End of July and still no AC!

30 07 2010

AC = air condition = a pain for my body!! I am really not used to one of the most common electric appliances in the Asian houses. They got no oven (their cooking style never requires it), not necessary iron clothes (ok, me neither, I can’t!), many students do not have neither fridge nor vacuum cleaner, but every house has at least one air condition box! My apartment, being high standard, has AC in every room. But my body is really not used to it! As it is not used anymore to hot and wet weather.

Helped by a summer that has not been terribly hot until now (39 degrees next Wednesday, according to weather forecast..), I haven’t used AC at home yet! AC also consumes a huge amount of power and it is not really good for the environment.. but this is not the reason (OK, maybe the power one.. I pay!). The problem of AC is that I always get neck ache when exposed for long, and if I sleep with AC usually I wake up with throat ache too, or with a cold like the one I got now.. 😦

Besides, it was also important to get my body more used to Chinese summer, before the terribly hot and wet one arrives! That will be August, probably, and after this weekend in Shanghai (where the weather has been really summer like since the official beginning of summer!) I am more ready to face it!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – A hot coffee (powder coffee) in the AC office right after lunch is perfect, even if outside today there are probably 35 degrees and over 60% of humidity!!

Furthermore, today lunch contained a huge amount of garlic (with some sort of vegetables) and onions (with fat fat bacon): I am scared thinking later in clean room with the mask over my mouth and nose.. I am going to kill myself from onion-garlic post lunch gases!!!


Physical contact

29 07 2010

These post belongs to the new category, called Chinese myths, where I will comment on some stuff that for us, Western people, are a typical expected trademark for Asians. Now, this is only from my own limited personal experience!!! Very possible I will change my mind with after more time here, and I will of course appreciate comments from real Chinese or laowais that have lived in China longer than me!!

How many times you have heard or been told to avoid physical contact with Asian people? They are not Western, they do not cope well with had shakes, too familiar touching behaviours even with people you have been knowing for some time, or things like that.

After these first months in China I have actually been surprised to see that the physical contact among Chinese people is something completely different from our Western idea: especially among males, they have much more contact than, say, Norwegians! It is very common to see at work, for example in the laboratory, or even around in the streets, boys or man that hug each other, or put an arm over the shoulders of a colleague when talking, or when working closely. Same thing among girls, and a few times girls lay closely on men at work, with no other meaning than just friendship or pure working collaboration.

I mean, Norwegian are usually an extremely homophobic kind of people. Rarely you see two men in physical contact, except for homosexual relationships! Italians, Spanish, French, for us latin people many things are normal among friends. I must say that many of my Norwegian friends changed and accepted our ways, but I am pretty sure it was quite awkward at the beginning to accept a hug from another man (no bottom squeeze, unless they are very hot friends! Kidding!! 😉 ). But I would not push the cheek kiss among men to Norwegians (except a couple of really good friends that I know for a very long time and have been immersed in South European culture for even longer time!)..

Friendly kisses are still tabu among the Chinese I saw, but when you see three adult men sharing a motorbike seat, squeezed together, you realize they are not homophobic!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – Once, when working in clean room (NASA, not my work!!), where all the people look about the same (and I got some colleagues as tall as me if not more and a few also as big as me!), a guy there put his arm around my shoulders in one of these familiar and kind gestures.. when I turned and he realized it was the laowai, not a Chinese colleague, he first jumped for the surprise and then apologized at once retreating immediately his arm!! 🙂 I had no idea how to explain him there was no problem!

Taiping city

28 07 2010

Good time, great food and nice pictures from the company trip to Taiping lake and Taiping city!

Too much great food.. 😀

Only pity, no massage!! 😉

Taiping lake

Lonely moments

28 07 2010

I have been asked several times, almost by all the new Chinese friends I have made since my arrival, if I feel lonely. I generally answer no, that I do not, and this surprise them so much! They know I’m Italian but in general Chinese people have very better geography knowledge, that goes with a terrible sense of directions. So when I tell them that the past 14 years I worked in Norway so I am used to live far from my family and from the friends I have been grown up with, for them it does not mean much. It was Europe, both Norway and Italy.. but now it is China, so now friends and family are far away.

Then they understand a bit better when I explain that from Norway to Italy there are about 2000 km! So I got my training about distance and relationships!

