5. They have this sports tournament organized by the company's social club. I don't know if this is a company thing or a China thing. But I've never heard of a company-wide club in North America dedicated to organizing extra-curricular activities for the company's employees. Like they have a volunteer executive committee, a corporate budget, and everything. It's like being in a school club all over again. So I joined up to compete in Men's Singles Tennis, Mixed Doubles Tennis, Men's Singles Table Tennis, Mixed Doubles Table Tennis, Volleyball, and something called Basketball Shooting. Today, I got to play a bit with my doubles partner. Wow, I overestimated her abilities... we have a lot of work ahead of us. I thought she at least knew how service order works... I hope she doesn't read this. ;) But seriously, a corporate-wide club dedicated to year-round extra-curricular activities? Who does that in North America? I do think it's awesome, but I wonder how much time it takes out of the executives who volunteer. Back during my university days, club activities could sometimes be a lot of work and even outweighed studies sometimes.
4. When we go to lunch at any restaurant, everyone pours tea into their cups. But they don't drink the tea. The tea is then used to sanitize every square millimetre of your plate, bowl, and utensils that will potentially touch food. I really didn't think this was such a big issue, so I never followed suit. I mean, yeah, I hear the stories, but my stomach's pretty good with this stuff. It's just weird to see the waitress place a big bowl in the centre of the table for the sole purpose of collecting everyone's tea-dishwater. Then I had dinner with this girl in HR. She scolded me for not following local customs. People in Shenzhen do this for good reason, and if I don't do it too, then I'm not respecting the local customs. If she visited Canada, she would do what people do in Canada for whatever custom, eating or other, so I should likewise follow suit here. Wow. OK, I got it. And another thing. Never argue with a woman. I now wash all my dishes and utensils with tea when I go to restaurants.
3. After playing tennis today after work, I was walking to the bus stop to go home. On the way, I saw a street BBQ stand. Haven't had dinner, so why not? Walk up, start picking things. One of the guys says, "hey wait a second, let us get ready first." They're still laying out veggies and stuff. And then one of the guys starts passing the grill through the flame. It's actually some kind of chicken wire mesh. So I'm thinking, ah, he's sanitizing the grill. That's cool. Well, 30 minutes later (it was a long process, there was a lot of grill, and the guy obviously wanted to be thorough), the guy then puts the grill on the street. And then he starts brushing it with a thick brush. EXCUSE ME?? YOU JUST FINISHED SANITIZING THE DARN THING!!! Then he turns the grill OVER and starts brushing the OTHER SIDE! So both sides touched the street. It dawns on me that he wasn't sanitizing the grill. He was attacking the mesh's paint, chemical treatment, or whatever coating it had to make sure the chemicals didn't smoke into the meat. After he finishes brushing the thing, he puts it on the grill and says, "OK, we're ready!" I suppose a sane person would have run by this point. Me, I was hungry, and I hadn't had proper street BBQ yet in China this time around. So I grabbed three skewers, waited for them to cook, and then went happily on my way munching on beef, lamb, and chicken. For my long wait, I negotiated the price down from 11rmb to 10rmb. Wow.
2. I am doomed to suffer humidity and heat. My electric bill for last month was 410rmb. Friggin expensive. I need to use my A/C less. And that's with barely using my refrigerator at all. The thought of less A/C makes me sad. This is such a disaster that it is worthy of the #2 spot, despite not sounding like much. Well, you guys aren't living in this heat. Walk a mile in my shoes, then weep with me.
1. So people have this week-long national holiday from Oct 1 to 7. How cool is that? Sadly, I'm allowed to be on vacation from Oct 1 to 5. But... a week long NATIONAL holiday? So the country just grinds to a halt or something? Wow. This will be interesting. I'm sure retailers and such will still be open. You can't expect everyone to just stay at home all day. But many people are traveling back to their hometowns to visit families. The airports and train stations will be packed. For a while, every single day when we went to lunch, we'd see a long long lineup of people waiting to buy train tickets from this train ticket shop.