Thursday, July 5, 2012

China 1

It has been a crazy ace few weeks -- but it's been pretty great.

We're moving to Utah, right.  If you missed that, see this post.  So a couple of weeks ago Tom went to China for the second time in four months.  While he was gone my parents came here to help me pack up some things for them to take back on their trailer.

We drove to Utah on Monday, June 25th and they took Morgan with them to their house.  On Tuesday I looked at houses to rent and picked one on the Thanksgiving Point golf course.  The house isn't bad, but the location and amenities are kind of perfect for us.

At 5pm that day I caught a flight to Seattle then on to Beijing, China to meet up with Tom.  I got there around midnight (the next day) so we just slept until the next morning.

My first full day.  Tom had a meeting at 3pm so we went to The Forbidden City before so I could see some historical Chinese culture.  It was raining that day, which was perfect because there weren't a million people there.

We took a cab from our hotel and I got my first glimpse of Tom in his Chinese mode.  He got mad at the driver because he wouldn't turn on the meter and just wanted to negotiate for the ride.  Finally Tom worked his magic and he turned the meter on but he dropped us off at the exit of The Forbidden City so we had to find another way to the front (about a mile away).  We didn't really have time to walk nor did we want to because it was raining so after trying to negotiate with a bunch of cabbies that wouldn't negotiate (I'm sure because we're American) and me starting to cry from being totally overwhelmed (the move, finding a house, being in a city of 20 million without being able to understand a word or read any signs), we got a ride on a rickshaw. 

We were solicited for a tour but we're really not tour kind of people so we declined (and were followed by the girl for five minutes) and walked around the city by ourselves (I'll just watch a documentary on the city to find out what it's really all about).

Day #2.  Tom worked, I relaxed.  It was a much needed day.  I slept, worked out and read Anne of Green Gables by the pool (in that chair on the right, in fact).  The word to describe the day... zen.

That night we went to dinner with a business acquaintance and to a night market later.  During dinner I was dying trying not to fall asleep.  It reminded me of my mission when I first was transferred to the Spanish program and I couldn't understand a word.  Warm, full, and sleepy.  Not a good combination. 

We got a mini tour of the financial district on our way to the night market.  It was very clean and new looking.  The night market... not so much.  But there was a lot to see and a lot of bartering to be had.   We kept getting approached and touched by beggars exploiting small children.  It was sad but the touching freaked me out.  Don't touch me!

This was the most culturally different thing I saw there.  They are starfish, scorpions, and sea horses on a stick.  The worst is that the scorpions were still moving their legs.  I'm not sure if they are bar-b-qued or just eaten like that.  I wasn't daring enough to try.  

That night we were trying to get a cab to take us home and after about 10 minutes one finally stopped.  Well, another girl and an old lady thought they were there first so we got into a heated debate with the girl.  I didn't say anything at first.  The girl was American but of Chinese descent.  She was arguing with a girl we were with and Tom.  She said they needed it because the lady was old, our girl was saying we needed it because I'm pregnant.  I was like, "just give them the cab."  Let's be honest, old trumps pregnant.  But the girl was being so so so mean that I went up to her and told her that if she would stop being such a not nice person (but I put it a little less innocently) she would know that we were going to give her the cab.  Well, she didn't hear the part about giving her the cab and she started calling me names.  One of them was a "skinny a-- b----."  I'll be honest.  Any time someone calls me skinny, I don't care what comes after.  Total compliment!!!  

That taxi driver actually refused to take any of us and the girl and old lady walked off.  Another cab came and we got a ride to our hotel.  In the end, that driver told our friend that I was elegant and beautiful.  Ah, a night full of compliments.  

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