Day the Seventh – 24th August

  • One week (almost)!
Flyer. Also a fan. Canvassers in Europe need to up the ante.
  • Here’s a mini-catch-up on what I did on day three, since I haven’t had time to tinker with the pod yet: It was my last day settling in, so I went out to hunt for a mobile again, and trialled my route to the office. The route is a walk+bus+walk journey, and fairly straight-forward. In town, I accidentally get off the bus one stop too late, and end up in some high-end shopping mall. I was dressed low-key that day, but somehow managed to be approached by the staff of beauty counters – does my skin look like I’m a customer of theirs? If so, yes please! (I have doubts.) On my way back I walk around the outside of the museum, and find a massive underground bookshop! The bookshop, not its business, is under-ground. Of course I go in – one does not simply walk past a bookshop – and leave with a book by a Chinese sci comm. scholar (who used to be at Peking Uni – might ask about him), and a calligraphy guide and practice book. On my way home I step on something slippery on the (otherwise hot and dry) road, and decide I don’t want to know what it was. I manage to fall not-wholly ungracefully… a bit like a forward lunge, but a really enthusiastic one… and hit my knee. There was blood, and I’m still undergoing the bruising process. After spending the whole day in sunglasses, I decide that I need an umbrella after all. At the mart, I spend what feels a bizarre amount of time browsing the choices, before picking one, changing my mind, and finally getting another one. However, there are some gents at the umbrella-stand before I arrive, and who are still there when I leave. I think it’s because most umbrella-users are female and children, (are men supposed to macho-up? Even in this sun?), and most of the designs fall within “cute little brollies”, making it difficult to find one masculine enough. (That said, there were plenty tartan ones which seemed neutral enough.)
Photo from Wednesday: workplace for the next two months!
  • Back to today! It is the first day I successfully join in the communal siesta time. I need about 20 minutes to deck, and sleep for about 20 minutes.
  • Office topic of the day seems to be cold-callers and malicious couriers.
  • Other talk of the day: somebody, presumably a young child, had done a number two on one of the live-experience exhibitions in the museum.
Lunch! Stir-fried pak choi 青菜, sweet and sour tenderloin 糖醋里脊, rice 米饭, and mung bean soup 绿豆汤 for pudding. Note that this is colour of sweet-and-sour-[foodstuff] if you get it in China.
  • Flatforms and stacked, high-heeled mules have really taken off here. Not sure if it’s just this summer or what.
  • Before I came here, I thought I would try to be as inconspicuous in public as possible, as to not attract pick-pockets, etc. Of course, it didn’t work. I don’t dress effeminately enough; I have a primitive phone (though happily so, I look forward to spending two months not looking down whenever I’m on public transport); I’m (was) pale; I hold doors open for people; and on occasion, I have to get a map out.
  • The paleness. The decent English summer we were blessed with this year had already given me something of a sandal-tan, but in just a few days here, my overall colour has jumped to what beauty-marketers like to call “golden/sun-kissed”. Now dangerously teetering on the edge of “tanned”. I do prefer myself on the whiter side of “golden”, so I’m really going to have to watch it.
  • Amusingly though, I don’t seem to burn in the Chinese sun. This has only been concluded by accident of that day I was stuck in town without an umbrella. – I won’t test the limits.
  • Today is Saturday, and I’m trying my best to focus on these papers and write an essay plan. It’ll be my day-free-from-admin.
  • I’m pretty certain that the lady, whose screen I can see across the room, has been watching k-drama all afternoon. It is Saturday though. What can you do?
  • I find a 小吃, which translates as “small eat” to get dinner – takeaway Saturday! – and furnish myself with this bowl of stir-fried beef and rice-cakes (年糕; ddoek if you’re Korean), and misc veg for 18 Yuan. Not the dirt-cheap option, but all the better for it: it was really tasty, filling, and the kitchen environment, while open to the customers, looked decent enough. Although if I had any worries about the food-hygiene, the multiple flambé flames I saw from where I stood in the shop front quelled those.
Dinner! That said, as it was literally transferred from wok to carton to my hands within the course of a minute, I stood there struggling with how to hold it before being passed some disposable chopsticks 一次性筷子 in a bag big enough to fit them, and my food box. 
  • As a result of finally managing to watch Great British Bake-Off, I stop at a bakery to buy a little angel-food-cake muffin for pudding. Mm!
Proof is in the…
Like a cloud.
No horse meat here. Not that anybody local would bat an eyelid.





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