Monday, October 30, 2006

Today at the tail-end of lunch, a group of Chinese women knocked at my door. I could easily guess what they wanted. They wanted to see my apartment. They always do. This is the 5th time this term that they have stopped by. The problem is, they're not allowed in the building. Of course, the security gates are all broken and have been broken since the summer. These damn people never bother the Chinese and they know exactly where the foreigners live.
I finally got fed up with this group. I told them they aren't allowed in the building and I asked one if she understood and she nodded. But she also started giggling about the situation. I told her this was no joke and I'd call the police next time. Then I told them, "Get the fuck out of my building!" and slammed the door in their faces.
Something better get done about the gates or these idiot realtors. This is amounting to harassment and I'm really sick of it. To top it off, it is the school's responsibility to ensure the teachers' safety in the building. And I'm still not sold on the security. The most they've ever done is stop a kiwi on his way to Hong Kong with his posessions.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The censors are after me...

Well not really. It seems China decided to block access to blogger again. I can still post, I just can't view. I hope this is only temporary. I can't post photos with my ramblings if I can't view the layout.
On another note...
It's a damn big beer. The other night, on my way home I spotted a big inflatable Kingway bottle (weighted so it never falls over). I inquired if I could purchase said beer. The answer was, it's free. But I have to now eat and drink at the restaurant every now and then. I just had lunch there yesterday and it's quite good. Plus I don't mind spending a little time there since the nice Kingway girl who helped me with my Chinese studies works there now.
Here's to gigantic beers I can't drink. Ganbei!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Postal Frustration

I decided to take a trip to a different China Post office today during lunch. I had to mail a card for my grandmother's 92nd birthday and thought it was a good excuse to get motivated and write a few other postcards for friends and family.
I arrived at the post office and there were only a couple customers. They all stared at the foreigner as usual. The guy behind the counter looked at me and took my postcards. He stared awkwardly at them; attempting to read them. "Meiguo," I said and pointed to the cards. He nodded and kept looking at the cards to figure out what they said. After a couple minutes he finally took out some stamps. He stuck 6-jiao stamps on each and asked for pay. I was a little surprised. I've sent many a postcard in China and they always cost 4.5 kuai, not an 1/8 the price as he was charging me. I looked at him and repeated, "Meiguo," and added, "feiji." (Translation: America, airplane.) I thought that would get the point across. He picked up the postcards and tried to read them again. He handed them to a girl standing nearby and she tried to read them as well. He showed me one of them and pointed to "USA" in my handwriting. I slowly and deliberately repeated, "Meiguo." He still didn't understand. He just went looking through a book for prices of some sort. I sent a message to my girlfriend and asked her for the words for air mail. It was then that the man found a bunch of 2 kuai stamps to add to the 6 jiao that was already there. He couldn't figure out what to do with the new stamps now that he used up some of the space with worthless, oversized stamps. I sent another message stating that this guy was an idiot. I received a reply of some Chinese characters followed by "show this to the idiot."
It was too late, he stuck all the stamps on the cards and asked for money. After paying him, he continued to try to read.
Next time, I'm using an envelope and writing instructions for the idiots behind the counter.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Just to add to depression...
I was walking home tonight after having a few beers and studying Chinese. I ran into the old Kingway girl and had a half-assed conversation in Chinglish. But it was nice. As I entered the complex of Tao Yuan Ju I realized that six months ago I could see the stars in the sky. Due to construction, this is no longer possible until probably 3 or 4 am.
There are a great many things wrong around here. This is a minute detail.

