Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sometimes you wake up and smell the roses to only find smog

You know, there are a bunch of cool things in China, like rapid growth, the novelty of living in a different culture, and cheap tasty street food.  But then there are bad things too, of course.  There's still a lot of corruption, poor attention to quality, and horrible humidity.  But some things seemed too good to be true.  Here are some of the letdown moments I've had recently.  I'm not exactly running for the airport, but you just knew that all the roses couldn't last?  :)

5.  Blue sky every day, no pollution, where's all the alleged smog that had me so worried?  Well, a few days ago, the smog came with a vengeance.  The skies were all gray, and you could just feel and smell the pollution in the air.  I don't know why on some days it's really nice, and on other days it's not.  Usually, it's easily ascribed to typhoons.  But this time, there were no typhoons, no storms.  Just a ton of smog.  Maybe there's usually a fair bit of wind that moves all the smog out?  Who knows?  But I made the mistake of opening windows in order to let the cool air in.  Later I realized, I was letting a ton of smog in.  And the smell wouldn't leave for a few days.  Lovely.  And even though the sky was blue today, I feel like the smog is still tangibly there.

4.  I finally bought a cell phone the other day.  It's an LG GD510, a cute little thing.  I don't think it can be called a smartphone, but it has a touchscreen, lets me make calls, text, take photos and video, play music, and add a microSD card.  It also comes with earphones and a solar charger so you can extend battery life.  You just clamp the solar charger onto the phone's back, it doesn't add that much to the phone's thickness; it's still tiny.  Altogether with a Bluetooth ear piece and an 8GB microSD card, it cost 1060RMB, after negotiation.  The kicker?  My co-worker told me that the salesperson said it had been smuggled in from South Korea.  The proof was in the power adapter plug.  It was clearly meant for Korean power outlets, not Chinese power outlets.  Funny, but what a damper.  Now I'm buying smuggled goods.  I promise this was an exception.

3.  We were at this restaurant eating hot pot.  Mother's visiting, and we went with friends because of birthdays.  One of the things we ordered was noodles.  So what happens?  The waiter brings some thick noodles.  Then he starts waving it around.  Oh, cool, it's one of those things where he has to stretch it, that's always fun to watch.  Then he starts... dancing with it!  That's the only way I can explain it.  It was like watching those gymnasts on TV running around waving their ribbons.  After he stretched the noodles to his desired length, he brought them all together and split them into thinner strands.  Then he dropped the whole thing into the pot.  It was amazing.  At the end of the first batch of noodles, we were all applauding.  Then he went onto the second batch.  And at the end, one end smacked into the floor.  Third batch.  Same result.  Fourth batch.  He tried to make up for it by doing some crazy limbo moves (which was admittedly amazing to watch as he stretched out the noodles above him in the air), but that ended up finally hitting the floor as well.  Finally, with the fifth batch, he played it safe and didn't pull off anything amazing.  The feeling at the end was... letdown.  Despite how amazing it had been at first to watch.  :(

2.  It appears that I must also pay for gas separately.  And here I thought that gas was integrated with my strata fees like my water utility fees.  Am I wrong about my water too?  Gee, better not be.

1.  Yogurt in China can make my poop all weird.  I don't know what else to say about that....  Use your imagination at your own risk.

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