Steve's China Blog

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shopping, eating, and shopping

On Friday night I went to Wanda Plaza and did a little shopping. I had to buy a new electric shaver, since my old one was dying. There were sparks coming out of the cord and a little smoke from the motor, so I really needed to get a new one. I also bought a new space heater for my bedroom. It's pretty nice and has a remote, so I can wake up in the morning and turn it on before actually getting out of bed.

On Saturday I went to lunch with Jessie to a little restaurant she found called Symphony, or something like that. It's billed as a French restaurant, but was more like an European restaurant. It was actually quite good! We started with a small dish that was sort of like Shepard's Pie with some cheese added on top. Then we had soup and a small salad. We ordered two entrees... roast chicken with herbs and seafood covered in cheese. They were both excellent. For dessert Jessie had the passion fruit mousse and I had some chocolate cheese cake. Yum yum!

It seems Saturday was a good day to eat a lot. That evening Reese and her family invited me out for hotpot. We went to a different place this time, and the pot that we cook in there was made of stone instead of the normal metal ones. I could not really taste the difference. We had sliced beef, sliced lamb, pork meatballs, fish, some little cigarette-shaped dumplings, small eggs (quail or pheasant... not sure which), pig's blood (gelatinous-like cubes), mushrooms, potatoes, and lotus root. It was very good but I ate too much as I usually do when I eat hotpot.

On Sunday I did a lot of laundry and played around on the computer during the day. In the evening I went to dinner with Sophia at noodle restaurant in Wanda Plaza. After dinner we did a little shopping at Ito Yokado. Sophia looked at boots and I bought a new iPhone 3GS. I didn't mess with the new phone when I got home since it was kind of late and I wanted to read the manual before playing around with it. Yeah, I'm one of those manual reading types of people.

The next day I read about how the iPhone works online, but when I tried to get it working I ran into some problems. Nothing's ever easy here. The iPhones purchased here in China are locked to China Unicom, and my phone account is with China Mobile. In order to unlock the iPhone I had to borrow a China Unicom sim chip from a friend and put that into my iPhone. When I hooked it up to my laptop and started ITunes then it was unlocked, so then I could take out the China Unicom sim chip and put in my China Mobile sim chip and continue with the registration process.

Now I need to get in touch with China Mobile and get the internet on my account turned on. I think I will wait until I get back from vacation in January to do that. Oh, I forgot to mention... I am going back to the U.S. for Christmas and New Years. It will be the first time in 5 years that I've been back there for Christmas and I am looking forward to going.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chilly suddenly

Last Tuesday the weather was very pleasant. The temperature was in the low to mid 60's, and there wasn't any wind. On Wednesday though the temperature dropped suddenly and it got windy. The last few days have been in the low 40's with wind and sometimes rain. It seems to have caught us all unprepared. I think it will warm up a little at the end of this week though.

We have a new person on our team here at work from Thailand. He's a having a very rough time with the cold weather, since he's never been in cold weather before. He didn't even know what a humidifier was. Now he had to go buy a heater for his apartment, coat, sweaters, etc... Luckily he is already use to spicy food.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday USMC!

The 10th of November is the birthday for the U.S. Marine Corps. There are six marines here in Chengdu who provide security for the consulate here, and on Saturday night they had a party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel to celebrate.

Nice ice statue

I asked my friend Jessie to go with me and she was nice enough to accept. We spent Saturday afternoon running around getting our clothes, and Jessie's makeup and hair done. She looked great!

Jessie and I all dressed up

There was about 150 people total who attended the party. Most people were Americans, but there was a few Chinese, a few Australians, and a few Brits.

Cocktail hour outside the ballroom

We both had a good time meeting new people, as well as people I had known previously. We also met someone named Rachel. Jessie doesn't usually meet many women taller than herself, so she had to get a picture with her...

Jessie and Rachel

After the cocktail meet and greet, we went into the ballroom and watched the ceremonies. The started with some of the marines presenting the colors...

Start of the ceremonies

After that the person in charge at the consulate give birthday wishes to the Marine Corps from the State Department. Then they showed a video from the head of the Marine Corps wishing the marines a happy birthday, and showed a bit about what the marines are all about. After that the guest of honor talked about his 17 years in marines. By the time he was finished we were all ready for dinner.

Dinner table centerpiece

We had salad...

Nice salad. Jessie is good at taking pictures of food

... and soup...

Minestrone soup with pesto

Jessie had the stuffed chicken...

Jessie's chicken entree

...and I had the beef tenderloin...

My steak

For dessert there was a dessert buffet...

A small part of the dessert buffet

...and someone making Bananas Foster. The kids loved that...

Flame on!

After dinner there was some dancing and more socializing...

After dinner dancing

It was a rather enjoyable evening, and it was nice to spend the evening in such an American way.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Halloween Party

Saturday was Halloween, and I hadn't really planned to do anything or go anywhere. I was talking with my friend Reese about going out to dinner on Saturday night when I remembered that there was going to be a Halloween party at Hooters. We decided to meet there that evening; and Reese would bring her boyfriend, her sister Rena, and their mother. Their mother had never been to an American restaurant before, and none of them had been to a Halloween party before.

I knew that the waitresses there would be wearing costumes, but I was surprised how good they were and I was surprised that so many customers dressed up in costume. Here's a few pictures...

Welcome to Hooters!

Nice chains

Here kitty, kitty!

Me with the lovely witch Ivy

A nice variety of costumes

The four riders of the apocalypse take a break

A new Hooters girl? I hope not

Time to dance!

For entertainment the waitresses put together a cool little dance. It started with the girls lying on the floor like they were dead...

Arise my pretties!

Then they came to life and did a Chinese style fan dance...

Lovely fan dance

Then it turned into a really sexy modern dance...

Go girls, go!

It was a lot of fun. There was also a beer drinking contest...

They have to drink from hats?

Heck with the hat. Gimme the glass!

...and they also had a limbo dance contest...

How low can you go?

It was all a lot of fun, and my guests had a great time too.

Nicole, myself, and Cici

The Manchus grab Tina!