Monday, October 31, 2011

Qiantong Ancient City

This is a typical passageway throughout the town.

This trip was great, it was only about 15 minutes from the hotel by car. It appears that Ning Hai is in a valley surrounded by some large mountains. Reminds me of the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  The city was founded near the end of the Song Dynasty by the Tong family and over 760 years later the Tongs still live there. The city was laid out so every household had front door access to water from the Baiyi River. This is also the area where the Song Dynasty launched their navy. Enough history.

I did find it amazing that people are still living there in much the same way for over 760 years. They are still still using the water stream to wash their food, prepare meals and wash their clothes on the rocks. These people have to have very strong constitutions as this water is from a Chinese river. I don't think you can boil every germ away. I have no information on their sewage system.

This guy was preparing a duck for dinner while chatting with his friends. Those are the steps to his door.

I actually have quite a few good pictures so I am trying to put together a Picasa album. I am not good at that kind of stuff. Until I figure that out I will post a picture here and there. The mountain pictures did not come out very well, it was too foggy.

In the if it can happen-it will column, Big Daddy had a job interview with a Mexican company Wednesday night that went from 10:30 until midnight. The call was on a toll free number set up by the company. So the hotel charged us 560 kwai for the toll free call. The taxi driver on the ride back to our apartment was crappy so I was a bit on edge all the way back. We entered the complex from the back and this guard sent us into the underground garage before I knew what was happening. Now the taxi dude is asking me which way to go and I am telling him, "How the fuck should I know," and of course telling him to ask for directions. What a knucklehead.

Funny of the day: Amay saw the picture of the silk worms for dinner and ever she said Yuck. And her mother serves spicy dog meat.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Funny of the Day

As I have mentioned, some days I cannot force myself to go to breakfast. On those days Big Daddy brings something back to the room. This morning as BD was sauntering back to the elevator he was distracted by the guy screaming on his cell phone with noodles hanging from his chin. The little elevator clerk (her job is to punch the up/down button) was running after BD and calling, "Mr. David, Mr. David." That is not BD's name, that is what she has always called him. "You forgot Missy" she told him. BD was looking around for me I guess, when the clerk told him, "Missy is hungry." He had forgotten to get me any food.

It pays to be popular. And Missy is not my name, she called me by my real name. I guess it is better than the other hotel that called him Mr. Damn-it.

Hate to be an I Told You So

Big Daddy's boss went back to work with the soft cast and got bumped. Will wonders never cease.

Toyota Sienna was ranked as crap in one of the latest surveys I read, Toyota good-Sienna bad.

French whore-dog's girlfriend is being picked up at 4 PM.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shocking news

This may shock some of my readers, okay one of you 2, but I do not like change, adventure, or groups of people.

Well the French ass-hat casually informed Big Daddy that he is no longer working weekends as the company from hell will no longer pay him for overtime. We, thanks to this arrogant cretin, are stuck in Ning Hai as there is no way out at the last minute.

I decided that instead of pouting I would plan a little trip. I was sober and drug free when I did this. Saturday afternoon we are being driven by someone, perhaps the hotel driver or his cousin, that does not speak any English, to Qiantong Ancient Town. It is very old and good to take pictures, per the hotel manager. It will cost 500 kwai for the ride. When we arrive we will buy tickets and go on a walking tour. We have to pay for the drivers ticket, 3 tickets for 40 kwai each. The driver will show us the good stuff.

The manager also told me that everyone is the hotel really likes me and I am very popular.  Now this scares the piss out of me. I have never been popular with the mainstream.

We have started a new trend, when we finish books here we leave them with the staff. I told Daisy I had another book for her this morning and she mis-understood, she thought I wanted the old books back. Well, as it turns out the entire staff reads the books, passing them about and enjoying being able to read in English. The guys are reading chick lit. Most of the better books find a home in Shanghai. Well, that is gonna change, the guy who picked us up also reads so more books and the DVD's we have watched are now going to Ning Hai. Once in a great while you do get to see how you may have touched another person's life.

Off to Amazon for more books, biggest extravagance here.

A Change of Seasons

I love it when the seasons change. The air has a crisp feel, there are bonfires dotting the landscape. People wear cozy sweaters and scarves. And when it hits the 60's here in China, the furs come out. Fur everywhere including boots.

At home it would cider and pumpkin everything. Here in China we also have seasonal foods.

 And you thought these little buggers were only good for making silk.

