Oct
31
2006

Happy Halloween!

bya Gabrielle at 5:59 PM

I did a search for a Halloween cat in Yahoo and this is one of the pictures that turned up. I thought it was pretty cute. It’s great when people manipulate animals and make them do outrageous things like this.(Horray Photoshop) For some reason, it totally brightens my day.

Well, if you didn’t know, Halloween doesn’t exist here in China. Sad face. I am slowly trying to bring it over though. This week I am teaching my little devils about Halloween and the whole art of Trick or Treating. Like normal, some think that it is cool, and the rest of the 700 brats think it is boring, stupid and as uninteresting as me. I actually had a student tell me to my face that he didn’t think I was interesting. How wonderful is it to hear that?

For the good students, I bought some Milk Candy. It’s pretty cheap and good if I must say so myself. I find myself sticking my hand in the bag to nick a piece a bit to often. It’s all going to my hips. I can feel it.

The fun part about teaching Halloween is that I get to scare the living heebie jeebies out of my students and feel justified doing it. When I tell them about haunted houses, I tell them that they are scary and then pick a random bored student who looks like he or she is sleeping and then scream SCARY in the ear while slamming my hands on their desk. Even the boys look like they are about to faint sometimes. The girls look like they might cry. And that really, really, makes my day a good day. I’m evil. I know. But you’d be evil too if you had to put up with their crap.

I do have a few good students, but not enough. I actually had a few of them call me Miss Cook last week and today one called me by my Chinese name – Zi Wei. I rarely hear Gabe. Mostly it is just Teacher! Teacher! I should start screaming Student! Student! and see how they like it.

But anyway, Happy Halloween. Hope some of you got my share of candy because I will be waiting patiently to get it when I finally come home in about 8 or so months – if China will let me leave that is . . .

Oh, and will someone eat a piece of Pumpkin Pie for me. I have been thinking about it all week. Nangua is Chinese for pumpkin, by-the-way. Some of Phil students gave him one. He needs to carve it soon before it starts to rot and we have to throw it out. Anyone have a funny suggestion on what to carve into it?

Post you ideas in the comment section, and if Phil likes your suggestion – I will post a picture of it after he is done.

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Oct
31
2006

Walking Around Fuyang

bya Gabrielle at 5:58 PM

There is no need to adjust your screens, these peanuts really are purple and turquoise, the very color of my room(back home that is.) I ran into these little suckers when I was walking through an open market down the street and couldn’t let them go without getting a picture of them. A few Chinese people stared at me when I did, but I mean, how often do you see purple and turquoise peanuts? My point exactly. I have no idea what they taste like. I haven’t gotten around to popping one in my mouth. And I don’t know if I will. There is something wrong about eating purple and turquoise peanuts.

There are two things about China you should know. The first one is that China is not the safest place in the world. The people are fine, but you have to watch where you walk. If you don’t, you may plummet into a hole. The Chinese don’t cover up holes on the sidewalks here in Fuyang and if they do, they aren’t very effective. The second thing is that China is one of the least sanitary places I have ever seen. A lot of the places are just plain dirty. The bathrooms are probably the worst of the bunch, but pretty much every where you go – you have to wonder what disease is growing there and how it can possibly hurt you. But that is something I have just grown used to. For a visual example, I’ve posted this building.  It’s a trash can, at least that is what it is used for in Fuyang. People come down, throw their rubbish in and walk away. Then all of the rats and flies come in and feast. And the smell. Icky. That is what gets me the most. The smell. It is almost as bad as the rank ammonia smell of urine that comes from some of the bathrooms.

Here is a random picture off of one of Fuyang’s bridges. If this creek was like any one from back home I would run down to it and try to go Crawdad hunting, but I wouldn’t even put my toe in this particular one. And I don’t think that a little Crawdad could live in it. I think that is one of the things I miss from home besides western food. Wildlife. I haven’t even seen a squirrel here. There have only been a handful of pigeons around town. I saw a duck in a cage and few chickens getting their heads cut off, but no real wildlife. I don’t even know where to look to find them. :( Guess I have to go to the Zoo.


