William Chow's Personal Web Page

This is my first ever trip to the orient in 2005. This is the beginning of my adventure into China.

Week 7 (April 3/2005 - April 9/2005)

Sunday, April 3/2005

Today, we are both feeling much better. I think we are both in that recovery phases of our cold/flu.
Monday, April 4/2005
Today, is the real first day out and about for a long time. We started really early in the morning at 6:00am to go to the farmer's market. I didn't know it but really early in the morning, there is a stretch of street across the street in front of the park, a lot of street venders and farmers bring their stuff for a few hours to sell. Of course there is your usual junk like clothes and household accessories, but more importantly, you can buy fresh vegatables, fish, and even meats. There are a couple cooking vendors making Chinese doughnuts, shumi, buns and pancake like things. I definitely had to pick up some of those Chinese doughnuts.

After lunch, we walked downtown via those DVD/VCD shops I found a few days ago on Fengyutan Jie. With Ami's help, she helped me find a second floor to one of the stores that had a huge selection of US movies. They were cheap. Most of the movies were 6 or 8 yuan each. I picked up about 10 movies that I wouldn't pay real money to see in the theatre, and I wouldn't even pay $10.00 discount bin price for, but for $1.00, sure it would be cheaper than me to download and burn it. I can see why, piracy of movies and movies is not a big deal here in China. The prices are already so rock bottom cheap, you wouldn't need to pirate them.

Anyway, after a long walk, we ended up downtown again by the New-Mart and the Happy Family Mall. We walked a bit north and lo and behold there was another McDonald and another KFC, but even better there was the Wal-Mart. We went inside to find that it was laid out like Carrefour with the main floor with all the clothes and home stuff and sporting stuff, and the next floor was the grocery store with a full meat, and produce and bakery and parmamacy in it. I found a nice cheap knapsack to help carry my things back home since I bought too much here. We also found those light bulbs needed to fix some of the lights in Ami's living room. The only thing that was really Wal-Mart-ish was their sale signs. However, I didn't see a Wal-mart greeting person at the front of the store. Oh well, they had lots of sales agents for each of the departments like all the other superstores.

We bought some Wal-mart fried chicken which was actuallly really good. The breading was crunchy without being over spicy or salty. The other good surprise was the shelled peanuts. They had a good roasted flavour which the ones we bought at Carrefour were not as good.

Tuesday, April 5/2005
This morning at around 2:00am it rained. It was a hard rain, big drops, and the wind was whipping it around at a good speed too so it smacked on the window pretty hard. It didn't rain a lot but it was enough to make the guys at the TV tower turn off the lights. The building with the clock read out turned that off. And many of the KTV places with all the neon turned off their lights too, It made the city look kinda dark in the rain.

In the morning, the sidewalks were drying off. It didn't rain enough to get the water in the reservoir going but I guess it was enough to clean off the streets a bit.

Wednesday, April 6/2005
Today was a kinda bleek day, but it was the warmest it was going to get all week. However, the relative humidity was up to 60%, Oh well, I needed to go to Obi to pick up those hinges or else I wasn't going to get any work around the house done. So I left around 2:00pm for a cursory search for the computer street.

I got down the Carrefour and walked across the McDonald bridge because I remembered a street dealer selling some English CDs. Well, to my luck he was there again. Now, since I have no language skills to negotiate price, I just put my headphones on and just browsed for a single CD. I found and pulled a Japanese "Tunnels" CD, and the "Best Of Madness" CD, gave him a 50 yuan bill. He gave me 30 yuan change. Ah... obviously the price was 10 yuan a CD. I suppose a bit high since a new CD is about 10 yuan, however, I haven't seen the likes of these CDs that he had here. So after leaving to go to McDonalds for a McChicken sandwich, I had a coupon for a McChicken and a drink for 8 yuan. Anyway, I returned to the guy and bought 4 more CDs, now that I know the price is 10 yuan. Cheap, since most used CDs that I buy from the flea market is $2.00 Cdn or $3.00 Cdn anyways (12 to 18 yuan).

Anyway, I kept walking down the street, and suddenly I saw the War Memorial at Heping Square. That is when I realized I must have walked way way too far and passed the computer street. So it turns out, it was back at SanJu Jie back at the hardware store. Oh well. Since I was this far, I continued to Obi. Unfortunately, it started to rain when I was on Nan5Malu. It was light so I made a quick break for the Obi. There was some brillant pink flashes of lightning that light up the sky. I counted the distance, and the storm front was at least 8 seconds away (the flash of lightning is 8 seconds ahead of the thunder). I was normally use to seeing a blue flash, but I guess it is pink-red because of the particle matter in the dirty air. I made it to Obi when the storm front was still 5 seconds away. I spent about a half an hour inside looking for the right hinges. The staff was not particularily helpful in that I didn't see the hinge in the section that I bought them before. Of course, she was ready to give up, but I kept checking each hinge in the section, until I came across another section for the smaller hinges, where I was sucessful and got what I needed.

