Go Fish

Ok, don’t eat fish. Not in the U.S. and not in China. I heard a horror story (Jeremy’s friend received a forwarded text message) about something mysterious infecting fish in China. And in the U.S. I guess there’s some terrible stuff with the antibiotics they feed to the fish affecting consumers. Yikes!

It’s really too bad. I like fish.

I’ve been asked to retract this crazy, alarmist, and inaccurate post.  I just heard a vague rumor about bad fish, but until some evidence is presented you really shouldn’t alter your eating habits. [Thursday, August 31, 2006, 7:24 p.m.]

No More Lonely Noodles

Jeremy is here!  And we have a little home.  And classes are about to start. Yay!
I’m really craving a routine.   Right now I don’t seem to be getting anything done, and my study habits are miserable.  I took my placement exam on Monday.  Wow, that was scary.  I think they gave me one of the higher levels, but I think I completely failed.  Hopefully I demonstrated some ability.  It will be exciting to have new books and classmates and things.

Since I’m living off campus, I had to register at the police station.  Last time I was here, I went to the same station.  I remember it being very confusing, but this time around they had an entire office dedicated to interacting with foreigners.  Of course I had to sit around a while, but it didn’t take long.  I suppose I was a little more prepared this time.  I had all of my documents in order.  That helps.
Jeremy gave me a camera, but I still need to buy a memory card.  There is a small internal memory, but it can only hold a few images.  I’ll soon fill this site with some good pics.  I already have a few on my flickr site. I have to admit that I’m still a little shy when it comes to pulling out my camera.  Sigh.

It’s been fun rediscovering a few restaurants around Kunming.  Yesterday we walked through the rain to a place that serves “box lunch” style meals.  It’s rare that you can order a single meal.  Most restaurants are family style, so it’s nice to have a place where you eat alone without being wasteful.  Of course, you can always order noodles in single servings, but that gets monotonous.  Noodles are lonely.

Stale

Wow, I didn’t realize how stale this blog had become.  Just noticed as I wrote back to Mari (safe in Seattle).

Well, I actually have news to report today.  I rented an apartment.  It’s a two bedroom, fully furnished, with appliances for 900 yuan/month (about 115 USD).  I think it will be very comfortable.  And with a spare room we will soon be ready for guests!

There are so many crazy things about renting an apartment here that I don’t know where to begin.  I guess the most painful bit is that they require 6 month’s rent upfront, along with one month’s deposit.  Yikes!  This is strange even for China, but that’s Kunming.  And then there’s the management fee because we have 24-hour gate guard.  And then there’s the unofficial “thank you fee” to the guards that introduced me to the couple renting the apartment.  I barely had enough, but I made it.  Everything’s always negotiable, and with the incredible help of my friend Wumin, we negotiated a lot!  Rent: aking price 1000, 900 agreed price.  “Thank you fee:” asking 900, paid 300.  Not bad.

I’ve been watching a lot of t.v. lately, because my roommate has a ton of stuff on DVD.  I’m watching the “L” Word right now, already in season 2.  My god.  It’s a good way to numb my brain.  I’ve been pretty anxious about getting things ready for Jeremy’s arrival (Tuesday!), so it’s nice to just let an hour or two just pass by.

Off to chat with my sister.

A Different View

I have a different view now here in Kunming.  I moved in with an American woman.  She’s just getting the place set up, but she’s doing it miraculously quickly.  I’m really impressed at how quickly she’s been able to hustle up furniture.  And the internet guy came today.  Yay!  So I’m actually writing from my new home.  Pretty cool.

This apartment is closer to a lot of the foreigner cafes and the bars and things.  There’s street noise, which I’m not used to.  It’s a little street, but a lot of activity — all kinds of little shops and street vendors.  I like the salons that dye and braid hair just outside the shop so you can observe what a good job they’re doing.  Heh.  So much to look at.  Half a block away is a full vegetable and meat market.  And it’s two blocks to Green Lake Park.

I’ve been thinking this area was too expensive for me.  I’m still not convinced I need to live right on top of all this, although it is fun.  It’s not prohibitively expensive, but I don’t think I’d mind living a little further out.  It probably won’t be much quieter though.   Quiet is one thing you don’t find in this city.

Last week was my first week without language exchange or Mandarin classes of any kind. Whew, did it affect my meeting today.  My teacher told me she was watching me progress each week, but this time she could tell that I fell off the wagon.  “You spoke English all week, didn’t you?”  Oh, man.  Well, I have more meetings scheduled this week — both Thursday and Friday.  Yay!