Friday, August 13, 2010

Interesting Lunch

So it's been about a month since I last updated and I am sure you all are dying to know what I have been up to but since I am not the greatest at keeping up this blog thing I suppose I needed to reason to write something.  Today at lunch I found my reason.

There is a eatery right across the street from the hotel we are at which we call the Green Restaurant just because it has a green awning but it's not the true name of the place.  Anyway, last time a huge group of us went we discovered they made this chocolate filled crispy tortilla goodness.  Anytime you say chocolate, I am always down - thanks Dad :-)  Today, being my day off, I decided to get some take out from there which included the chocolaty deliciousness!  After I ordered the waitress pointed to a booth I could wait in but as I was walking towards the booth this Chinese man pulled out a chair at his table and asked me to sit down (in English).  I figured he wanted to practice his English, which he did, so I did not mind.  I was then given chopsticks and rice and served tea.  I tried to communicate that I ordered take out and thank you very much but they did not seem to understand and kept saying 'don't mind, please eat eat' so I ate.  They were very nice men but only one, Sean, spoke English.  He learned English to become a tour guide on the side of his construction business.  He likes America very much but has yet to visit due to money constraints.  Thanks to the hospitality of these nice men I had a lunch for free but now I am sitting staring at the chocolate treat, full from lunch, but still yearning to eat it....did I or didn't I?  You caught me, I did, but only a quarter because I can save the rest for afternoon snack.

Now for some updates over the past month...

Location:  We are located in the city close to the grocery store and clubs and within walking of some really good restaurants!  The city itself is very clean, there are people that ride bikes picking up trash daily.  I look out my window and see green hills slightly beyond the city.

Weather:  Hot and humid ALL the time, even at night which I was not expecting.  Although I enjoy working at night because even though it's still warm and humid there is no sun blaring down on you.

Food:  Some people have asked me to describe the difference between Chinese food here and in the states.  It's hard to describe, I mean it's definitely different, but to put in words is a little difficult for me.  A lot of things are stewed here, but don't ask me in what and I probably don't want to know.  They do like things spicy here which I can handle if I have bread with me or rice, which is a plethora here.  The pictures on the menus look exactly as what you may find in the Chinese places back home but the taste is not.  By trial and error people have found dishes that work and are delicious.  And of course, you always have the staple KFC and McDonald's here.  I do have to admit I have had both a couple of times since being here.  They don't have cheese over here and when I crave cheese I go get a McD's double cheeseburger - yum!  And the take away bags are cute for the drinks and sundaes.  They actually have a handle to carry your drink and if you have ice cream sundae they put ice in the bag to ensure it stays cold for you - thoughtful huh!?

Transportation:  There are the usual transportation methods such as a bus, walking and taxi cabs but then there are two methods, that I do not know what they are called, but I call them motorcycle and motorbuggy (I just made those up now actually).  There are the guys on motorcycles that just wait around until you come up to them and tell them where you want to go.  The motorbuggy's are essentially motorcycles with a domed cavity attached that can hold anywhere from 4-7 people depending on their size.  We take these everywhere and it's a cheap way to transport our large group.  Every weekend we use this to go to the field where we play Ultimate Frisbee and Soccer. 

Work:  Now that this isn't my training assignment, I am going on shift which has it's ups and downs.  For the past week or so we have been doing inspection of the vessels and for being a new unit it sure is dirty.  When I was in Trinidad and we did inspections I came out looking like when I went inside but here, it is dirty as heck for being a new unit.  We look like we just came out of a coal mine our faces are so black with dirt.  I really should try to get a picture of that!  I am excited to get on a normal shift rotation and have long offs to allow for travel to other parts of China.  I have not really seen much since I have been here the past month but looking forward to what lies ahead.  My parents are already planning a visit in September! Also, the Asians truly value sleep and most cubicles have a bed that you can pull out and sleep on.  For an hour after lunch, everyday, everyone sleeps...not UOP though, we don't have beds in our cubicles (although some people do).
I would also like to say Thank You to my mom who drove down to Chicago while I was in town for a week in between Trinidad and China.  She was my personal shopper.  She also brought down my cat, Bode, so I could visit with him since I hadn't seen him in 7 months.  He is the cutest thing!!!