Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Facebook Posts" from my Trip -- Part I

12/24
I got on the boat and they were piping Christmas music over the PA in our rooms. Seriously?

12/24
Spent several hours talking to and being entertained by the entire Taekwondo Dept. of a university that was on a 4 day trip to China. They were very physical with each other in the way that I'm most comfortable with after my years in martial arts. Also one demonstrated a 720 degree kick. Seriously. #koreaisthebest #martialarts #slowboattoChina

Boat Cabin

Crazy bad air quality along the Qingdao waterfront

12/25
Of course the chainsmoker from the waiting room that I yelled at as he lit up his third cigarette is in the same train carriage. We laughed about it. #cigarettesmokeismyenemy

12/25
Someone has to teach Chinese women that you can't wear tights with a control top or a double seam up both sides of the buttocks (like long underwear) with skirts short enough to expose that control top or double seam.

12/25
Riding a Chinese train is like an endurance race, at least for me. The PA system blasts ads and music of questionable musical value and at least 3xs in 10 minutes I have to go close the door to the gap between carraiges where everyone is smoking, non-stop. No one turns off the alerts or often the button noises on their cell phones, and everyone is playing with their phones. The guy next to me is drinking baiju (which stinks, in addition to me worrying how he'll act if he finishes that bottle). At least, at the moment, no one is eating chicken feet (this is worse than just the visual of people snacking on chicken feet b/c it includes spitting bits out that you don't want to eat). #cigarettesmokeismyenemy #only30hoursonthetrain

12/25
I have made friends with at least 20 people in the car, and now there are others that will close the carriage door. #noonelovessecondhandsmoke

12/26
A good point for being back in China-- hawthorn juice. And hawthorn dried fruit disks.
The unending boredom of a long train journey

12/26
Going across half of China all flat and boring and covered with dust is worse than driving through California's central valley, then you get to Gansu and the hills are such a huge relief. Still colorless, though.

12/26
Sad to see my Tianshui friends get off the train. I really liked one of them enough that I'd exchange email, except then I'd have to read and answer email in Chinese...  #atleasticanspeak

12/26
Requisite discussion of Chinese politics and differential growth of GDP in different parts of the country. Check. #atleasticanspeak

12/27
Lips still tingling from the MSG quotient in the breakfast friend potato and carrot roll-up that Zhijian brought me. Great to have friends that will meet me at the train station (heck, book me the ticket!), take me to dinner, put me up in their empty house (they're living at Gao Fang's parents house), and then take me to bus station in the morning. #lanzhouuniversity
Favorite Chinese Food? Fried Peppers.

12/27
Planned to go to Xiahe, but the first bus was at 9, it was 6:30, and I was cold. Got on the bus to Hezuo. Asked a random stranger to call Jabu at 9:30, his wife, Gunggaotso, was at the station when I got off the bus at 10:15 #kindnessofstrangers #family

12/27
Cloth covers on toilet seats are scary, especially when there is a potty training boy in the house. #getoverit #atleastthereisatoilet

12/27
Note to self--climbing a 9 story temple building doing circuits of each floor to bow to important figures (and offer small change) in sock feet when it's around 20F in a totally unheated building is quite uncomfortable. Upside--I've wanted to climb that hall since I first saw it in 2001.

12/27
Aeropress coffee is too strong for everyone. Upside, I might not run out of coffee. #aeropressforlife #bestcoffeeever

12/27
Went to the internet game room and with much waiting got gmial to open. almost marinated in smoke just to send a quick "everything is fine" email on a disgusting, sticky keyboard. #cigarettesaretheenemy

12/27
Three people chewing gum with their mouths open while watching TV makes more noise than  you'd think. #dealwithityouaretheguest

12/27
For Jabu's son I am 'Ani Cece' -- not sure how I feel about this. At least I'm not Karjam, imagine what his name becomes... yes, you're right, Kaka.

12/28
When I woke up Dechen Yedong was still sleeping, so I just left the room quietly. When she got up and I went back in the room she had perfectly folded and put away her blankets. #shownupbyablindteenager

12/28
Last night Gongwher, the hottest of Karjam's 28 first cousins (and of course the hottest of the 8 double first cousins) showed up. In the six years since I last saw him he has, if anything, gotten sexier. Full scale Tibetan, right down to the dagger with a 15 inch blade hanging off his belt. #familyhotties #tibetanmenarethemostmacho

12/28
Electronic beeps, etc, drive me up the wall. But Dechen Yedong is constantly having her phone make noises (such as speaking numbers). Trying to understand but it's CONSTANT. #blindteenager #teenagersandcellphones

12/28
We went out for lunch. Hezou is turning into a small Chinese city, complete with Chinese flags on every light post. On the other hand, the electricity went out. Not very happily this happened while I was in a dark bathroom stall with the door locked. Also it wasn't back on before we had to climb to the 12th floor.

12/28
Note to Chinese engineers- so nice that you put the yellow special strip for blind people in the sidewalk. Not so great that you place it so that any blind person using it on their own would be hit in the head by a whole row of trees. Amazing the things I notice with Dechen Yedong next to me, but never noticed before. This is probably hugely common.

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