Friday, October 01, 2010

Gotcha! Am I getting punk'd?

Well, cockroach population confirmed.  In between my computer desk and fridge, I found a half-eaten cockroach.  The fact that it was half-eaten must mean that other cockroaches are also here somewhere.  The fact that it was dead must mean that my traps are working?  Well, whatever the case, suffice it to say that I doubled down on cockroach poison.  Man, those things give me the willies, even dead.  Tried brushing the roach's carcass into the dustpan with a broom, but it was stuck because its innards had slipped out and glued it to the floor.  I had to prod the thing loose.  Shivered every time my broom swept over it and the antennae shook as if it were still alive.  This one was maybe about 2/3 the size of the previous one, after extrapolating for full body length?

There are several topics I really want to write about, including economic disruption, quality standards, organizational cultures, and future education paradigms.  But I'm so unmotivated, it's the holiday and this heat does a lot to make one groggy.  :)

But at the very least, here's another top-5 list of strange experiences in China.  Am I getting punk'd or what?  Or is this just China?  :)

5.  Tried to negotiate a ride with a guy on a moped.  He wanted 8RMB to take me home from the subway station.  You see, at all the major bus stops and subway stations, there are hordes of these moped guys (especially during rush hour), who try to provide alternative transport to commuters and travelers.  You gotta wonder how much money they make doing this, considering the fuel cost (it's either gasoline or electricity-powered mopeds), and the number of refusals they get.  I hardly see anyone climb aboard a moped.  That makes sense, given that the bus came along shortly after, and I only needed to pay 1.6RMB to get home.  Never mind that, the other night, my co-workers and I went to play soccer.  The soccer field's pretty far away, so we tried to find a taxi.  Freelance drivers are of course waiting during rush hour too.  They wanted 200RMB to drive us to the soccer field.  200??  Maybe I heard wrong, but I swear that's what my co-worker told me.  We found a taxi.  Total cost?  30RMB.

4.  Sorry, your hotel fees are not claimable for your relocation allowance.  Wow, why not?  It's the policy.  But this policy makes no sense!  Where am I supposed to stay when I'm trying to relocate then??  It's the policy, there's nothing I can do.  Sad, but true.  She's only the messenger, no point getting upset at her, especially after she shows me the policy.  :(  Am I glad I switched to a cheaper hotel back then.

3.  There's something strange in the water here.  Or there's something strange in the air.  Whenever I take a shower, more and more residue of SOMETHING gets stuck on my towel after I dry off.  After a few days, the towel can get pretty nasty.  It'll get all brown or grey, and it'll stink like hell.  Maybe there is too much pollution in the air, no idea, but I'm definitely thinking there's something in the water.  For example, when I wash my hands, I can sometimes feel something slimy in the water.  It could just be my imagination, but I don't think so?  Suffice it to say, I'm never drinking water straight from the tap in China.  Never have, never will.  Unless it's been boiled and there's nothing else.  Of course, the scary part is... the clothes washer uses the same water when I do my laundry?  So is my towel getting cleaner or dirtier?  I notice for sure anyway that I have to wash my towels twice before it gets really white and the smell completely disappears.  Or is someone just sneaking into my apartment and dipping my towel into some kind of toxic gunk?

2.  So I'm supposed to be learning Mandarin here, right?  Why do I end up speaking Japanese more with certain co-workers than Mandarin or English?  I am in China, right?  :)

1.  I tried to withdraw some cash yesterday.  I got paid just in the nick of time yesterday, as I literally spent my last 14RMB on dinner last night.  Well, the ATM would only let me withdraw 100RMB.  Why??  At first, I thought there was something wrong with my card, some kind of hold on my paycheque, since I had already deposited a little over 100RMB into the account previously.  Numbers matched up for that scenario.  But no, it turns out the ATM was empty.  Wow.  First time I've ever experienced an empty ATM in my life.  :)  I wonder how long it'll take them to refill it with cash, since today was the start of the week-long public holiday.  Oh yeah, speaking of which, I worked 5 hours today.  Maybe I should just do the same as one of my program managers and just shut off the computer until we come back to work.  But I got two projects in the red zone.  :(


  1. eww with the cockroaches, that's just disgusting! I don't think I can ever live there. I hope they don't lay eggs in your stinky towels. You should use a water filter instead of just boiling your water. The kettle probably needs to be replaced after a while.

  2. Haha, well, only the 1.5 roaches so far... I don't think I have an infestation at all, but I suppose they must be coming from somewhere? Maybe next door. :) Certainly, I'm hardly ever bringing food into the place just to avoid attracting them. It means eating out every day, but food's cheap enough for that. Rough estimates actually say that cooking for myself wouldn't be significantly cheaper.

    I'm totally not boiling water. All my drinking water is store-bought bottled water, thanks. There's no way I'm drinking this stuff. :)