And ta-da the long awaited Spicy Dog Meat.

All these delectable delights with background music, the Chinese version of Karma Chameleon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Short Update

Big Daddy's boss was told not to return to work for 7 days, he is in a soft cast and any jostle could cause the probably sewn up right tendons to be broken again. Gotta wonder if he will go for the time off or chance no use of his hand in the future. He is an odd duck, so who knows.

Going back to Ning Hai tomorrow to finish the job with the Frenchy. 2 co-horts are also going and BD has informed everyone he is not their teacher, coach, manager, mentor, trainer or ass wiper. This should be fun.

BD had a huge interview last night and has noted that now that he has the global creds everyone asks the same questions. How do you find it working with the French/Germans? And they both think the other is the hard to deal with personality.

I remember when I worked with them they had one thing in common: denial. Once the Germans had the worst quality record in the world and no one could understand as they only had 1 problem. When I investigated they had responded, in writing for 18 months, that they had no problem. The French just answered once, verbally, that they had no seen no problems and ignored the situation. They did not seem to admire each other, but they both really disliked us, the ugly Americans. Especially when we fixed the problems, go figure.

Off to pack and attempt pretty, or at least semi-superstar status, I have a rep to maintain.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Things I learned in China this week

Where to begin? Astounding or automobiles? Astounding wins.

The cost of emergency tendon surgery (right hand/wrist area) and 2 day stay in the hospital in Ning Bo is 4500 RMB, this included his meds to take home. Around 600 USD. Don't get excited, it was Big Daddy's boss. The reasons they can keep the cost so low is so simple. Number 1, they only use local anesthetics. This is the second time we have heard of this. The first was a friend with kidney surgery.  Number 2, they have no food or water available for anyone. This was confirmed by all the patients in their personal pajamas and casts walking out to the street to buy the food and water. You want personal attention, you hire someone to stay with you. This is the person that buys your food and water if you are not able to stumble to the street. Besides the meds the instructions were to eat pigeon soup and do not eat any oranges.

I scared another toddler. When we were all smashed into the elevator at the hospital all the Chinese peeps were laughing at the hysterical child. Child was pointing at me and shrieking. Our driver confirmed it was me that scared the little darling. It has got to be the light blond hair, a color never seen on the Chinese head no matter how much bleach they use. Although I did notice some people are giving up the orange tresses for bright grape.

Our train tickets were messed up (clerk kept making mistakes and reprinting and BD was so flummoxed he forgot to check the dates on the final tickets) and we had to seek alternate transportation home. One supplier in Ning Hai drove us to the hospital in Ning Bo where a different supplier drove all of us on to Shanghai. We drove over the longest bridge in the world, a fact disputed by Louisiana. It must have been low tide because the bay looked like mud flats to me. There were huge boats that looked abandoned in the mud. But it was really foggy there so who knows. 

The China Daily had an article today on how clean and safe the taxis are and how inspection is rigorously enforced. The taxi to the train station lacked bolts in front passenger seat, I know this as I bumped back and forth the entire ride. The taxi to the other train station had no lock to secure the trunk lid. This was only a problem if the unsecured can of gasoline had fallen out. I did not know any of this until we reached the train station. Oh, and we could not get a foppia as the machine thingy did not work. I think I need a chat with the hotel on their taxi fellows.

The Toyota Sienna, our second ride, was a huge disappoint. The interior fits and finishes were pitiful, V-gaps, bad parting lines, trim to headliner gaps. At 110 kpm's the IP exhibited an annoying BSR, it seemed to come from the center stack. At 140 kpm the shimmy from drive train made it feel as if we were going to launch sideways at any moment.  Also minimal storage, I swear the Jeep Commander had more room.

By the way, still cannot get the movie, The Help. We got SJP's new movie, "Don't Know How She Does It" (should have been a Lifetime Channel movie of the week) Hangover part 2, Midnight in Paris, and Horrible Bosses. Need to go back to see Mr. Woody.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Oktoberfest for us

The price of this faux German extravagranza is a whopping 45 USD per person for who the fuck knows what type of phony German type shit. Our sponser is chest high in alligators and assholes and cannot fund this trip into the fantasy world and so I am voting no.

I do not like taking advantage of the supplier and Big Daddy never has abused his peeps. BD will go out with them if the situation is not much money and BD gets the supplier out of the dormitory and a decent meal.

