Tuesday, February 18, 2014

These Are - Well One - Of My Favorite Things!

Forget rain drops on roses and itchy whiskers on annoying little kittens!  The thing that makes me sing is - an empty seat by me on a 4 hour, 30 min flight!  Even more so when, seriously, EVERY other seat on the plane is filled!  I know there many jealous glares and sighs but - bite it other United flyers!!!!! I managed a 12 hour flight from Beijing jammed against a window with two non-English speaking Chinese people blocking me in for the long haul!

Besides the empty seat, the other days of my week have been good so far as well!   Actually got a lot accomplished and new business rolling over.  Spent Valentines Day with a friend forgetting it was Valentines Day!  Got to check something else off my bucket list over the weekend.  All is good.

Back to the office tomorrow.  Back to life.   Back to reality.  Back to the cold - although its not as cold as it could be!

And I get to take mom to see YoYoMa and Emanuel Ax for her 86th birthday on Friday.  Some of my friends are coming as well so we should have fun!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's Really A Grand Canyon

Just a quick stay over for Presidents' Day weekend.  Had to work in Phoenix this past week and catching a few more appointments this coming week so made a little pitstop in between.  Well worth it!  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

You Quirky Country, You!

So - by the popularity of my Chinese IKEA post - I now give you the further oddities of China...
WARNING - some of this is not for the faint of heart!....

Potty Training Chinese Style...
This is the complete truth - I witnessed it!  The whole nation of China potty trains their babies in a very unique manner.
The babies have these pants that they wear that has a hole in the butt.  During potty training this butt hole is never ever covered so even in the winter they're all bundled up - except for their butts!  Everywhere they go - butt hole open!

So when they want the babies to go they put them on the ground and then whistle in their ear - and they squat down and go wherever they may be .... Street, sidewalk, garden..... They literally train their babies by a whistle!

Julie said that they all joke there that the adults have incontinence problems because whenever someone calls their dog or is just absent mindedly whistling a tune - ah!:)

Dear Sir - Why Is Your Pinky Nail So Long?
This is the honest truth!  I kid you not!  It's always handy to keep that one long nail in case your nose or ears need a good cleaning out!  That's all Ill say!

The Strange Tastes Of The Chinese
Don't you love going to the movies just to get the popcorn.  Or a baseball game to get hot dogs!  Well, if you were in China you'd be looking forward to these things because you'd be snacking on delicious, healthy chicken feet!  Buy them in presealed bags, in boxes freshly fried or just fresh!

And no Chinese meal is complete without a great plate full of duck feet!  Tasty when dipped in knock your sinuses clean mustard sauce!  Rubbery, yet crunchy!  All your taste sensations will be satisfied! Here in China - they don't waste any of the bird!

These are the top three Chinese oddities that I favor... If I think of more that blow my mind - I will indeed update!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


And for my last night - we celebrated Chinese New Year style with fireworks!  For as much as they all do them - they still get super excited!

There were big ones too but they're on the camera so those will have to come later.

On my way back to the airport in a few hours - so sad to leave this land of duck feet, whistle-potty trained babies (remind me to tell you about that later!:), chair skating and spitting on the train.  But I'm most going to miss friends - new and old!  

Quick Saturday Post

Time has flown by and Ill be leaving tomorrow already.  I worked yesterday at our customer and Julie and I stayed at the Marriott by the old city wall for two nights.  Today Zach is making steaks and orange pie for us while Julie and I go get massages from blind people - yes, you heard me, blind people.  Julie says its the big thing in China because they think the blind people have such amazing sensory skills.  Ill expound on that after the experience.

On Wednesday we went with another family to the Hohai area by the forbidden city so that we could go through the old park and go on the hootongs.

These are hootongs:). It's called chair skating.  You sit on this chair and push yourself around with poles.  We ended up not going because there were millions of people on the ice and the ice was totally melting.  It was basically water on top of ice.  

The Forbidden City from the top of the park.  The hill in this park was apparently built up from the dirt that came out of the moat around the Forbidden City.

We then went out the back of the park and walked through all these little Chinese alleys to get to the Hootongs.

We stopped for some snacks along the way from some street vendors and sidewalk stands.

And here are some of my favorite signs from the day....

If you can't figure out what the sign means - dont ask me because I'm in the dark on that as well!:)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Caffeine, IKEA and Fireworks

Good morning!  Nothing says morning in China like starting off with a cup of coffee at Wedome!  

Monday afternoon, Julie and some friends and I took a trek out to IKEA.  Julie says that the Beijing newspaper did a whole piece on how IKEA is a tourist destination.  There's a company that does a bus tour to IKEA and then people spend the day there.  They literally move in.  They sit in all the displays - watch tv, lay in the beds and nap, get food and bring it to the dining display areas and have family meals.  It was all true!  It was horrible there!  You couldn't even more it was so crowded.  Carts banging into you, you couldn't look at anything because people were using using everything.  

Naked baby butt being changed on a display bed...

All cuddled up under the covers....

See the guy napping in the corner - notice how the bedclothes are all rumpled and all... 

Phone conversation while curled up on a baby bed in the kids dept.   Nothing says relaxed like no shoes!

Today, Tuesday, is like the day of the money god or something like that for Chinese New Years.  We had heard this was supposed to be the big celebration day.  There are fireworks going off everywhere since like 7 this morning.  It's like gunshots going like crazy!

And then we hit the mall for coffee and snow pants because the kids are supposed to go skiing tonight.  There was all this noise and banging and cheering in the mall.  We go out and there's a dragon running around:). 

They ended up bringing the dragon out for pictures and I got Jasper to pose with them:)

Happy day of the money gods!:)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

I slept SSSOOO well last night!  And now I've woken up to my first day in Chinese New Year!  Although last night when I get in at 4 you heard fireworks all over until late.  I've already been prepared that all week there will be fireworks all day and all night.  And so the remnants of fireworks all over the streets.  Supposedly it's not as massive as normal as the government technically forbid fireworks because the pollution has been so bad.  But what are rules of not to be broken!

This morning we went to church in the expat community.  It was communion Sunday which was pretty cool, as usual, when you get to worship and do communion with believers from literally all  over the world.  Australia, Switzerland, US... Since its a expat church, you have to have a special badge to go because its not a church Chinese nationals are allowed to go to.  It's not a government sanctioned church.  

Later today we might go for "monk food" - ill explain later :)

Now Entering China

Through San Francisco, one hour to connect with no problems to my flight to Beijing.  Smooth flight, even slept a little which is an unreality for me - a whole row of 3 seats in economy plus just for me!  Yippee!

And now I'm sitting here as we descend, just looking around and doing some people watching with my cabin mates and I'm all of a sudden sad.  Every family on this flight is a mom, a dad and one child.  One teenager.  One baby.  One toddler.  Three people in every family.  You're only allowed one child.  They've started changing it but its too late for some people.  The young ones, if they both come from a family of one child, they can now have two children.  But otherwise.  Welcome to a family of 3 - mom, dad and one makes three.

And a moment ago I couldn't even open my shade because the sun was so bright.  We dropped and the reality of Beijing hit.... Is that fog?  Or just pollution?.... Hmmm....

Welcome to China....