointed that we only wanted a foot rub. Price was right, though.

There's an overzealous security guard outside our window in the parking lot who invariably turns every car away, telling them to park elsewhere. Most cars just drive past him as he steps out of his booth waving his arms; he shouts after them as they go into the parking lot then goes back into his booth where he has a little TV and a stove of some sort going on the ground. The room is clean, but the bathroom has a faint s*** smell, I suspect because of cheap plumbing. I just keep the door closed.

Gas powered scooters are becoming rare here, they've almost all been replaced with electric scooters. They're good for the environment, but a constant peril for pedestrians as they sneak up behind you, silently cruising along at 50 km/h. It would be so easy to get nailed by one as they drive on the sidewalks as often as they do on the roads, and they're all carrying a whole family and a box of chickens or something, probably 400+ lbs. You'd certainly perish. They're even a menace for cars; they have no lights even at night (saves electricity and hence enhances range) and they obey no rules at all. At any intersection, regardless of the lights, they're whizzing through from all directions at top speed. Total madness. I am looking forward to renting a car so I can be impervious to this.

My wife's friend picked us up, told us the area where our hotel is in actually IS dangerous, and took us to the nice part of town. No one talked about my mother's c*nt in this part of town, but people still stare at me like nobody's business. People would drive by on scooters and stare at me for as long as possible, nearly hitting things and swerving around like they're drunk just to get an extra couple seconds of staring at me. I'm used to it (it was the same when I lived in China last time) so it doesn't bother me, but it causes a few laughs. I overheard someone shout to his friend, "Hey, come over here and look: a foreigner!" The person then came over and they both stared at me without making any attempt to hide it until I left. I was at a urinal when a guy I don't think I've ever seen told me my Chinese is really good. I saw seven other white people in town, and I did exactly as the Chinese did and shouted "Look, a foreigner" then stared at them.

Also, I saw a crazy building shaped like a pair of pants. Apparently there's some kind of ball field on top of it but I didn't go see. I saw a dude napping on concrete using a bottle of iced tea for a pillow. A fellow on an electric scooter blasted through a very busy intersection against the light. His strategy was to stare at something in the opposite direction of the traffic that nearly killed him, presumably on the basis that if they realized he can't see them (but they can see him) that they'll yield. Astoundingly, this tremendous risk paid off and he made it home to his family ten seconds earlier than he otherwise would have.

We could not exchange our money for Chinese money today. We went to a bank and took a number (1250). The screen showed some five people in front of us. However, it went from 1245 to 1246 to 5003 (!) to 3200 (!!) to 1247, to 1249, back to 5003 (!!!), then finally to us. The lady behind the bulletproof glass told my wife that she needs ID to change money and that a passport was not ID. However, oddly, my passport would have sufficed (the actual thing and not the photo of it on my iPhone that I have) so tomorrow we'll go with my passport. Rules are rules, even if they make no sense. This is especially true if the person making the rules is behind bulletproof glass and appears to have near minimal job satisfaction.

Today I came to the conclusion that stepping in barf is worse than stepping on ****. Experience is the best teacher.

I got a tour of a clothes factory today, a friend of my wife's works there. They have a fingerprint reader for punching in and out of work. I tried it on my finger and it didn't work (I don't work there). It worked for my wife's friend, though. cont

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