Talk about airing your dirty laundry. All the Chinese do. Well, it isn’t dirty anymore. They are just hang it up to dry after a good washing. They hang their laundry every where. They hang them on wires in front of houses like this woman here, outside of windows, over banisters, and even on telephone wires. It reminds me a lot of when I went to Portugal. It all comes down to the fact that the Chinese people just don’t own dryers. I don’t know why they don’t. They aren’t that expensive and I have seen them in stores. Maybe they just don’t want to bother with them. They sure make life easier. And I am sure that they would think the same if they gave it a whirl.

Categories: China,Chinese,Food,Fuyang
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Oct
31
2006

STOP!! DON’T CLICK A SINGLE BUTTON!!

bya Gabrielle at 12:55 AM

FREEZE!! REMOVE YOUR HANDS FROM YOUR MOUSE!!

Alright, hopefully my big font caught your attention and you haven’t left my little blog quite yet.

If you are still here. Thanks. For those of you who left after the word stop, I have one word for you. Grr.

Now that you are here and settling in on the nice big blue couch I bought a couple of days ago, I have a question for you. A few questions actually. And if you could answer them for me, I would be very happy.

I always wonder who is coming to my blog and how they found it. I have trackers, but that only gives me an IP address(sometimes), a country, and some other random information that doesn’t really matter. What I want to know is who you really are, how you came across my blog, and what other information you want divulge to me and the rest of the blogging universe.

Drop the information in the comment box, please. I would appreciate it very much. It is nice to know who in the world actually reads the words I write.

Categories: America,China
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Oct
31
2006

Paper Making Village Part 2

bya Gabrielle at 12:54 AM

We found this pretty little bench in the gift shop at the end of our tour. After seeing the prices on the books for sale, we had to sit down to catch our breaths. The prices were pretty steep, at least more than I was willing to pay. I was hoping that they would have some smaller items for my cheap blood, but that didn’t happen, and we left the gift shop without anything in tow.


I am not sure exactly what you would call this. I thought it was a fish at first, but then I changed my mind and thought it looked more like a dragon. After looking at it for several minutes, I decided on the phrase – Fish Dragon. It seemed fitting. We had a tour guide, but she didn’t speak a lick of English – go figure, so I never found out what it really was or what it symbolized if anything. The only good thing my guide was good at was pointing and motioning “this way” with her hand.

We climbed up some stairs into a building we shouldn’t have gone into, but our tour guide hadn’t found us yet. While I was up on the second story, I took this picture. The village is pretty even though it is a little run down. There are only a few more buildings than what you see in this picture. Like I said, the village is small. Hence the name – village. Heh.

This looks like a fabulous job. All day she sits and paints this rubber flower stamp with some green paint and then gently presses it on the paper square. This process repeats itself over and over again. I was hoping to come across these little pieces of paper in the gift shop, but I never saw them.

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Oct
29
2006

Paper Making Village

bya Gabrielle at 3:17 PM

A few weekends ago Phil, Mayia(one of the Australians teaching with us), and I went to an Ancient Paper Making Village located about a 5 minute taxi drive from our front door. The village is pretty small, and if you spend an hour there – you’ve been there long enough to see everything.

I won’t go into too much detail about it. Writing something interesting about paper isn’t easy. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

This first picture is just a random building that I thought was pretty cool looking.

The Process(In My Words – Simplified and Probably Wrong)

To start the process, they have to create paper mush. To do that, they take big slabs of old paper(hurray for recycling) and let that round, heavy stone roll over it a couple hundred times until it is exactly that – mush. Then they take it and throw it into the container in the back right and let it float around a bit in some unidentifiable liquid until it breaks apart some more and turns to pulp. I think it may be a part of a cleaning process as well, but I really have no idea. It’s a complete assumption, as are most of my Chinese experiences since no one ever tells me what is going on.

