This has certainly seemed like a short week!
Fortunately, the week has been quieter than last week. There were a few small fires to put out at work, but nothing major. Everything seems to be running reasonably smooth.
The insurance adjuster has submitted his estimate, and my contractor has started to fix some of the stuff like sheetrock. We're waiting on the insurance to get settled before we move forward with everything else.
So, last weekend, in Qingdao, on Saturday, I took it easy, recovering from the hectic week. Bob called and wanted to escape from the hotel for a while, so we went to McDonalds and then to the tool district to check out hand tools and welding machines etc. Afterwards, we went to a very local mall, most of the places we have been too were upscale places, and this is where the every day person would go to get stuff. I think Bob was a little surprised at what he saw. Equally, the locals were surprised to see a Westerner in a place like that. I took a nap Saturday afternoon and ended up skipping the pub crawl, just wasn't feeling up to it.
Sunday, I went to the office in the morning and used their water hose to wash the car, then headed to church. Afterwards, I went to the second hand market to look for more furniture. Unfortunately, the market has oodles and oodles of the same rental grade, sub-college student furniture in 90% of their stalls. Also lots of restaurant equipment, used AC units. I was able to find the same furniture thats in my bedroom and bought a matching nightstand for 100 RMB (16 dollars). This is particle board stuff. I walked more, and found some nice real wood stuff, and picked up an end table for 180 RMB (30 bucks). I had to stop , as my car is a 4 door sedan. I'd have to borrow the Buick minivan from work to get more, but this was plenty for now. Sunday evening, I took my upstairs neighbors out for supper, to show my appreciation for them helping me when I had locked myself out. They're very nice folks and we hit it off good. The husband is a supervising engineer at a Golf Ball manufacturer, and the wife works for a company that makes Kim Chee. They also were able to recommend an acquaintance that has a couch factory in town, so I may be able to take advantage of that soon too! We agreed to continue sharing meals now and then as well as they both enjoy cooking!
I have attached pictures of lunch on Sunday. this street food meal had Tofu Skin, braised beef, soft and hard tofu, mushrooms, rice and a coke, and was $1.62USD, after that I got a haircut and went to the farmers market and bought fruit, as well as the seasons last Lychees (what i"m holding in my hand). Kody likes the lychees (pronounced Lee-Chee) too.
This week, I used my oven to cook a frozen "Pirates of the Caribbean" branded Pizza. It was pretty good, and I'm grateful to have an oven, as most places do NOT here.
On Thursday, I met another expat who had put an ad up for stuff he was selling because he was moving home. I went over to his place, and picked up a Western style King Mattress, a Clothes Steamer, Coffee maker, DVD player with 300 + DVDs, and a LayZBoy recliner! We visited some about expat life in Qingdao, and I mentioned that it felt very discombobulated. He agreed and mentioned that the majority of Expats here are teachers, and tend to form cliques within the school, and it gelled that way at church too. Now I understand better. I did make a good friend with this guy and he has other expat friends that he wants me to meet to bring me into their fold. He also told me about all the other stores that I haven't been to yet, including a place called "Metro Cash & Carry" which is apaprently huge in Europe. Its like Costco or Sams, and has a lot of western products, including (drum roll) CHEESE!!!! Along with other products.
On another positive note, I have figured out how to use Taobao, which is like ebay in China. Its 100% chinese language, but Google Chrome has a translator that automatically translates each page, beleive it or not, I've ordered a bunch of stuff from there already and its arrived successfully to the office! My new expat friend also told me about Amazon china, which has a lot of comforts of home for very reasonable prices. I purchased Grape Nuts, Raisins, SPices, a car wash Mitt, and yes, DORITOS!
This weekend I will hit the gym, give Mr Kody a bath, go to the office and wash the car, and make a trip over to Metro to see what its like. Hoping that I find stuff that gives me the comforts of home there!
The weekly entertainment includes latest season of the British Top Gear, Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares, and now, I'm sifting through the massive collection of DVDs I inherited.
Thats it from my side, I'm hoping my updates aren't too terribly boring, but it seems as things start to get more routine, there seems to be less to report.
I am, however, planning a trip to the hot springs and mud baths, maybe next weekend!
Peace and love