More… #11-15

Well here are more “observations” from China…

11. Fireworks. I think fireworks were invented here and they are big for Chinese New Year. They are to help scare away demons or bad spirits. Fireworks can go off at any time of year though… just because. Almost every Saturday morning (around 8AM) someone sets off a few in our building complex and man are they LOUD. No sparkle just noise. When they are done they leave behind a small pile of red papers, that the men with the funny little twig brooms, come and sweep all away. Poor Holly doesn’t know where to hide when they go off -she tries to run in all directions at once. We are on the 14th floor and they are set off on the ground… one day I watched from the balcony and my ears were ringing. They are pretty powerful as the one guy was knocked backwards as it went off.

12. Crazy carts… speaking of things going in many directions… carts here have wheels that go around in 360* so trying to push one takes skill and a lot of upper body strength since they want to go sideways as you push it forward. Most stores we have been too have a ramp, like escalator, and the wheels are magnetic so you can push them to the escalator and then let go… the cart will stay and be pulled to the top (or bottom)!

13. Magnets – the door stops here have magnets too, so the door will stay open and not blow shut or slowly close. We have that here in the apartment and at school. Some of them are quite strong and you have to give a good tug to get it to release. I know at home schools have the magnets to hold fire doors open and they release during a fire alarm… these are different. These are attached to the small door stop on the bottom of the door.

14. Wrappings & Recycling -the Chinese don’t really recycle (some people go through garbage to find recyclables to make money) but for over 1 billion people they just throw things away. The other thing that bothers me is how they double and triple wrap things… so many things come in packages that are tough thick plastic and hard to open and after you struggle to open it you discover there is another wrapping! So much plastic… what a waste! The funniest was the lime we bought… they were in a plastic bag and when I opened the bag they were each wrapped individually in a Saran like wrap.

15. Combinations – I have seen the oddest combinations of things here and I just wonder why… then remember this is China and anything goes! I found popcorn one day… looked like caramel corn, but luckily there was English too because imagine my surprise as I ate coffee flavoured popcorn! I bought what I thought was Cheetos one day. They looked like the ones at home, but they tasted funny… turns out they are “steak flavour”. It was OK, but not something I will buy again. They also have a fascination with blueberries. Since the first day I have seen blueberry chips, so I had to try them yesterday… not a strong flavour, but a bit sweet. Chips as  rule are sweet and not salty. I tried lime and they tasted like key lime pie. Last night we went to another teachers for dinner and they bought ice cream for dessert. Her husband said he saw cheese and fruit ice cream. We were so disapointed he didn’t get that kind! Wednesday is Mid-Autumn Festival and moon cakes are the big thing to give as gifts (they say its like mince-pie at Christmas for the English) and I have tried the sesame paste, fruit ones (strawberry and pineapple) and lotus (tastes like peanut butter)which are good. The common ones are red bean paste and ones with meat and a duck egg (hardboiled) in the centre to represent the full moon. YUCK!  Whenever you go shopping there is so much competition many companies send representatives to show you their product or give way free stuff. With cookies we got a pencil-case the one time, yoghurt had extra ones taped on for free… but remember this is China. We have seen some ODD combinations like a 4 pack of batteries comes with a nail clipper. Why do batteries require a nail clipper? Or vice versa… The best combination was the day we were at the train station and someone bought a laptop and taped to the side of the laptop was a container half full of water with 2 baby turtles inside!  Now that would convince me to buy! Who comes up with this…. hmm I think if we gave away free turtles people would buy our laptops!

You can’t make this stuff up… it really happens. That is what makes it so interesting here. We live in the “new section” if we were in the older section I am sure there would be volumes of weird stuff to see. I have to start carrying a camera and taking photos… I can explain in words, but to see it would be priceless!

I have Wednesday off this week for Mid-Autumn festival, so I will try to write more…

Take care and stay tuned for more…

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