Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Photos

Here are some more photos from the land of the Chinamen. Enjoy!
Our traveler’s checks in the grip of the Chinese banks ignorance!
The bank that finally let us cash in our dang traveler’s checks…MONEY IN HAND!! And it only took TWO months!
Sun-Yat Sen memorial building
Workin’ it out, Chinese style, with Monika Nordlander. You should have seen the faces we were getting: Priceless!
This is an example of signs found in China. My favorites were #7, 6 and 4. Ohh China.
at the Chen Family compound (a Relief Society outing)

Some serious ivory sculpting
Koi anyone?
Being a domestic diva: making bread with friend Leslie (don’t mind the awful picture, a little Chinese lady who doesn’t know picture etiquette took it.)
More fun with fish!

A very unusually clear day: view from our apartment
Fire drill, Chinese style
Our friends the Nordlander’s adorable son Johnny Owen

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Down time in China

I haven't done too great at keeping up with our random pictures postings, so here are a few of the things we have done with our spare time here in Guangzhou, China. Prepare to be inundated!

This was one of our favorite things we’ve done in Guangzhou. We went for a “hike” up to Baiyuan Shan (White Cloud Mountain- it’s actually just a big hill, but it’s their version of mountains). It offered a great view of all Guangzhou, at least what could be seen through the smog. It was nice excursion out of the city and it was a relief to be surrounded by greenery again.

This is how we spent most of our time when we arrived here…hanging out at police stations for hours on end, and not for the reasons that you are thinking, I’ve been behaving myself. It was all for the seemingly endless race of getting the ever coveted red stamp on various, and I mean VARIOUS, papers in order to get residency. Wheeeee!!!

Eating food in forms we’re not exactly accustomed to.

Rob playing Mahjong (the real Chinese way, not the Americanized version, don’t worry, I didn’t know there was a difference either).

Yeah! There’s an IKEA here too!

Don’t worry; I’m still a dork in China.
Splurging at “The Mexican Restaurant” (yes, that’s really the name of the restaurant, I guess that means there’s not much competition for Mexican food here) with our friends the Nordlanders.

Celebrating the Mid Autumn Festival by enjoying a moon cake…well, it wasn’t really enjoyable, people just eat them because it’s tradition.

Our cheap meal= a box of 10 jiaozi (dumplings) for a whopping 3 kuai (about 25 cents). Unfortunately we became rather disenchanted with them pretty quick. It’s probably a good thing since the place we would get them at got demolished not too long ago.  Don’t worry, no serious sicknesses for us yet!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

America the Beautiful-Isn't democracy a wonderful thing!

Yesterday Rob and I were able to attend the American Chamber of Commerce in South China 2008 U.S. Presidential election party (wow, that was a mouthful). It was quite an event. Surprisingly enough there was at least 20 Chinese people to every 1 American. We expected it to be much different. We learned several interesting facts during our time there. Apparently AmCham and the U.S. Consulate had invited many Chinese university students. However, once the universities caught word of it, mysteriously there arose a number of mandatory meetings for these students. So, despite those mandates, more students than expected attended. Once you walked in the door many free prizes were given out: buttons for each candidate, American flags, AmCham tote bags, and hats that stated “America Votes” (as viewed below). There was also an option for attendees to enter a voting both enclosed by large American flags and cast their vote and receive an “I Voted!” sticker. Welcome to democracy China! Something I regret not getting a photo of was also what I found to be one of the most interesting, but expected, sights; there was the ubiquitous presence of a Communist officer standing in the middle of the room. I figure he was there as a reminder of directive. That’s one thing I’ve learned about the communist government here. They give off an air of allowing the Chinese people freedom to explore different facets of livelihood while keeping the ever-present regulations and parameters controlled completely by the government.
While I ran off to my Chinese language class to hear about my teacher’s beloved “Chairman Mao”, Rob underwent several interviews about who he voted for, why he made that choice, and what he feels would happen. He spoke to me about one particularly well informed or well prepared young lady. She asked him what he felt about Barrack being “black” and how the American people would react if he was elected President. She also asked him about Alan Greenspan and the economic turmoil. This elicited interesting comments from both sides (Rob’s and the Chinese girl’s). Overall, it was mostly just fascinating to observe what was probably many people’s first analysis of a country run by democracy. It made me grateful to live in such a world that these types of events are possible, but even more to be a citizen of a country that allows us such great freedoms and opportunities.
God Bless America!

Rob posing with "Uncle Sam". He's actually a guy from our branch that works for the American consulate.

This is the freebie hat. I know you are all very jealous at how attractive I look in it :)