Steve's China Blog

Monday, March 27, 2006

A hill and a bath

Saturday I joined a bunch of co-workers to go on a hiking trip up a little mountain outside of town called DaHeiShan (Big black mountain?). It's been a long time since I've been hiking and this was not as easy as it first looked. The route we took was very steep in some places and the weather was windier and colder than anyone thought it was going to be that day. Even though everyone got bruised, scraped, cut, and exhausted we were all in a good mood and everyone had fun through most of the hike. Here's a few photos...

Starting out at the bottom of the mountain...



A tough path up...



A stop for a group photo and a rest...



Some of us way off in the distance...



Catching up along a flat part...



Almost to the top...



A temple at the top. This isn't actually an old temple. It's pretty new and was created as a tourist attraction...



Starting the walk down the other side of the mountain. Seems some people decided it was easier to walk backwards...



After the hiking trip a few of us went to a Korean-style bath house in town that evening (sorry... no pictures of this. Hehe). I had not been to one of these before and it was really nice after hiking up and down a windy cold mountain all day. Most of the bath house is divided up between the women's and men's saunas and baths, so when we got there the ladies went off to their area and we went to ours. I spent some time in the wet sauna and in a very large hot tub. That was sooooo relaxing. After awhile of this we put on some pajama-like outfits and went to the restaurant there and joined the ladies for dinner. The restaurant was pretty nice too... we sat at a low table on some soft mats on the floor, and there were a few little bird cages hanging nearby with songbirds. This place had some of the best Korean food I've had here in Dalian.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shopping and dinner

I will not be posting too much for awhile because the next few weeks are going to be pretty busy, since I am trying to get two projects finished up by the end of April. After the May holiday I am starting on a new project that looks like it's going to be interesting. It currently has team members in the U.S. and in India, and I'll be the first person on it working from China.

On Sunday I took a break from work and went shopping with two friends from Japan. They are a lot of fun, and I love spending time with them. We went to a store here called Metro, which is owned by a German company (I think) and is sort of like Costco in the States. I bought a bunch of gear for the kitchen, and they also have an ok selection of western products so I bought a bunch of stuff to make pasta and chili. After shopping we went out to find a place to eat. Our first choice was a little Muslim restaurant near my office that Yukiko and Kaoruko had never been to but wanted to try. We got there kind of late and they were out of food, so we went to a place next door. We had some beef and potato soup, duck, dumplings, and some mixed veggies. It was very good.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Dust, sand and a movie

When I went to work on Friday I was surprised to see a lot of dirt and dust everywhere... more than usual anyways. It looked almost like a light dusting of snow, and the the air was so full of dust that it effected visibilty. I thought that maybe it was caused by construction (which is prevalent everywhere in China), but it was actually caused by a big sandstorm from Mongolia. Dalian usually doesn't get hit by these much, but Beijing usually does at least once a year. Some of my co-workers told me that Beijing is trying to think of a way to reduce the chance of one hitting there during the olympics.

On Saturday the weather turned colder and very windy, and that got rid of most of the dust. I saw some laborers working on the trees in Xinghai Square, so Spring should not be far away (I hope). Saturday night I had dinner and went to see a movie with a friend. We got to the theatre kind of late and we missed the last English showing of the movie she wanted to see, so we decided to watch it in Chinese. My friend was pretty impressed that I could figure out what was going on in the movie with my very limited skill in Chinese. Actually, I had seen the movie before on DVD but she doesn't need to know that. ;)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Women's Day

Today is a holiday here... International Women's Day. Someone told me it's a United Nations holiday. I never knew the U.N. had holidays, let alone any countries that would celebrate them. There are two international holidays that I know are celebrated here... International Women's Day and International Children's Day. For International Women's Day here most of the ladies at work get half the day off and the company gets them all discount coupons for one of the local theatres, so they can all go watch a movie if they want.

I searched through the U.N.'s website, and I finally found information about this holiday. Now I know why they celebrate it here in China and in the U.N., but not in the U.S... (excerpts from U.N. Website):

1909 - In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day was observed across the United States on 28 February.

1910 - The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women's Day, international in character,...

The United Nations celebrating socialist holidays? Hard to imagine, huh?

Friday, March 03, 2006

A year goes by fast

I have not posted much in awhile. This last week has been very busy at work, and I have not been in a very good mood for a few weeks too. Work slowed down a little last night, so I decided to treat myself to a good dinner and went to a German restaurant downtown. A little expensive, but very good. I felt much better afterwards. Tonight I'm suppose to go out to dinner with some co-workers to celebrate our one year anniversaries here at work. My one year date at the company was February 21st, but this is the first chance we have all had to be able to get together and celebrate.

I have also started thinking about what I am going to do after this year. I told my company I would work here for at least two years, so I should think about what I want to do at the end of that time. There are a lot of options... continue to work here for a few more years, get transferred to another location outside of China, take a couple months off and wander around Asia, etc... Luckily I have a lot of time to think about it, and a lot can happen in a year.

Oh, I thought this was funny... if you're looking for an intern position that provides "Hands-on experience" (I'm not kidding... that's what it says!) then you can check out this program.