Inaugural Post in China: Part 2

So I think I covered everything that happened during the trip to China and that very first day we were here. We slept decently well, were obviously exhausted, but it was painfully obvious why my father at one point or another made the comment that Chinese mattresses are bad.

In the morning, Maria managed to find some “bread” and “butter” in the fridge. Read what you’d like into the quotes. We also got some eggs from the maid who helps my grandparents out. Impressively enough, I remembered that there was this park next to my grandparents building. I had gone there as a kid before I left for the United States and wouldn’t you know it, initial inspection via Google maps indicated that it may be a good place for the Maria to run. So we went to inspect further.

From my best guess, the park is called “Jade Park Altar” or something like that. There are walking paths all along the perimeter and bisecting it in a figure eight with a bridge, bridge indicating multiple bodies of water. There were lots of people swimming what looked to be the entire length of the lake, right next to the sign that said “No Swimming.” Same with fishing.

Lunch was taken care of by my grandparents. They’re quite insistent that we eat some meal with them. I don’t think we’ve gotten out of one yet and are even currently committed to lunch with them yet again tomorrow. Although today they did tell a lovely story about my Grand Uncle and his wife. More on that at some point, maybe.

After lunch we thought we’d tackle the Beijing subway, this being my first time ever on it as well, but we figured, subways are subways, how hard can it be. The system is more in line with a cross between the London Tube and NYC than LA. We had decided the night before that we would pay my cousin a visit at his office and at the same time check out the apartment to see if we would be interested in living there. We also got to see the Walmart, and I had lots of fun spotting the foreigners. I wanted to say “hi,” but thought better about it.

Michael (my cousin)’s apartment was quite nice actually. But what I’ve come to realize, though I’ve always sort of known it but had given it very little actual thought due to the temporary nature of my visits to this country, of which this does not count, is that the Chinese bathrooms and kitchens are terribly sub-par. They just don’t feel “clean” to me, no matter how clean I know they are. This can be said about my father’s current apartment, and Michael’s office. My mother had indicated that this may be so, and so had my father; they had said that no matter what, we’d probably have to renovate the bathroom.

So after touring with Michael, we figured on taking the long, scenic way home and started walking in the general direction of South and lo and behold, found a furniture “store,” quotes indicative of the fact that it was more akin to an Ikea but with everything provided by different brands and vendors. We looked specifically at mattresses (see above) and to my general dismay, found that even the most expensive mattress, costing in excess of 7000 dollars, could barely hold a candle to some of the worst mattresses in the US. I’m inclined to just ship one over now.

We also looked at bathroom and kitchen renovation stuff, which surprisingly may cost even less than the crappy “best” mattress.

We continued walking, failed to get Boba from a little corner stall type store that had no English whatsoever, got lost a bit, ended up back on the subway at rush hour no less, got tea when we first exited the subway thinking we could walk back from there, checked out a Coach store, having failed to walk back from there we then got back in the subway, again at rush hour no less, and ended up back where we had originally gotten on in the morning, safe in the knowledge that we knew how to get back.

I wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous enough to attempt trying to order food from a restaurant, so we went back to the super market, bought some instant noodles and beer, bought a “Golden Brick” from the bread bakery next to it, and returned to consume at “home.”

To Maria’s delight, she found out that there was hot water still in the thermos that the maid had brought in that morning; finally, she had leaned how to make tea without use of the microwave. There are also no tea pots, no tea bags, and no tea balls. And there was no thermos today.

Today, we did very little. Lots and lots of research online, including me managing to update my Facebook status. More, or less actually, on this, at some point. We had a lovely lunch again with my grandparents, and basically just arranged for things to happen either tomorrow or over the weekend. So more on that when it happens!


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