Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving in China

  • When I left Taiwan, it was raining. It was raining in Hong Kong. It was still raining after all the flight delays when we finally arrived in Shanghai. When I saw a weather report yesterday, it said it was raining until Monday all over China. Well, rain, and if it was cold enough, then snow.

  • I spent the first couple of days in Suzhou Industrial Park where dad lives and works. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at a day spa getting a facial and a back scrub/rub. I paid 78rmb for the back scrub/rub. 1 dollar is approx 7.7 something or other rmb. You do the math. They started on my back, then flipped me over for my facial. I spent about 2.5 hours there. Something's gotta be said for the cheap labor here.

  • I don't often get motion sick. Once was on a boat. The rest are when I go downhill in a vehicle really quickly. So, roller coasters are out of the question for me. I did start feeling queasy today after about 30 min in the car. Dad and I were hunting for this building that sold pearls and gems. My usual car riding philosophy here is, "I'll close my eyes and sleep. If I can't sleep, I'll pray...even though I don't believe in religion and have issues with god (or that general concept)."

  • The drive from Shanghai to Suzhou took a while. There was a section of the drive where we sat in the back and I believe we all shared the same thought, "What is the driver doing? Why is he breaking unnecessarily? Is he sleepy?"

  • More driving comments. There are no driving laws here. Well, there are, but no one follows them. People tend to weave between lanes...kinda like how in the US, the police and driver's ed people warn you to stay away from the cars weaving between lanes cuz the driver is probably drunk. But the people here aren't drunk. Drivers share the road with people on bikes and motorcycles and pedestrians, and tricycle thingys with a car shell over it. There was also this bus driver this morning. He was unnecessarily honking the horn and weaving between lanes and cars. Then we went to a 2 lane road with a wide shoulder and he was driving 3 lanes and continuing with the honking. I wanted to put on some steel toed boots and drag the guy out and kick him a few times in the head.

  • Dad and I finally managed to find the pearl and gem place. Chinese sales people scare me. We were 2 of maybe 10 customers walking through this huge mall like building and the set up was that there were stores around the interior perimeter and the center of the ground floor were tables set up, reminiscent of the gem and jewelry show. As we approach tables, they start calling out, "Hey Mr, Hey Miss, wanna see some pearls? Comes see our pearls!" They're really scary, at least to me. Oh, and this building looks like a big marble (or pearl) in that they built out one side in a glass dome shape. Unfortunately, no picture.

  • I did buy some dyed and misshapen pearls. I also bought some dyed pearls. Just for reference...A string of regular pearls about 6mm to 8mm, may not be the smoothest, natural colors were selling for 10 to 20 rmb...equivalent to about $1-$2. At the gem and jewelry show, they'd got for $5 and up.

  • I learned something about asking directions. According to dad, people either were not from the region so didn't know the area well or some only had their own 2 feet to get anywhere so weren't really familiar with the area outside of their daily lives. I was most amused when we were leaving and dad asked a woman the best way to get back to Suzhou. Her first answer was "Go south" and that was it. Well, no shit. We made her elaborate.

  • No pictures yet, we'll try again in Manila. The upload speed is way slow and I am missing my fiber connection. The initial Taiwan pics were taken at a res of 640x480 and so were smaller in size. I've moved up to taking 1600x1200 pics (now that I have the 2gb card) and the file sizes are a bit bigger.

  • Suzhou Industrial Park - it has improved and grown a lot since I was there 2 years ago. I saw dad's factory. 2 years ago, there was no factory. It has since been built and is HUGE! Well, they do manufacturing so it does have to be big. Various companies have set up shop there. The industrial park was originally a joint venture between Singapore and China. It is 20 sq. km. Seriously, HUGE!

I'm currently in Shanghai for the weekend to wander and do some shopping. Sunday, I head for Manila.


knitfriendly said...

Wow - what an update! I am glad to hear that you had a nice time with your Dad. I am looking forward to your show and tell! :)

Patricia said...

Ya, mark up is usually 100%-200% or so, so it makes sense that your paying about half or a third of what you pay at the G&J show.