Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Milestone

I have been so busy traveling around and getting settled into my new apartment, new job, and new country that I have not taken the time to recognize an exciting event in my life. I have been blogging for two years! My first post was April 19th, 2005. When I think about all the things I have done over the past couple of years, I am amazed and know that I am truly blessed.

Moving on..
I added a Sykpe button to the right side of the blog. If you have Skype already on your computer, you can just click the button and it will call me. The button lets you know if I am online or not. Pretty cool, huh. If you don't have Skype, then you can download it easily if you would like to chat with me. FYI...you will need a microphone.

Wuxi and Nanjing


China news...
On Wednesday, I switched apartments after one night. I am in the same building but in a much better place. The other one had a few problems, but mainly it was too close to the noise on the street. Now I am in a quiet place with fewer problems.

Yesterday I traveled to Nanjing for my job. It is a little over an hour a way by train. I was escorted around the city by Quincy. I finished my tasks for the day and I still had a few hours to check out the city. Quincy and I went to lunch. There I had some specialities of Nanjing. First, the duck. It is served cold and is outstanding. In Beijing the duck is famous too, but it is served hot. Then I had lotus root with a little bit of rice in the middle. It was topped with honey and tasted very sweet. Next was tofu noodles in a some type of sauce. The noodles where hard, which is a different texture than most of the tofu I have tasted before. You would think that is enough, but that is only the half way point. People eat so much here! The beef ribs came and they were good, but nothing close to what I get at home (Memphis has nothing to worry about). Then came the mushroom soup with some type of pastry on top. It was okay, but I am not the biggest fan of mushrooms. We had a dish of vegetables that are only grown in Nanjing. They tasted like a cross between string beans and onions. They were good, but I was starting to get full. Finally we got to the last dish...a cake. It was called a cake, but it was just a pastry ball with meat in the middle. The lunch was excellent and different, as all my meals here have been. I have not whipped out the camera at all of these meals, because it has not been the right place to do it, but I am sure I will get some good shots at some point. I will say that China knows how to cook some awesome Chinese food and you don't have to worry about getting those stale fortune cookies at the end of the meal:)

After lunch we headed toward the mountains (or hills if you live in CO). We were going to see Sun Yat-Sen's mausoleum, which is located on Nanjing's Purple Mountain. However, after arriving a guy convinced us that he was going to be our tour guide for the next hour (that is all the time I had left before I needed to catch my train). So, we got back in the car and our tour guide drove us around the park. I got to see lots of stuff which you can see in the pictures. The park is huge and I would need another day or two to walk around all the different sights.

I caught my train and got back Wuxi. Please realize that every time I step out of my house and go somewhere besides work, I can't really communicate with anyone on the street. This makes life very interesting. The trains are easy because there are plenty of signs with numbers on them. However, once I am out of the train station getting anywhere and anything is a bit more challenging. This time I tried to catch a taxi home. I have a text message in my phone with my address on it in Chinese so the driver can read it. However, no one would take me. I think they were telling me that it was too close and that they were not going to make enough money. I tried several people and finally gave up. It was a nice night and I wanted to check out the city anyway. So, I started walking. I took my time and got back in half an hour.

My next adventure of the day was getting dinner. I was hungry and didn't want PB&J or oatmeal...the two items in my home. The first place I tried ended up being just a coffee and milk place. How was I supposed to know? A little girl from the back came up and told me this when her parents called for her. She was no more than seven, but could speak enough english to tell me what they sold there. My next choice was a place across the street that said they served wantons. I went in and tried to order wantons but they didn't understand. So I tried saying fried rice and they didn't understand. I then tried asking for dumplings which they sort of understood, but looked at me weird anyway. They then pointed to a sign and asked if this is what I wanted or at least I think that is what they said. I said yes, because I was hungry and it only cost a dollar. I ended up with dumplings! So I must have said the word right...go me! Finally I was full and ready to call it a night.

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