We brought in the new year last night with our friend Cathy. We ordered some pizza and ate salad and brownies. It was Cathy’s first time eating brownies and I think she liked them. Much to Andy’s delight (he hates to play games), I taught both Andy and Cathy how to play a card game that we used to play at our house ironically enough called Shanghai. It is a lot like Rummi but with cards. I personally find it very fun and I guess Cathy liked it too because she just called me and asked me some of the rules because she is at a friends house and is teaching them how to play. The most annoying part about Andy and games is that even though he never wants to play, when he does play he always wins (maybe not at poker, but everything else). He beat me by 5 points, 1 card. It was a lot of fun though and conveniently enough, some of the best fireworks in the city were right next to our window. Between each hand of cards, we would go to the window in the bedroom and watch the fireworks going off all around the city. At midnight there were multiple locales with numerous fireworks. We were glad to be enjoying them from the comfort of our apartment, especially since we had been out in the city earlier in the day and it was SO crowded with people. We also had some decent-tasting champagne that was fairly inexpensive. Since it was from Australia, it came with free Fosters beer. There are a lot of promotions like that here in China.
Earlier in the day, yesterday, we went to an electronics market where they sell all of these components for “nerd things” as Andy calls them. Let me back up…I have not been able to find a digital alarm clock here in China and I like the ones in the US with big numbers. So, I asked my mom to pick one up at Target for me in Boise. She gave it to Libby, our latest mule for goods from the U.S., but when I tried it out it does not keep the time here. Apparently there are different frequencies in the country power systems (US 60 Hz; China 50 Hz) and the clock keeps the time by counting the cycles in the frequency, therefore because there are less cycles (less frequency) in China, the US clock is very slow. Therefore, as Andy’s latest “nerdy” electronic project, he has decided to make me an alarm clock. We picked out large 7-segment LEDs (the numbers for the alarm clock) and Andy got some other “nerd stuff” at the market yesterday. I cannot figure out which customer segment the technology market is serving because there are literally hundreds of vendors with the same things and some sell such small items as capacitors. We cannot figure out how they are making money. The only thing I can figure is that they must be selling to corporations manufacturing massive quantities of products that need their components.
Yesterday, we also stopped off at the fabric market to pick up my latest purchase which I had to have them remake because it was too big the first time I picked it up. Of course, while I was there I found a couple of other things including an Asian-looking dress which I will try on Wednesday.
Our last errand yesterday was to stop off at our favorite grocery store, the City Shop. They seemed to have a lot of new foreign grocery goods and I stocked up on Betty Crocker cake mixes and pancake mix because they often run out and I have to keep up my image of a great baker to my friends at Starbucks and work. Having an oven is such a luxury here. The greatest news about the City Shops new items was that they had Adams Crunchy peanut butter, one of the only things I still need to have brought to me from the US. Apparently Shanghai really does have everything one needs.
Today has been wonderfully relaxing. I slept in til 10am and then rode the spin bike and did my Pilates DVD. After that, I took a bath and read my Fantasy/Kings/Queens novel that I mentioned in an earlier entry. I also got started on my next MBA class, Marketing of Advanced Technologies. Since the university did not have the book selection ready early, I had to have my mom 2nd-Day FedEx me the book ($80+, yikes!) which I hope to receive tomorrow. I was able to start reading four of the articles which were available online. It only took me about three hours on Friday to bring up the articles and print them (argh) with this slow Internet still in Asia.
Andy also had his own version of a relaxing day. He woke up earlier than me and rode the spin bike. Then, he spent the day working on the alarm clock and as he just told me, “it was great to relax and learn new stuff today. I tried to figure out how to ensure a second was a second.” We each have our own definitions of fun.
Tonight we are heading to our favorite Italian restaurant (the real Italian food) with John and Libby.
Happy New Year! I guess it doesn’t start until the Chinese New Years, but it will be the year of the PIG. Good luck to all with new years resolutions. I think mine are to shed a few pounds by following a more Chinese-like diet, finish my MBA, learn how to relax (better and more easily) and to do a lot of travel around Asia.
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