But I also have some special moments when I feel lonely, when I miss especially an adventure companion, someone to go around with, and explore (not necessary Chinese and not necessary a gf!!). For me, and it may sound strange, the worst moment is when I walk around looking for some place to eat, especially in the areas with several typical tiny Chinese food places.. one room large, almost the same menu everywhere, 3- tables, one TV hanging from the wall, a one page plastified menu (of course in Chinese and no pictures!), the kitchen in the second room, a man cooking and a woman taking the order, one fridge for beers, several beer cases around, usually a stairs taking upstairs, to the house of the family running the place.. all a little bit different..

I know that in any of these place I would order in the same way all the time: pointing and hoping.. but I also know that the people there would be surprised by the laowai, laugh a bit, point, stare, etc etc, all the stuff I am used to now.. And still, when I walk past these places, starving, I do not feel comfortable in just entering one by chance.. I walk and walk.. and go back to the only one where I go now, close to my apartment, where, even if I have been there often, they are still surprised by the laowai, laugh a bit, point, stare, etc etc.. Now, there, though, I get a bit more annoyed.

So I want to try new places.. but when I stand in front of a new door, I feel lonely and uncomfortable.. Funny uhm? I came 9000 km for a new life, and I don’t have the courage to enter a 1-room restaurant, where probably I would have a great evening..

I know, I am weird.. a nice kind of weird, as I have been told before.. not a surprise for who knows me well! 🙂

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – Today one of the best lunches lately, but with the combination I hate: beans and small pieces of tofu, a challenge to eat without a spoon (that I always forget to take here at work!). The way, for not spending 3 hours on that, is putting the open mouth close to the lunch box and shove the food into that, using the chopsticks together as  a shovel!

Feng you jing

27 07 2010

We just got today a present from the company: 2 boxes of feng you jing, 风油精, a special oil used to ease aches and pains that excels at clearing the sinuses, relieving headache and clearing the mind and helping concentration..

It is also indicated for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with minor backache, arthritis, strains, bruises and sprains. But do not touch your eyes after you put on the fingers! Or other sensible parts, like, uhm, genitals!! Wash your hands after applying the oil!!

Considering that especially today I felt bad for a recent little cold (I have problems with air condition.. I haven’t use it at home yet, but work and other places.. it kills me!!). Got ears, nose, throat all a little messed up, and this oil arrives with the rigth timing!!:-)

Also cool to get it from the company, even if the present has probably a not so hidden second meaning: now your ehad is clear, then produce more!! 😉

The smell is similar to tiger balm but it burns less when applied on the skin (just below the nose nostrils). It’s green and liquid. But the effect is very similar, also warming the skin. Very pleasent effect! I’m sure some of my “Norwegian” aiki-friends would enjoy some bottles (Jacq? Bob? Svein?).. to keep in mind for my trip there!!

Feng you jing, 风油精

I want a massage!!!!

26 07 2010

China – Asia, the land of acupuncture, massage techniques, and other special natural ways to replenish your body and mind of the losses due to stress, work, life.. you may think it is easy to just enter a massage parlor and get a sooooooooo much desired massage!

In Beijing, together with my ex and her mother, I got a great acupuncture nad cupping treatment in a nice natural medicine center.

In Taiping city, with a Chinese colleague, after looking for a place where they could give a body massage at a reasonable price also to a laowai, they took us in two different rooms and I did not get my massage, as I really really hoped.. but the girl, of course, offered me $ex.. after payment, what do you think? 😦

No, I did not take that.. I wanted a massage, not a prostitute! 😦 Not that desperate, yet! 😉

I think that the only way I can get the massage I really want is going around with a girl, possibly Chinese! If also pretty, the better! But at least someone who can make it clear I am looking for a different sort of relaxing time, not the one involving illegal habits! And the very real chance to get some disease!! 😛


22 07 2010

Just back from the opening night of this movie, a really touching, strong, amazing movie based on a real catastrophe: the Tangshan earthquake on July 28, 1976 that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and claimed 240,000 people.

Not a hollywood movie based on special effects, but a story about life, 3 lives, that are not special, except for being lived by survivors of the terrible earthquake. A mother and her 2 children.. No more spoilers about this movie, except that it is worth watching it.

I was lucky that it had English subtitles, but actually I had decided with Wang Xian Lan to watch it anyway (we discovered about the subs only at the start of the movie!!). We were so convinced about this movie tht we actually shared seat for most of the time, since there was only one seat left when we bought the ticket, but Wang Xian Lan convinced the ticket seller to give us 2 tickets! 🙂

Check IMDB for more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1393746/