When I was ready to leave, the rain was just pouring down. There were huge puddles of water everywhere. It is obvious that Shenyang's drainage system was not all up to snuff. The pedistrians had to try walk around the big puddles, the bicycle people had to swerve into traffic to avoid some of the big puddles. The cars were just plowing through some of the puddles and splashing everyone on the sidewalk. Well, I didn't want to stand at the Obi door forever waiting, I wanted to take a short hop to the CD shop or maybe the Fu Market so I can continue browsing while the storm was passing. So I made a break for it. I wasn't in the rain long but my jacket got soaked and my pants got pretty wet by the time I arrived at the Fu Market. The storm front was only 1 or 2 seconds away, so that was good. The front of Fu market was bad. Nan5Malu is a 6 lane road, there was a puddle at the two diagonal corners. The one in front of the market was 3 lanes big, and any car that came by would cause splashes as the cars came by. Many cars took the puddle slowly for fear that their car engine would get flooded. The other corner away from the market had a puddle about 2 lanes big so people on that corner were having fun navigating around this mess.

I got into the market and put my bag and wet jacket into a locker. Just as I started to walk over to the esealator to the market, a lightning blast took out the power to the lights. Oh hurray... Everyone was kinda fumbling around under emergency power. This lasted about 10 minutes before they got the power back up again. The market is not too different than most out there like Carrefour or Wal-Mart or Zhongxing. I wasted about another hour in this market wandering around and browsing through the DVDs. I did manage to find a King Of Fighters 2004 game for the PC for 10 yuan, and Langrisser 2 and 3 for 15 yuan each because they were 2 CD-rom games. Two discs? hm... I guess I will find out later why, but they are breast man games so why not.

I went to leave and there was lots of people standing in the front of the market doors waiting for the rain to subside. It slowed down a bit and I didn't hear any thunder so I decided to make a break for a taxi or the bus stop on Nan5Malu. I waited over 20 minutes, but there were no available taxis. It was around 5:00pm so all the people are leaving work and school so I expected them to be pretty busy. I waited for a non-cheap bus but all I got was the cheap 1 yuan buses and they were packed! Anyway, the rain soon stopped and I took that as my cue to make a break for it.

I made it to the KFC by the Korean Embassy and took a pit stop because it was starting to get dark. I ordered the bucket combo for 59 yuan again and 2 of the chicken wraps. What was funny was I ordered the wraps just by motioning the jesture of rolling something up, and the clerk kid knew what I meant. I also motioned two of them and said, "leng goi" which is Cantonese, since Manderin two is "Arh". Again the clerk knew I meant two. Impressive...

I made it home about 2 hours late, but none worse for wear. Nothing a good hot shower couldn't fix...

Thursday, April 7/2005
Today we planned an early trip to computer street. The ironic thing was that I was at the base of the computer street when I reached the hardware store, but I missed the turn. Oh well. We went today to look for my GPS CF card. Unfortunately, after looking at the all the various shops, all we found was some weird no name PCIMA card one, and we found booth was an authorized Garmin Dealer, but they didn't have any of the CF or SD versions of the GPS.

After this, we took a taxi to ZhongXing Market. To my surprise, the market was really close the Obi that I went to. We ended going to the VCD/DVD shop that I missed. It was actually quite big and had some good stuff in it. Also while walking down Zhonghu Jie, we found the second WalMart. Wow, everything is so close and just under my nose... hahhaa.

Anyway, we went to the market to buy the bread twists I like. The market here uses oil to deep fry them unlike many of the other markets like Carrefour, which uses an oven to bake them.

Friday, April 8/2005
I woke up rather early today and I started to take and install those hinge sliders on the broken cabinet doors that are in the kitchen and dining room. Man, I think the guy who built the cabinets is a lazy dumb ass. He cheated and did so many shortcuts when doing the installation of the cabinet doors. No wonder they are all screwed up after five years. I fixed most of them however, I was short about 4 hinges and some of the doors were built so poorly, I need a wood file to fix some of the doors.

This morning, I was sitting with Ami. A depressed mood feel between us as we come upon the reality that we quickly approaching my final week here in Shenyang. Coupled with a few key yet rather insignificant events to me, she had realized that she didn't want me to leave her. It really started to hit her when we were in Wal-Mart buying the knapsack triggered the reality that I was getting ready to leave. The second kicker event was how late I was during the big storm, and how much my missing presence means to her. And probably third event, was how much effort I was putting into the light repairs to her cabinet hinges and the changing of some burnt out light bulbs. It is today, that she accepted my proposition for marriage and join me in Canada.

