Dehumidifier purchased! (almost)

August 31, 2012

I’m in Xiuning today.  I’m here because the Internet at home isn’t working, despite my unplugging and replugging the router (that solved it the first time, but now does no good).  So here I sit at the fast food restaurant called 有意思 .  That translates to “Interesting.”  I guess it’s an appropriate name… their “steak and eggs” dish certainly does look… interesting.

But as long as I was in town, I decided to go into every electronics store I saw in search of a dehumidifier.  They all told me that they didn’t have any (no surprise), but a few minutes after I left one shop, a lady chased me down the street, saying they actually did have one that they were planning to use at their business, but they’d sell it to me if I wanted it.  Very suspicious.  I said I’d give it a look.

It looked good.  It was new, still in the packaging, a bit smaller and less sleek looking than the 4,000 yuan one I’d seen the other day.  They said the lowest they’d sell for was 1,600.  I asked if they’d carry it up the mountain to my house for me.  They said they’d do that for free.  I told them it was a deal.

It’s got automatic shut-off when it’s full, it allows you to select the precise percentage of humidity you want in a room, it’s not too noisy, and it’s guaranteed for repairs for one year.  And best of all, I don’t have to be the one to carry it up the mountain.  These things are heavy, you know.

So, once I gather 1,600 kuai this thing is mine!




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Just what I (don’t) need

August 29, 2012
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Fact: the humidity in the Tunxi/Xiuning area is usually in the range of 70 to 100%.  Usually much closer to 100 than 70.

So please, tell me why every single super market and electronics store sells a minimum of five varieties of humidifiers.  Why would you ever need more than 70% humidity in your house?  Why?

I went out looking for a DEhumidifier today.  I did actually find one, in one of the five stores I visited.  Turned out it cost 4,000 kuai.  That’s $630.  Why are they so expensive here?  I can only imagine that it is because nobody buys them.  Lord knows why.  You can practically get waterlogged just sitting at home watching TV.
In fact, most of the stores I went into didn’t even know what a dehumidifier was.  And yes, I was saying it correctly.  And I described what it does.  They were perplexed.  The store that actually carried it knew what I wanted right away.

I’m on the Sears website right now, and it looks like the equivalent of what I looked at today would cost about 200 bucks in America.  And they’ve got a whole array of small ones that would work just fine for me and only cost 60.

It always sucks when you find out that the thing you want to buy in China turns out to be one of the few things that’s actually way more expensive here (All Apple products.  And dehumidifiers.)

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August 27, 2012

I need to learn to make vegan eggplant parmesan.

Cuz look at these:

All from my neighbors’ garden.

Google seems to have some promising recipes, but if anybody happens to have suggestions…

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Old favorites

August 26, 2012
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This morning was a nice reminder of reasons we come back here, despite the mold.
I woke up around 5:30 am (already gettin’ into that rural farmer lifestyle), and had my laundry already hanging outside by the time the sun came up.

Sabrina and I were heading out to get wontons and buy fresh vegetables around 6:something when our neighbor called us over to take vegetables from her garden.  We were presented with a large basket of purple leafed vegetables, beautiful Chinese eggplant, and hot peppers.  I’ll upload photos of those when I get home.

We graciously accepted the veggies, and then headed down for breakfast.  Got my favorite dumplings, which kind of taste like pizza rolls, and some other wonderful fried things, which we ate with wontons.  Wu Laoban (proprietor of the wonton shop) tried to refuse our money.  We finally had to throw it on the table and run.  I had brought the new boys and Elizabeth (a past Hong Kong fellow who stayed in Xiuning over the summer) in the day before, and he didn’t let us pay then either, but now his kindness is getting to be too much.  By the way, he now rents out half of his shop, because making buns got to be too much for him.  Things certainly changed while we were away.
After we ate, we bought beautiful fresh vegetables and fruit. It was wonderful seeing all of our favorite vendors again.  The tofu salesman remembered I’d taken the MCAT and asked how my applications were going.  He said I should go to Harvard. hehe  Maybe he’ll write me a rec.

The new boys had to go to Hefei for a mandatory TEFL training (which Sabrina and I are exempt from because we’ve already taught for a year without it… heh), so we took ’em to the bus station.  Then, we continued onwards to Tunxi, where we bought hats.  Mine has weird English on it, and I’m very happy to have a non-moldy hat to wear.  Check it out:

So, Chinglish + beautiful vegetables + friendly vendors and old friends = worth all the cleaning associated with returning to Xiuning.