I don't drink beer and BD does not drink. The tables are so damn skinny I cannot see a Stein of beer and a plate fitting in front of you. The staff is wearing black and white outfits that somewhat resemble lederhosen from a George Lucas film in the 80's.

Nuh, nope, nada, this is not happening.

Now how to explain to the Chinese that the German festival is too expensive to the Americans. Have to think this one over a bit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tea Time

Just a snack to hold us until dinner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chinese Wedding

Check out the necklace.

Normally I would call costume on the necklace but after seeing the cars in the parking lot I am thinking real. These were some expensive ass cars.

The Brides ride

Couple of rides for the Peeps

Oh yea, this one costs a few bucks here,

And the winner is, the WTF car.

Big Daddy tells me the business owners all have great cars, guess so.

Monday, October 17, 2011


We are on our way to the train station this morning, bound for Ning Hai and German beer.

I will let you know how that works out.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shanghai Surprise

Another view of Lake St. Clair

The surprise is the trip went very well.

The last minute packing and organizing was no problem with my faux computer bag, aka Trader Joe's insulated zippered grocery bag. It was the cheapest option for carry-on luggage that I could handle and put in the overhead. It is hell being a short person.

Big Daddy told me of his fiasco checking in, so I just went to the curb side check-in and this big black woman tried to help me and told me that I could not check-in there. She gathered my bags and took me to Miss Nancy and got me all taken care of. And she told me George Clooney is a hunk in real life and a really nice person. The movie, Up In The Air, used DTW for filming. The Sky Club or whatever they call it these days was full to the gills, I have never seen so many people crammed into so little space. I was lucky to get a seat. And the flight attendants were fairly good, not great but not nasty.

We flew well into Russia and the terrain was fascinating, looked like frozen flat tundra with frozen flat rivers cracking into the ground. One thing I appreciate from all my travels is seeing places I never dreamed of being able to see. The Alps, Russia and Great Britain from the air, driving in Mexico and walking in Asia. It is daunting to think I have these memories and there are people in Detroit that have never seen a farm or a forest or a beach.

Of course baggage claim was the usual cluster fuck and this time led by the Europeans. I think they decided to take on the Chinese for rude and obnoxious behavior. However they do understand when you call them out for being an imbecile. They don't care, but they do know that you know. They also feel the pain of the odd baggage hitting their shins. I was blocked in by 2 Asians not allowing me to pull my bag to the cart and a big black man speaking English dove in to help me out. Contact sport finals, me no contact, them 3 shins and 4 feet.

Scary part, I actually feel that I am home. Home is where the heart is, Big Daddy is here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Winding up the visit

My view

Everyday for over 10 years this was part of my view back and forth to work. If you saw the movie Gran Torino the shot at the end with the drive past Lake St. Clair, that was my drive. I told myself every day, you better enjoy this because it is not forever. How right I was. That is a mom and her kids probably watching for freighters.

As you can see Punkin Head's camera works fine.

Went to the Dentist for cleaning and final check and I am good to go.

I sent in the paperwork to renew my Driver's License, I am blessed, renew by mail. Gotta love it. And it came while I was home.

I am pissed though, I have received 2 checks from medical facilities I have not used in some time. These are the people that hounded and threathened us when we both were unemployed about paying our bills in a timely manner and now they are mailing me checks with no explanation. I call rat fuckers on them.

Starting to pack tonight and plan the last round of chores for tomorrow.

Dropped off my prescriptions for Zpak and amocicillian? so I have emergency meds.

Off to do laundry.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Tooth Fairy

I have a brand new tooth. No more metal, no more space, and it is a regular size tooth. Which to me is quite amazing as I never had a regular size tooth in that spot. I was born without permanent teeth in two spots right across from each other. I still have a baby tooth on the left, but this right one abscessed and was pulled when I was about 19. After finding a decent dentist and getting everything repaired with new crowns, he suggested we fill the hole/space with a tooth.

So we put the tooth in this morning. It was not pleasant. Dr. Dentist told me no one else has ever had pain. Then when he showed me the tooth implanted he explained the blood was from the 4 slits in my gums so they could regrow around the implant. WTF. Ever bite your tongue or burn the roof of your mouth with pizza? It hurts a bit. Slicing my gums is bound to cause some pain and I am the only person ever to notice this?