After all of that, the pulp is then taken into another room and dropped into a vat of water. The pulp floats around in it and a man(or woman) drops this rectangle piece of wood covered tightly with mesh into it. He lets the pulp settle into the mesh and then slowly pulls it out. The mesh now has a thin layer of very wet paper laying on it.

In a very crafty motion, the man(or woman) takes the mesh covered rectangle out and lays the wet, paper side down next to the vat. It sits there for a few seconds and the it is lifted quickly, leaving behind a thin layer of paper on top of the many other layers of paper that have been made prior to that one. They sit there until a certain number have been created. I am not sure why the pieces don’t meld together, but they don’t. Each piece remains separate as they wait until the next step.


The sheets are then carried into yet another room. This particular room is very warm because there is a large wall in the center of it producing heat like one big iron would. A man or woman picks up one of the sheets of wet paper and places it on the wall. All of the water is almost immediately zapped out if it. You can see the steam flowing off of it. To make sure though, they take a brush and glide it over it until every drop of water has been removed. After that, they very easily take the dry piece of paper down and lay it in another pile.

That is the main process of paper making, but not the end. The dry pieces of paper are taken to another room where they are cut, stamped, or written on and then bound to be sold in the expensive Gift Shop.

Please don’t shoot me if I just completely mucked up the process of paper making, but like I said, no one told me what they were doing, I just watched and wondered. The place was pretty neat, and was worth the Y25 to get in. I have more pictures of the place that I will post. Hope you enjoyed your Paper Making tour. Heh.

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Oct
27
2006

SSDD

bya Gabrielle at 1:05 AM

Phil’s sick.

I’m sick.

Phil’s sick.

I’m sick.

Repeat.

There will be no new posts or pictures until this process stops repeating itself.

And I think blogspot may be blocked again in China – I don’t know. If you know, please do tell.

Categories: China,Fuyang
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Oct
22
2006

Cute Kitty Stories

bya Gabrielle at 1:11 AM

There has to be as many stray cats in China as there are dogs, if not more, but that’s okay because I love cats. China could not possibly have enough for me to love. And I would love them all if they would let me.

If you walk down any street, you’ll see them. They’ll be in the windows, laying in the shops, lounging on the stairs, or running for their lives down the street and into an alley way. I just pray that they are not a main course on anyone’s plate in any of the restaurants, especially mine. I could probably live knowing I just ate Fido because a small part of my soul will always hate dogs after working at Bermex, but I don’t think I would ever forgive myself if I ate a four legged creature that could purr.

For the most part, they are terrified of everyone or maybe it’s just me. Maybe the whole white aspect of my being is just too much for them to take. Some times I meow at them and they meow back and look a little curious, but for the most part I can’t get close enough to pet a hair on their head. If they see me coming they bolt the other way. One second they’re there and the next they’re gone. It is really quiet depressing. Now that I think of it, maybe they run because they think that I am going to eat them . . . I mean, I am in China where they eat EVERYTHING. And I mean everything.

The first photo is of Meow Meow, a kitty we found at the hostel we stayed at in Shanghai. It was where he had decided to live when he was just a wee little kitten(he’s still small enough to be considered a kitten) and the owners of the place let him stay. He was a very cute little kitty, as well as curious and a trouble maker to boot! During the days that Phil was too sick to do anything, I would go down to the lobby and pet him. He always thought I wanted to play and he would try to bite and scratch me in the playful kitten way of course. When I showed him Gloria, our cricket, he tried to eat her, but he couldn’t get her through the cage. I’m surprised that Gloria didn’t kill over in shock.

