When the bus dropped us off, we walked to the restaurant down an alley and a weird sidewalk, up-heaved and not finished, or maybe under construction. We entered a shopping mall and took the escalator to the second floor. The women wanted to look around and shop. We hadn’t been in a Chinese mall yet. Again, no time. I didn’t care about actual shopping, but I wanted to compare a mall in the east to what we knew at home. From our rushed escort, I’d say they are comparable.
Our heads swiveled as if at a tennis match, but Robert whisked the English 8 into the most upscale restaurant we’d been to so far. All the restaurants thus far wouldn’t be mistaken for anything by Chinese. Excepting the staff, we might have been anywhere in the world. Our table, tucked in a quiet corner with no other patrons around, put the idea into my head that we’d been bad. (small joke)
Asked for our preference, our glasses were blessed with a splash—my guess—an ounce of wine. (Proof positive: Don’t do this at home, kids. Today I ran a test. I measured an ounce of water and poured it into a similar glass. I was right. Sometimes I amaze me.)
- thin beef slices
- salad (didn’t write what kind)
As expert as a surgeon
The opened bottle waited on the sideboard. What a group we are. No-one jumped to order. All meals and tips were inclusive but not the extra wine. At least when you buy a bottle of wine in a grocery store or liquor outlet, you can haggle over the price. You don’t ask the price of wine in a restaurant and then decide not to order. Right? Was it good? It wasn’t memorable.
The duck was presented and carved. An expert carver, every cut precise. Yes, we all tasted it, but no-one liked it and what an embarrassment to leave so much uneaten. Okay, I’ll tell you why: it was dry and tough. My apologies to the chef.
- Beef and onion + red and green peppers for color
- Sweet and Sour chicken (familiar, almost like home)
- French fries and shrimp (yes, together)
- Chinese cucumbers (the tiny ones)
- Chicken and tomatoes
- Soup (made no notation re kind)
- Pulled duck meat and onions
- Something like a tortilla for the duck meat
Wouldn’t you know, the one night we had an early evening, we ended up in a traffic jam, but not for long. My feet were killing me but felt better than the previous day. These new shoes I bought for mega bucks were comfortable but my feet perspired like fish in a steamer.
I needed bandages for the blisters. Couldn’t find the ones I KNOW I packed. Lucky for me we had a drugstore next to the small variety store on one side of the hotel. What an experience. Neither the druggist nor the cashier spoke English. Pantomime, hand signals and short of removing my shoes, we finally found regular bandages. I shook my head a lot and the druggist showed me a roll of gauze suitable for a bullet wound to the chest.
On my way back to the hotel I slipped into the variety store and for $3:00 U.S. bought a large can of Chinese beer. You know, to celebrate the bandages and yes, it hit the spot.
CCTV station in the background. Looks like a pair of pants.
Some Quick FACTS about WORK:
- Average salary $1,000 per month in major cities / less in smaller ones
- White collar workers $1,700 per month
- Working for government, same salary but allows discounts for detergents, soap, condos,
- Working for government has good healthcare and other benefits even if salary low
- Late to work once, maybe twice, 3rd time you’re fired
- Unemployment rate 4 – 5%
- 70% of companies are privately owned
- Big imbalance between the rich and poor
- Lots of floating population from rural areas and outside the city try to move to Beijing
- Both parents must work
- Grandparents live close by and look after child while parents at work
NO matter how many young children we came across—not hordes—not once did any one of them flip out, scream, cry, cause any kind of fuss. How does that work here? As well, lots of grandfathers and young fathers interact with the young child. By far, most of the children have been boys.
- Babysitter for newborn good paying / competitive job = $1,500 / month
- Rather hire grandma / grandparents who live close to help with childcare
- Maternity leave is 6 months with pay
- Second child penalty 60,000 Yuan ($10,000)
- Twins or triplets are considered one pregnancy and not penalized
Next on August 7, Luoyang, Day 1, Part 1: Domestic Flight
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