Steve's China Blog

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On vacation

I'm now on vacation now for two weeks. I'm not going anywhere though. I was looking at a couple of different options and the last one was a short trip to Cambodia and a few days in Hong Kong. When I finally had time to put it all together though the airfare had gone up a lot; so I decided not to bother with the hassle of reserving flights, reserving hotels, reserving the tour, dealing with the bank, etc... and will just spend the holidays here in ChengDu.

This is actually my first Christmas in China. Here it is not really a religious holiday, but more of a holiday for the kids (which the Chinese like to spoil). I talked with a few of my younger co-workers and friends and asked them if their parents were getting them gifts this year. They said they were not getting gifts this year since they are no longer kids, but a lot of them said they were getting gifts for their parents, which is nice.

I don't have a lot of plans for the holiday. Some friends are talking about going out somewhere for Christmas Eve. Another friend wants to come over to my place and cook Christmas dinner for me. Basically I just want to relax. There are some things I am hoping to do, such as practicing my Chinese and practicing Sichuan cooking. I'm also hoping to do some other things too that have been kind of low on my to-do list the last few months, like buying some things for the apartment, doing some DVD shopping, sleep, etc...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Work, wedding, weekends, and weather

I have not posted much in awhile. My weekdays have been very busy with work and my weekends have been pretty busy too. I have not even had time to figure out yet what I am going to do for the holidays coming up. I looked at some 14 day tours of Laos and Cambodia, but they were all for groups of two or more. I saw this really cool looking tour of India called Palace on Wheels, but they are booked until April. I sent some emails to some travel agents here about a few other places, but I never got any replies back. I'm not sure what I am going to do yet.

Anyways, here are a few things that I have been up to lately... A few weekends ago I went to a wedding, as a guest of my friend Amber. It was a lot of fun.

Father of the bride prepares to walk her down the aisle

Groom (center) and guests wait patiently

Bride and groom make it to the stage while Tina gives the play-by-play

The bride (now wearing red) and the groom visit our table for a happy toast

The weekend after the wedding a few of us took an American friend, who is moving to Shanghai, out to some clubs here. That was fun, but we stayed out too late. On a few Sundays I've gone to have brunch at Hooters... I had the steak and eggs, and watched some college football on Hong Kong ESPN.

Last week was Thanksgiving week and I found a place here that was serving Thanksgiving dinner from Tuesday night through Saturday night. I made some reservations for Saturday night. On Thanksgiving day I just went out for a sandwich, and ran into Shirley and Ocean. They were with Ocean's boss, who is from Scotland and is a pretty funny guy. We had a few beers and chatted for awhile, but I didn't stay out too late since I had to work the next day. Friday I ended up doing some support work all night and only got a few hours of sleep Friday night.

On Saturday I went to have lunch at Reese's apartment. She invited a few friends over and her Mother cooked us a lot of food. It was very good and I ate too much. On Saturday evening I took my friend Tina to the Vera Napoli restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a ham and potato soup, Waldorf salad, turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, corn, and a pumpkin creme pudding. The whole meal was good, but it was not as good as Mom makes. We also had a bottle of Italian red wine that was very good, and then went for a nice walk. I wish we could have stayed out longer, but it was a little chilly out.

It's starting to get cold now in ChengDu. The other night I was chatting with some friends in the US online, and they were talking about how the temperature there was 18 degrees and I was thinking it's only 11 degrees here, and then I realized they meant 18° Fahrenheit and I was thinking Celsius (11° Celsius is about 52° Fahrenheit). Still, it seems cold to us. Today it was suppose to get up to 60° F, but it feels much colder than that.