The last day we were there Phil went and got us our last McDonald’s meal that we will have for awhile and brought it back to the hostel. We ate it in the lobby since we couldn’t go back to our room anymore. We had checked out, but our train didn’t leave for another two hours. Meow Meow could smell our food and tired so hard to get to it. I gave him a little taste of a fry. What a mistake that was. He wanted more. He started the “I’m a poor defenseless starving kitty” act and had a perfect meow to go with it. He got a few more pieces out of me. I’m weak, what can I say. When we threw our left overs away, he went and sat next to the trash can and got popped by the owner each time he tried to carry any of it out. I felt so bad for the little guy.

This is a photo of one of the random cats we saw while in Shanghai. I took the picture because he looked so cute sleeping in the window. It was the way he had his tail dangling that won me over. Although, cats look cute no matter what they are doing. Heh. If you can’t tell, the shop was for door handles. I tapped on the glass to try to get his attention, but he was sacked out. His ears didn’t even flinch when I hit the glass.

Seeing all these cats made me miss my poor kitty, Morgan. I will be looking forward to seeing her when I go back home. I know that she won’t run from when she sees me. At least she better not or I will cook her up Chinese style!!

One more cat story and then I;ll bring this post to a close.

Last week, I went and sat in on one of Phil’s classes because I had nothing else better to do. And I didn’t feel like hiking up those six flights of stairs just to come back down them an hour later to eat dinner. He was still telling them about our trip to Shanghai instead of doing a lesson he should have (bad Phil) but the kids enjoyed it more so that makes it okay. He showed them some of the pictures we took and the kids ewwed and awwed. Very typical. They eww and aww over just about anything. When Phil got to a picture of me and Meow Meow he pointed at me and said, “Ta ai mao.” It means, she loves cats. Forgive me if I spelled cat wrong in Chinese. The kids though that was pretty cool and class continued fairly normal for the next few minutes until the back of the class erupted in shrieks and yells.

I had no idea what was going on. All the girls were making a fuss and everyone was jumping out of there seats and standing on them. I thought maybe a mouse, a rat, or a big bug had run into the room. But I was wrong. Before I tell you what they were screaming over, although, I am sure you know, Phil’s class room was on the second floor and a little ways away from town. It ended up being a cat. Yes, a cat. (I am convinced that I willed it into existence.) Someone yelled that it was a cat, but I didn’t believe it until someone actually picked it up and held it out to me. The cat was not happy at all. He was meowing like Morgan does right before she rips me to shreds. I grabbed the cat and tried to get him out of the classroom as quick as I could, but I found that difficult because all of the kids were more or less surrounding me and the stressed to all hell kitty was trying to wiggle out of my arms. I got him out of the classroom though and then found myself asking what in the world to do with him. I didn’t just want to let him run loose. He was in the middle of school campus and anything might happen to him. And that is when it hit me. This cat looked familiar. I even recognized his meow, which was really deep and coarse. Some of the kids insisted that he was theirs, but I knew they were lying. I asked them what his name was and they had to think about it and then picked a random one off the top of their heads.

The cat ended up being from one of the noodle shops at the bottom of the hill the leads to the school. I had seen him there on a few mornings and had petted him once or twice before getting on the bus to go to my school. I don’t know how he got to Phil’s school or what he was doing on the second floor, but I decided that it would be best if I walked him back home. I tried to carry him, but he didn’t like that and growled something awful. I must say that he didn’t bite or scratch me at all during his awful endeavor. At one point, I put him down and he started meowing at me and purring. I walked a way from him a little and he started following me. Believe it or not, the cat followed me almost all the way back to his noodle shop and the only reason he didn’t is because I picked him up. I thought there was too much traffic and he might run off if cab or something honked at him.

Once I got to the noodle shop, I put him back down and he seemed to know where he was. He plopped down on the stairs and started taking a nap. I went in and tried asking someone if he belonged to them, but of course, no one spoke a lick of English. I was about to give up and let the poor kitty fend for himself when a woman that could speak English showed up. I told her where I found the cat and that I knew it belonged here because I had seen it a few times. She asked a few of the workers if they knew who it belonged to, but they didn’t know. She said she was sorry and that she thought it was a stray, but then a guy walked out and started talking to the lady. She told me that he knew it belonged to the owners of the shop but they weren’t there or something like that. The lady said that it was a very nice thing that I did. I said no problem, and went on back to school so I could have my wonderful canteen dinner.

