China Blog 2011


Nov. 9, weds.

I'm so sick of being dumped off to shop!  I am tired of such forced shopping (some information is good-- had a great talk on green tea), but high pressure is exhausting. So far today, we were taken to government-owned jade factory.  Mike and I sat in a back row instead of at the sales table.  He read newspaper, and I made list of what I need to do to get ready for Jennings Mill photography show.  Watching everyone buy bangle bracelets and necklaces just makes me sick with boredom!  

Then we took a 15- minute tour up an elevator to see Nanjing Yangzte River Bridge.  Interesting story of how they used to ferry individual train cars across. Bridge was built in 1960 with the Russians.  Then the Russians pulled out in 1963 and the Chinese claim they took over and built the bridge all by themselves, something they are very proud of.  Very Russian with statues, Mao huge statue inside, and pictures of wonderful opening in 1968.  Part of the talk was in the model room complete with overstuffed chairs, tea tables, flowers, and a talk that reminded me of old Communist experiences I had in 1987.   Our local leader, Fred, tells us  5000 "volunteers" built this bridge.  I'm guessing they all got up in the morning and said, "Let's go build a bridge today!". Right!

We then spent forever at the glass painting store because one couple bought two large vases for $6000 and had to do paperwork. Others bought lots of stuff too.  I just hated a whole morning of forced shopping!  I did find a lovely tiny bottle about 2" high that I would have bought for $100, but it was $800... Then I was chased by sales girl and price dropped to$507 after I walked away.  It was a really lovely black on white drawing with red touches... Inside a tiny bottle.  A garden / mountain scene. I do believe it might be worth it, but what would I DO with it..put beside my chair and study it, carry myself away?  But not for that much.  Instead, I considered I was at an art gallery and really appreciated it's beauty.  That's enough.

And I'm just as the same terrible food.  I was saved by a sandwich today.  Took a roll, a slice of meat, and cheese from breakfast and it tasted wonderful after another less than wonderful Chinese lunch.  We buy 2-3 extra bottles of beer for us-- usually only allotted one and a bottle of Coke. After lunch, I wish I'd had two sandwiches and another of the good chocolate doughnuts from breakfast.  Missing sweets too. Will take plenty tomorrow. I think others will get the idea too.  

Nap time and reading Dreamers of the Day about Middle east. 2:10 pm. Bus B got through police reports after an accident, I guess, and we have more room again in our Bus A.  

4:00 pm bathroom stop, all square but we are all prepared now with pockets full of our own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I'll never take a clean toilet for granted again.