Thursday, October 03, 2002

Still haven’t managed much Chinese food, still only used chopsticks twice (I was quite good though). The canteen for work has been closed all week because of the holiday, and there are only small cafes in the area around work – some kitchens are literally on the street. Ashamedly I even visited Mc Donald’s on Tuesday (it was pretty discussing), KFC yesterday (although I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything there), then The Hard Rock Café and Starbuck last night. We also found a western supermarket in one of the large hotels.. I bought some Chinese beer and grapefruit (was disappointed that there was no Marmite – I thought I could take a pot up with me to breakfast every morning). I have managed to buy some skewered meat off the street, and some nut cake / nougat which was cut from a metre square slab sitting on the back of a bicycle (both were very good, and I still have loads of the cake left). Holiday seems to be winding down as the evening road blocks have been lifted, so was were able to get a taxi home last night (we have been forced to walk though thousands of celebrating locals and half the PLA during the last few days). Work yesterday was almost unbearable, it reached 88F outside and we were in room full of computers with no air conditioning; clothes are practically sodden after a couple of hours. Not sure if AC is switched off to save money (due to the holiday) or for maintenance. I suspect a combination of both. Watched some Chinese children’s programs when I got back, one of them was designed to teach some English words to children, we seemed to skip ‘Hello my name is Ken, I live in Shanghai’ and plunged straight into ‘Peoples hero’s’ (pee-poles hero’s), ‘Liberation’ (Lib-ration), ‘People’s army’, ‘Chinese communist party’ (Chinese commune-ist) and most bizarrely ‘relief sculpture’.

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