It wasn’t until later that I feared that maybe the cat became someone’s dinner at the noodle shop. I surely hope it didn’t or else I would feel really bad. I walk by the shop every morning hoping to see the cat again, but I still haven’t and it has been a few days. Of course, I didn’t see him that often there to begin with. Maybe he ran away again or the owners of the shop took him home. That’s what I hope anyway. That would make me happy.

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Oct
18
2006

Human Lawn Mowers

bya Gabrielle at 4:00 AM

I saw the strangest thing one day outside of my classroom window as I was day dreaming my day away and had to get a picture of it. If you remember from a previous post of mine, there is a big track outside of my 5th story window and a massive area of grass is in its interior. Well, that is where these four fine ladies are sitting. At least, I think they are women. It is hard to tell from where I took the picture. I had seen them early in the week, but I didn’t know exactly what they were doing until later. It struck me as I stood by the window watching them very slowly transform the field.

These ladies, as it turns out, are Human Lawn Mowers. That is not an exaggeration, at least not really. What they do is this: They sit on these itty bitty stools that you can sorta see in the picture, if you look closey, and they pick the tall pieces of grass and weeds that they can reach. They take these pieces, put them into small baskets until they get full, and then put it in that wheely thing you see and roll it away. Your guess is as good as mine on where they take it from there, but unless it is some special kind of grass, it probably goes straight into a trash can.

These women did little sections of the entire field for a good long week, if not longer, until the field looked nice and trimmed. I’m not kidding. They really did. And the craziest thing is that when they were all done – the field actually looked better than when they started. I have seen exactly one lawn mower since I came to China almost two months ago and it took 3 people to operate it. It was as though they had never used it before. I think that is one of the things I miss – the sound of lawn mowers on a Saturday or Sunday morning. There isn’t a lot of grass here in China, and if you happen to come across any, you are more than likely not allowed to sit or walk on it. You can look at it all you want to – but the instant your foot touches a single blade – you may get a whistle blown at you. I’m sorta lucky, though. I can go to the primary school right beside my school and sit on their little patch of grass all I want to and the only thing bad that will happen to me is a weird stare from some of the staff members.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I still have a billion pictures I want to post, but I’ve been too tired and depressed to post or talk about them. Hopefully, I will get in a better mood so that I can tell you about what all Phil and I have done. There are still several pictures from Shanghai and some new pictures that I just took of an Ancient Paper Making Village. My readership has dwindled this week and I don’t know why – maybe it is the lack of posting. Or maybe my blog just sucks. I am hoping for the first one. I would hate to think that this blog sucks. That would make me more depressed.

If you think of any way to make middle school students behave, please feel free to post your insights. They are really starting to drive me insane. For Halloween, I am going to buy all of them Devil Horns. Maybe a pitch fork for the really bad ones.

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Oct
13
2006

Happy Friday the 13th

bya Gabrielle at 4:54 PM

When Tim’s parents came to visit him about two weeks ago, Phil and I went to see how their hotel accommodations were. They were staying in a four star hotel that was trying to become a 5 star. It is located right at the foot of the hill that leads to our apartment and the school where Phil teaches. We eye it constantly and jokingly say that we are going to stay there one night just to say we did. Who knows, we may actually do it. It would only cost us about $69.00 to do so. How often can you say that you stayed in the lap of luxury for $69.00 . . . not very often would be my guess. It it is a very nice hotel with a staff that is constantly on your heels to see if you have any needs. Even better – some of the staff can speak English. But anyway, I digress.

