OK the last one wasn’t actually the last one. Just a few more tidbits of useless information. When we arrived for check at the Hilton, I spied this in the lobby:
AHA! Should be all set for morning; was planning my attack when I noticed that the woman checking us in spoke perfect English, so just to be sure… Me: “Excuse me. Is that coffee in that pot?” Nice check in lady: “No sir. That is hot lemon water.” Of course. So the first order of business when I got into the room is to check the caffeine stash. I found this:
Yeah, I know it’s Sanka, which no one in the western world drinks anymore, but here it’s gold. I’m all set. Speaking of hotels, I am not much of a world traveler, nor cosmopolitan in the least so I had not seem a light switch like this before.
Note the “insert key for power” label. Well the first one of these did not have a label. The lights were on when I came into the room. I sat down to rest for a bit and the lights went off. It was after dark. I turned on my cell phone to see, and I went out the the switch, which is by the door, put my key in the slot and pressed all the buttons, and the light came back on. I walked back in, put my key on the table, sat down, started to do something, don’t recall what, and the lights went off. Dang! I repeated this excercise once or twice more, before I figured I needed a new plan. I studied the thing for a while with the key in the slot, until if finally hit me to leave the darn thing in there and see what would happen. It worked. In the subsequent hotels, the switches have been more complicated with up to 8 choices, and another set in the bedroom area. They have labels, but : 1. The labels don’t always make sense so it is really trial and error to turn the lights on and off, and 2: Sometimes the labels are flat out wrong. So “bedside”. Turns on the bathroom mirror light.
I saw this in the shopping mall in Beijing. Kai said that since the Chinese get along better with the Russians than we Americans do, they get beer. We didn’t buy any, but I would love to try . Speaking of beer, craft beer is not here. Might be a great business opportunity for someone out there…
It’s now 8 AM here in Beijing. Last night was windy so the air seems much better today.
A bit about the internet here. There are places you cannot go. No Facebook, no Google, No CNN. Not allowed. However if you purchase a VPN at home you can use it here to sort of trick the government that you are in Australia or Singapore, or Finland. Mine has not always worked here. Until a year or two ago the Chinese could purchase a VPN Plan too, but then the government figured out a way to block them. It is really too bad, but the government knows information is power. Speaking of the government, we were discussing the total number of dairy cows in China and Kai says actually nobody knows the real number. Farmers must tell the government officer how many they have, but he says they all lie to the officer because they think the government may pay them money sometimes on a per cow basis. So they might double the number. Thus he thinks the official 9 or 10 million is way too high.
Great meal again last night:
By the way, every meal here, except for breakfast, has been family style. All dishes are in the middle of the table, and one reaches in with chopsticks. You can put it in your bowl if you like by mostly people just put it directly into the mouth. The green stuff above is leaves from the pea plant, and they are tasty.
I feel quite safe here. For example, I only saw one parked bicycle with a lock. The rest are just left there. I would not worry about going out alone.
By the way, more about the duck. It turns out that restaurant was established in the early 1400s. I don’t see how that is possible and I can’t imagine what a restaurant looked like back then.
Well, I am in the airport and will be boarding soon. So this is the end of this long story. I will sign off with this:
The other day one of the hotel clerks gave me this gift. It is for the celebration of Chinese New Year. One is to post this above and on the sides of your front door. The message on the one side and the top are something about having good luck, wealth and happiness. The on the other side says “Everything will be OK” . Or in other words, just roll with it…..I
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog; it was a lot of fun to write it. I would really like to know your feelings about it. Enjoyed it? Hated it? Somewhere in between? If you don’t mind, please leave a comment. Thanks! Goodbye from Beijing.