Steve's China Blog

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Gym, shopping, and lies

Spent most of last week catching up on work and trying to get my sleep schedule to some normalacy. Yesterday I went to a gym here, and I am not as sore today as I thought I would be. Our company has a pretty good deal worked out with this fitness club... we get to do aerobics, use the weight room, and pool on Saturday mornings for only 10RMB (about $1.25). After going to the gym I had lunch with some co-workers and then went shopping for sunglasses since I lost mine the week before. The prices here for name brand sunglasses is higher than back in the States, but that might be because the demand is lower. Nearby the mall where the fitness club is there was a grand opening of a new store going on with fireworks, bands, dancers and martial arts demonstrations. They tend to do this a lot when a new place opens.

I have also heard that they're getting ready to celebrate the anniversary of the Korean conflict here, or as they call it... the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (or the War Against US Agression, for short). I am not sure if they are celebrating the end of the war or when China entered it. Of course, they do not teach the truth about the conflict... that it was communist North Korean aggression against South Korea, and that the US responded (along with 16 other UN nations) to help defend South Korea. It is kind of sad that so many people can be lied to about somethings for so long and so many believe. Luckily, with better access to information (such as through the internet) more and more people are able to discover the truth about things and do not have to depend on an education system or media that is controlled by a single party.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Back in Dalian

Made it back to Dalian Thursday night after 26 hours on various aircrafts and I am a little bit tired, but not as jet-lagged as I thought I would be. My flight was from Tampa to Chicago, Chicago to Beijing, and Beijing to Dalian. I was hoping to bring some of the Tampa weather with me, but I think I brought the Chicago weather with me instead. Dalian was having pleasant weather until Thursday night, but now it's cold and windy. Sorry, Dalian.

The bad part is that the heat is not turned on yet. Yep, the government controls when the heat is turned off and on in most places here! Can you believe that? The governement has decided that the heat can be turned on in mid-November. I am not sure why they chose that date. I have a small space heater that helps some, but my dekstop computer creates more heat than it does. Hopefully they'll turn the heat on earlier since I heard the heat radiators in my apartment filling up with water this morning.

Last night I went out to dinner with some co-workers to a restaurant I had not been too before. The one nice thing about the colder weather... places start serving hot-pot again! Yummmm!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tourist traps

It's Monday and I am recovering from a light sunburn. I went running around western Florida this last weekend, and got to see a lot of touristy stuff. I visited some shopping center/pier and some place called the Sunken Gardens. Besides those tourist traps I also visited a few beaches along the gulf coast, and had lunch at JD's down near St. Petersburg. Of course, it was nothing like the JD's in Dalian, but when I saw the sign for it I had to go there to eat! I also got to see a lot of nice yachts sailing around. Sunday was spent recovering from too much sun, watching the Redskins, and trying to study Chinese. I had dinner at the original Hooters restaurant which is in Clearwater. It is pretty much like all of the others.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

End of vacation

A quick recap of my second week of vacation... My parents and I had Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday since I will not be home on Thanksgiving. It was wonderful! On Wednesday I finished my teeth cleaning (ouch). On Friday I went down to Raleigh to visit my brother and my nephew. It was great seeing them again! On Sunday I flew out to Florida.

I am in Tampa now. It's very nice but warmer than I was expecting. I've always liked being somewhere with palm trees, and seeing a flock of flamingos fly by is pretty cool. Most of my time here is going to be spent visiting with our U.S. team members and getting some training from them. I rented a car, but I have not driven it much since my hotel is like a hundred meters from the IBM office here. Maybe this weekend I will drive around and take some pictures.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ren Fest and Redskins

This Saturday I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival with a bunch of friends. The Ren Fest seems to be getting more and more popular each year, and it was very crowded on Saturday. I spent most of the day at the White Hart Tavern watching the bands that play there, watching the people, and talking with friends. I don't know why, but the Ren Fest just didn't seem that exciting this year. Perhaps it was because it was so crowded, or I was so tired, or maybe it was because I have been going to the faire for the last 17 or 18 years. Anyways, It was a fun, dusty, and tiring day. On Sunday I watched the Redskins beat the Seahawks in football, and the rest the day I spent relaxing and being lazy.

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