I decided to take a nice walk downtown to get those light bulbs from the Wal-Mart. On the way, I was planning to drop by the VCD shop to pick up the rest of the season one of the Snoopy story on VCD to finish my DVD boxset I bought in Beijing. Even in her emotional state, she wanted to join me.

We took a new bus route #117 to the VCD shop on Fengyutan Jie. I found the 8 VCDs needed to fill my season one. Stupid thing was that the marked price on the shelf was 8 yuan for each VCD but when they rang it in the computer it was 9 yuan. Of course, this cheesy shop didn't admit their mistake and insisted the computer is right. What a bunch of ass holes. Well, I said so what, if it wasn't for the the fact this is the only place that had the VCDs, I would have went elsewhere. Oh well, the stupid fucks ripped me off of a whole 8 yuan, it is last 8 big yuan they will get from me. NO Big deal, it is not like I will ever come back there EVER again.

After taking the bus downtown, I walked by a street front arcade downtown. It had many Rock Fever rhythm games and one Ez Do Dance game. It is located on Changjie Jie just down from the McDonalds downtown. Like the street arcades on Granville Street, the games can be hard to play during the day due to all the light from the outside.

Anyway, we headed into the WalMart to buy the lights. When we were leaving we wanted to drop by the KFC to buy a cola slurpee. However, their ice machine wasn't working... Damn...

We walked around downtown, and I came across a CD shop that was selling these custom DJ mixes. I hear a lot of shops playing remixed songs and they sounded pretty good. So I decided to try one of them out. They were 5 yuan each and they were CDRs burned on those CDRs that looked like mini-records.

We got the restaurant called Europaer, it is just down the street from the McDonalds. It serves a lot of English foods like pasta and pizza and steak as well as alot of fancy desserts with ice creams and coffee. I order the spagetti in bolanese sauce. And this time, it was really good and actually tasted like tomato sauce with ground beef! We also ordered a beef pizza, which had the proper baked pizza crust and the right melted cheese on top. They were playing a Carpenters Karaoke DVD on the TV screens. After the Carpenters ended, they put a Westlife DVD in, UGH! As an interesting note, there was a lone elderly white foreigner in the restaurant. He struck up a conversation with the Chinese guy at the table next to him in English. Surprising! Anyway, from the way he spoke he sounded European English, maybe England, but possibly British Hong Kong, maybe even Austrailian.

Saturday, April 9/2005
Today, is the beginning of a really busy week. After making some long distance calls back home to get a list of what things we need to do. I broke it down to a couple key elements. Because we waited so long to decide to get married, it came to how long it will take to courier my single certificate papers from Canada to here. If it doesn't make it in 5 days, I will run out of time an will need to change my departure date for my flight out. A call to ANA, revealed that the only flight with space from Shenyang to Narita is on the following Sunday. Unfortunately, the flight from Narita to San Francisco isn't until that Tuesday. They can put me up in their hotel for one night but they probably can't do two nights. The agent needed to confirm what she can do, I won't know till Monday.

Also this morning, we made some phone calls to some of Ami's government friends, to see if anything can be done with the marriage office. Maybe we can do the paper work, and let the single certificate arrive a little later for verification... Again, we won't know what can be done till Monday.

I started this morning with a rather usual creation. I took some smoked ham that we bought from the Zhongxing market, some cheese and a toasted hogie bun. It actually made a rather nice tasting sandwich.

Anyway, today we had to pick up Alexanderia from the Stadium stop. We were fortunate that her bus just arrived just as we arrived in the taxi. An interesting note about the taxi was that the guy had a Sony car CD deck in his cab, but even better he was playing a CD with 80's English music in it. In our brief ride, I heard "She Works Hard For The Money" by Donna Summers and "In My House" by the Mary Jane Girls.

Today we went downtown to go to a photograph store to book a photo shoot and package. After looking at some really artistic photoshoped examples books, we settled on a package which was 1688 yuan. It included an assortment of pictures of different sizes, a cdrom of the images and a nice bound book. We actually picked the 1388 yuan package but just as we were leaving, some other agent was showing another couple a wall scroll of a picture. It is then I decided, "Wow, I want one of those..." So we upgraded to the next package... I am sure they just "Loved" us for that... Oh I just love making more work for sales people...

While we were downtown, we had dropped by the stationary shop to buy red wedding invitations and some contineous computer paper with tractor feed. Yea, I know, Ami still has a dot matrix printer, an old Epson LQ-1600.

Today for dinner we had the fried chicken that we bought from Wal-mart the other day.

Proceed To Week 8