Bad Wine

They were selling wine in Tao Yuan Ju today. I stopped by on the way back from buying some fruit. I thought it was Great Wall wine, but it was just an imitation with labels that resembled it. The girls offered me a taste. I made a disgusting face and said, "Bu xihuan." They were impressed that I knew Chinese. They started asking me questions and all I caught was "Why don't you like it." I didn't know how to explain it to them. It was a dry red wine that was absolutely tasteless. It was like drinking red yeast. I was just terrible. I wouldn't even use that crap for cooking.
As a side note: the wine is Eastern Pearl. I'm guessing it probably uses water from the Pearl River (one of the most polluted in the world). I'll probably die in the next 48 hours from some sort of poisoning.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Homer Simpson voice:
Yes, I found something different for once. I'm really getting sick of Chinese beer. My choices are Tsingtao and Kingway. Or if I want even lower quality, Snow. Or if I want to spend twice as much and travel 20 minutes on the bus, Xin Jiang Black Beer. But yesterday I took a trip to commie-mart. I guess they're emptying the stock, because it was cheaper than Pabst. Grolsch for 3.80 kuai. I don't even really like Grolsch, but it tastes different. For some reason that was the price for a 12 oz bottle while the big bottles were 14 kuai. I'll never understand the pricing here. But I do believe that when something goes on sale, it means they will never sell it again. If I'm lucky, they'll keep a few bottles of this on the shelves until I make it back to bring home a case.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We were walking through Commie Wal-Mart the other day and saw an unlikely sight. Through the book section we perused, even though we can't read much Chinese. We came across copies of Nabakov's Lolita on the shelves. Not only is it a shock to see this book is not banned in China, it is also not banned in Wal-mart. There is no way in hell that Lolita would ever grace the shelves of an American Wal-mart store.
I was tempted to buy a copy in Chinese in the hopes that one day I could read it and discover if it's censored. My friends and I were tempted to stand by it and tell the Chinese customers, "Ni yao zhe ge shu."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I was walking to school today along the same route as always. I was just in time to see the primary school students performing their poorly-choreographed morning exercises that resembled emotionless automatons dancing in a marching style. Usually I find this quite dull. However, today I was listening to my mp3 player just as James Brown came on...I think the song was Good Foot. It was amusing to see the children exercising in time with the Godfather of Soul.

Monday, October 09, 2006

That was not exactly the response I was expecting.
I have a class of non-Chinese students (a mix of various Asians but mostly Koreans). I decided that I would teach a little current events after reading the news about DPRK's nuclear testing. I was quite surprised to find that, for once, my students knew what had happened before I even told them. Even more surprising was one of my students' reactions. I had put up a big photo of Kim Jung Il on the TV screen (and it's a huge TV). This girl came in and flipped him off. Not only that, she actually said, "Fuck you!" I've never heard her curse... or even speak so much during one class. All four of my Korean students had comments about situation and not a single one of them liked Mr. Pompador.

On another note, I just happened to glance at a little brochure from the famous Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant. The last photo on the back is that of the funny little man preparing to choose his duck for dinner.
I should note that the other three photos are of Henry Kissinger, George HW Bush, and Toshiki Kaifu (former PM of Japan).

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Zhaoqing & Moon Festival

The vacation is too short. Of course, I had to work last Saturday before the start of the week vacation. Then it wasn't until after the start of the break that I was informed I must work the Sunday on the tail end. So nice of management to care enough to inform me. Perhaps I should've taken the extra day and come back with the complaint that I was not explicitely informed of the vacation days. Anyway, that's the gripe for the school at this time.
I did manage to get away for a few days in Zhaoqing, not far from Guangzhou. It's a nice little city with some scenery to admire. Of course, after seeing so much of China already, it was not impressive. Still, it's always good to get out of Shenzhen for sanity's sake.
If nothing else, it was interesting to see a different city. There are things in Zhaoqing that I haven't seen before--like motorcycle riders wearing helmets (except for children). I also had the experience of being lost in Chinese. I can do that on my own, but my girlfriend had difficulties. She kept claiming that the residents' Putonghua was terrible and she couldn't understand Cantonese. There were a few times I heard her ask the same question five or six times before someone else would come along and translate. I guess this is what I have to look forward to when I take her to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos (maybe not all of them, but at least Thailand).
As the final note, Happy Moon Festival to all. I returned just too late to witness the performances in the neighborhood. But I did enjoy the dinner, moon cake, mahjong, and beer.