Just missing NaiNai…

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A nice warm China welcome

August 25, 2012
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Yesterday, our first day back, Sabrina and I gave the new boys a tour of the school.  Of course, this included the English library, which we hadn’t seen since we left in June.  The library was locked, but the chalkboard had been written on since we’d last seen it.

A complaint about the uncensored nature of our books, a love song, and pictures of our flags.  I’m assuming the dangling American flag in the middle is just the unfortunate effect of a summer of humidity, not a disrespectful display.  We’ll get around to straightening that out once we find the library key, I guess.

Click on the picture if you can’t read it.  Definitely click on the picture.

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Nice people on the train

August 24, 2012
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I hate having middle bunks on a train.  I hate having anything but the bottom bunk.  Although I haven’t sleepwalked in a good three years, I’m still scared I’ll jump off my bunk while sleeping.  I’d probably just hit my head on the top bunk or ceiling, and wake myself up before I could leap, so, I guess it’s an irrational fear.  But it is a fear nonetheless.
Having a middle bunk ticket for the 19 (which turned into 20) hour ride from Hong Kong to Tunxi, I decided to try to switch.  Basically, I told the guy who had the bottom bunk that I was afraid of heights (seemed a simpler explanation than an irrational fear of sleep walking), and I offered him 50 yuan to switch tickets with me.  Bottom bunks are more expensive, because they actually have enough space for people to sit on them, and they’re therefore quite desirable.  The first guy I asked told me he wouldn’t switch bunks because he was fat, and being fat makes it hard to climb onto upper bunks.  He was definitely not overweight, but in China, I’m fat too.  I had better luck with the second person I asked.  It turned out that he was super nice, was studying to be a doctor, and was coming back from vacationing in Bangkok.  He refused my money and gave me his bunk.

Other fun train people included a little girl who imitated everything anybody said to her.  Her English sounded great, though she had no idea what she was saying.  She also liked making faces, playing with balloon animals (made by Alex… more on the new boys later, of course), and listening to us sing as Sabrina played ukulele.  Her parents were quite friendly to us as well.  So, we spent a while loitering and singing songs there at the beginning of the trip.  The ride was long, but I slept great.  Gotta love sleeper trains.

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Day 1, Round 2

August 24, 2012
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Man versus mold.  That was the theme of the first day at Xiuzhong last year, and naturally, it’s once again the name of the game.  Dust mask, rubber gloves, bring it on.

Most of my wooden furniture is now out in the court yard, absorbing UV rays post bleach-down.

Glad to be back at Xiuzhong.

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Meetings, meetings, every day

August 20, 2012
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I really want to take advantage of the fact that I’m in Hong Kong and don’t need a VPN connection to blog.  And yet… I’ve had no thoughts of anything to say lately.

Not only am I in meetings all the time, but my brain has been functioning rather slowly.  I think I’m still jet lagged.  When it comes to my turn to say something in discussions, I’ve been doing of a lot of the, “um… yeah… so…” introductions before I can get a sentence out.

Jet lag is always harder in this direction.

On a positive note, I finally got a slab of Hong Kong BBQ pork.  So good.

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August 16, 2012
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I’m here!  Yes.  It is time to sleep, I think.

2 planes, 5 different lines on the Hong Kong MTR (subway), a bus ride to the top of the mountain.  I made it.

In Chicago, they told us passengers to board quickly, because if we were too slow and caused the flight to be delayed, we would hit typhoons.  Now there’s a threat you don’t want to hear from your airline.

Well, I guess we boarded in good time, because here I am.  But I’m being told we’re at Typhoon Warning Level 3 here, likely to be raised to Level 8 by 10pm.  At that point, businesses will all shut down, and you’re not supposed to go outdoors, so it’s a good thing I got here when I did, in time to get into the dorm.

Good night Hong Kong.  Good night typhoon.

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Oh, and by the way

August 14, 2012
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I’m flying to Hong Kong tomorrow.  So soon enough, my blog title will once again be appropriate.

I remember writing about packing last June.  I haven’t changed one bit.  I’m now wondering how I’m going to fit everything into my suitcase.  That’s what tonight will be.  Laundry, packing, weighing and reweighing my suitcase.  50 pounds sounds like a lot.  And it feels like a lot when you’re hauling it through subways.  But it’s never enough, is it?

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