We went to see what their rooms were like because Phil’s parents are probably going to come visit us as well before we leave and we wanted to make sure it was suitable for them. Before we got on the elevator(one of man’s greatest inventions – thank you Mr. Otis) I asked Tim what floor his parents were staying on. I was thinking to myself that it couldn’t be the 13th – because hotels don’t have . . . and that is where I stopped in my thought process because I suddenly remembered that I was no longer in the States and that the fear of the number 13 was some 7,000 miles away. But I went ahead and asked Tim anyway, expecting any number but the 13th to roll off his tongue.

“They are on the 13th,” he said.
I laughed. “Your joking?”
“Nope.”
“They really put them on the 13th floor?”
“Yeah, why is . . .(lightbulb) oh, yeah, I almost forgot about that.”

I thought it was funny, but of course, stupid things like that always make me giggle. It may have been some cruel joke put on by the hotel staff because they knew they were Americans but it was probably just a random occurrence. I like the cruel joke idea better.

The hotel room ended up being pretty nice with a good view of the city from their window. The beds were actually sorta soft. In China, hard beds are the norm and they suck, but these weren’t half bad. The room itself wasn’t as big as I expected for a 4 star hotel. It was about the same size as a normal cheap room back in the States, but it was nice. The room came equipped with a western toilet(hooray) and a bathtub(double hooray). It was the first bathtub that I have seen since we got to China almost 2 months ago. I so wanted to hop in and take a long hot bath so bad. That would have felt so good. More reasons why we really should go there and stay a night.

In China, and this is the reason for this post, they have similar superstitions to ours. For instance, we fear the number 13 because we think it is bad luck, although I couldn’t tell you why, and I doubt any number of people could either. As far as I know, the Chinese could care less about the number 13. It doesn’t mean jack-diddley to them, but the the numbers 4 and 14 sure do.

The pronunciation of the number 4 and the word “die” sound very, very similar. So much in fact, that the Chinese avoid it as much as humanly possible. Like our 13, they don’t like to stay on the 4th floor of buildings and they really don’t like days, months or years that contain the number either. It’s just plain unlucky. The same goes for the number 14. It sounds a lot like the words “must die” and so they avoid it, too. If an apartment building has a 4th or 14th floor – the apartments on that particular floor are usually cheaper. I wouldn’t mind living on a unlucky floor if it meant I could save some money. But then again, I am a cheap bastard. Heh. I’m already unlucky naturally, so maybe the unluckiness would cancel each other out or something.

I don’t find these particular superstitions odd, but I’m still not quiet used to the idea of a lucky hairy mole, lucky long pinky nail, or a lucky cricket. Hopefully, I will make it through the rest of the day for I do have a lucky cricket to ward off the unlucky 13th day of October.

Heh, I’ll tell you about the two additions to our little family later. Gloria and Edwardo, our new pet crickets, are super annoying, but cute – so they are forgiven any wrong doing.

Have a Happy Friday the 13th.

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Oct
12
2006

A Week in Shanghai, China Part 3

bya Gabrielle at 4:07 AM

Without any further delay, let me take you back to the week we spent in Shanghai. Like all things you enjoy, it went by a little too fast. Phil and I will need to go back in order to see the rest of it. We were only able to see a portion of the city.

Once Phil started feeling a little better, we decided to venture out into the massive city. And that is no exaggeration. Shanghai is something like 8 times bigger than New York City and has an unofficial population of 20 million. Although, if you asked anyone important, you might hear a much lower number like 14 million. Apparently, there are a lot of illegal immigrants here and they all live as squatters in the apartment buildings that are constantly being constructed.

Our first stop – food. We had been taking advantage of the western food that Shanghai had to offer. There are no McDonalds or Pizza Huts in Fuyang – only KFCs, so we tried to stock pile as many Big Mac’s and pepperoni pizzas that we could fit into our tummies. It was good to eat the yummy fast food fatness, but we could only eat so much of it. A Big Mack or a piece a pizza for every meal can make you wish for Chicken Feet and Snails . . . . okay, maybe not, but you get my point.