Punkin Head found his old camera and charger so I am back in business as soon as I figure out how to use it. Went shopping and to lunch with The Lady and spent way to much money to look good in China. I found it shocking that everyone including Aldo is copying Toms shoes. Those shoes are quirky and support charity for kids with no shoes and people are buying the copies? They should be shot and sent to Africa with no shoes. Asshats.

Can't watch Chaz and Cher on Dancing With The Stars as Detroit is taking over the channel to broadcast the Lions on Monday Night Football. Feel kinda funny about this. Yes, they are undefeated, but it is early in the season and I am a long time Lions fan. Whenever the Lions get cocky they get their ass handed back to them. This could be embarrassing. I prefer the low key way Michigan just did the job and are also undefeated and back in the polls. Michigan v/s Michigan State would be the game to watch. I will be back in China.

Go Lions.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It starts again

This is me a few years ago trying to decide just what I had gotten myself into.

Big Daddy got home to China just fine. Had to fight his way off the elevator as the majority of riders got on the down elevator when they wanted to go up, and did not want to let BD off. He did something with some one's computer bag and there was some climbing, but it all turned out just fine.

We still have an apartment and maybe a plant. The ayi's went crazy with decorating, you know how to style the ashtrays.

Funny of the day: Big Daddy had a taxi driver in ESL classes and the entire ride to the apartment he repeated the following: Good Morning, How are you doing, Good, Thank You, Knee How, (hee hee hee), Thank you.  I asked BD how often did he repeat this, it was constant with the only respite occurring when he lighted a smoke. Heeheehee.

New scandal is the roads are now falling apart days after opening to traffic. Whew. Good that the smell is off the subway scandel and the trains falling off the tracks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

There is no picture

That is because the camera is broken. This is the camera that was my Mother's Day present many moons ago. The one that I did not want, need, or ask for. Big Daddy loved it. He played with it for hours and days and weeks. The one time I actually needed a camera at work he pouted when I asked where I could find it.

BD had new glasses made on Monday and it only took 3 hours for progressive lens. And he bargained 100 bucks off the magic flexible frames. We ate at some great restaurants, saw the ocean, and walked for miles. We also did the tacky ghost tour and I must say the ghosts seemed to be on vacation.

Gotta give a rave to Hertz, the navigation system in the car was great. And returning to the airport you just program it to go home, hit the airport and no problems. Loved it. Delta upgraded us on both flights and life was good.

Gotta get ready for lunch. Later.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The oldest city in America

View from lunch at OC Whites

I am sick, head cold. Something happened to my left ear on final descent into Jacksonville, so when I blow my nose my ear crackles and gurgles and whistles.

Big Daddy bought me a tube of Nose Better because my nose is raw. It feels like pouring alcohol on raw flesh when I put it on. The burning and running around in a circles fades in about 15 minutes.

Big Daddy's glasses fell apart in the only way that duct tape will not work. He is walking around with out- of-date prescription sunglasses. He looks like a middle aged drug dealer.

So the blind, deaf, and dumb are vacationing in sunny Florida.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weakly Wrap-up

Hello, I am weakly and I am wrapped up in anything I can find. It is BRR cold here in Michigan. You go from high 80's to low 40's in a week and yep, you think it is damn cold. Thank goodness we got one of the furnaces working and have the fireplaces. Sunday we go to Florida so I can't bitch too much.

The sign in the neighbors yard has a funky type cartoon animal with a stage name and it says welcome to the elementary school. Trying to get my arms around this one. In the 20 years I have lived here I have never seen such a thing. Did my tax dollars pay for this? If it is an advertising scheme to go to public school, why only print it on one side. Perhaps this is the last child left in this area going to elementary school. Everyone moved out that could. But then would not home schooling be cheaper for us. Or maybe use the senior citizens center? I might need to call the school on this one.

Being home is fun, an employee of the county received 200 grand for resigning and taking another position in the county, she is now running the airport. People are kinda upset. Her old boss said, WTF the last guy got a better deal to resign. If we move back I need to look into getting a job with the government.

Speaking of government work, I was saddened to hear about the crash of Line 10 subway service in Shanghai. Last I heard 500 injured. China Daily said it was near Yu An Gardens, a huge tourist site. Once again it looks like they shut down the safety's rather than fix the damn systems.

Thanks to Big Daddy for improvising on the grilled shrimp, too windy for outdoor cooking. They were fabulous. And thanks to Punkin Head for the Vouvray. And thanks to The Lady for the flowers and the Champagne vinegar. You guys are the best.