Shanghai is a lot easier to get around, in that I mean it is easier to order food because a lot more people speak English here. A lot more people. Almost every restaurant we went into had a English menu or had a server that knew some English. It made life so much easier. In Fuyang, we have to do something I call “Point and Pray”. In Shanghai, we knew pretty much what we were getting right off the bat. The first picture I have included came from a restaurant called Laava restaurant. Weird name, I know. I don’t know if they meant Lava as is hot molten lava or some other strange word I can’t think of. But we were hungry, so we didn’t care what clever name that had picked for their restaurant.

When we walked in, all of the tables were empty. I took this as a bad sign at first, but since I hadn’t seen any other places to eat – we decided to stay. The wait staff didn’t notice we were there for a few seconds because they were all asleep. Yes. Asleep. They were all curled up in the booths or had their heads down on the table. It must have been a very slow day. There was one woman standing behind the counter mindlessly cleaning a glass with a rag. She seemed out of it as well until she looked up at us. She nearly dropped the glass in excitement that she had some one to wait on. She immediately put the glass down, nearly dropping it in her happiness, and brought us a menu. She only spoke Chinese, but it didn’t matter because the menu was in English – so I was happy. An English menu is like a small piece of Heaven. She didn’t seat us right away, which I found weird, so Phil and I decided to order standing up. I ended up getting some Fried Rice and Phil got some Japanese Curry. It was one of the first meals we had had at a restaurant that we liked and knew what we were eating. I wanted to take a picture, and I did, but Phil thought I was insane for taking a picture of my half eaten plate of food. Do note that they had forks for us to use. We’ve gotten pretty used to chopsticks, but it is nice to use what you are used to every once in a while.

After lunch, we decided to visit my second home, Wal-Mart. Going here was one of our top priorities. I know that we are weird, but Wal-Mart is supposed to have everything and we needed to stock up on some things that we couldn’t get back in Fuyang. In order to get to Wal-Mart, we had to take a 20 minute subway ride, and then take another 20 minute walk – stopping every few blocks to ask someone in Chinese were it was. People slowly pointed us in the right direction and soon we saw a familiar sign. I was so happy that I did a little dance in the street. A Wal-Mart Dance of Joy.

It wasn’t quiet like I thought it would be. Mostly, it was just the name that was familiar to us. Other than that, the inside looked a lot like the other grocery stores that we have been to. The RT Mart, that we visit a lot back in Fuyang, is actually bigger and better. It wasn’t until we got to the second floor that we felt like we were in a Wal-Mart. It smelled like a Wal-Mart if that makes any sense and it had more of a design like one, too, except the departments were a lot smaller. I had to take a picture of the sign for the escalator. I felt a little funny holding up my camera to get it. I’m sure some of the Chinese customers thought I was nuts, but I thought that it was funny. The travelator. Heh. I want to know who translates this stuff for them.

Going to grocery stores in China makes me cry. Why you ask? Why? I’ll tell you. Every time that I go to buy fruit or vegetables, I have to walk past the live turtle, eel and crab section. In every grocery store, they have them. Some times they have the turtles in bags, which really makes me sad, but to see them sitting there waiting to bought and eaten totally just ruins my day. I know that it is no different than our Lobsters back home, but I don’t like seeing that either. It is one thing picking out a ripe apple or good looking carrot, but I know I will never be okay with trying to find the best turtle to cook for dinner. And even though I really don’t care that much for Eels, I still feel really bad for them, too. Poor little guys. I know that I have been severed eel a few times. Hopefully, I haven’t been given turtle, but there is no real way to tell. I watched a Chinese family try to pick out a turtle one day. They picked up one and looked as though were sizing it up against the other ones available. Of course, they wanted to get the one that had the most meat on its body and would taste the best with a side of cow stomach. I wish I was lying when I said they ate cow stomach, but I’m not. Why do the Chinese have to have such weird food taste? Why can’t they be meat and potato kind of people?

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