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 8 (April 10/2005 - April 16/2005)

Sunday, April 10/2005

Today was another busy day of running around doing bookings. Early, this morning we had to meet up with Ami's brother's wife, to book a banquet room at a hotel. We found a rather nice one at this four star hotel. From what I could tell, the banquet menus were broken into packages. The room rental looked like it was 300 yuan for a 8 hour booking, which was pretty reasonable for a 30 person room with arm chairs around the room and a front stage area for a dance or karaoke. The meal plan that was choosen was a middle one at 788 yuan. Looking at the prices for liquer and smokes, they really milk the money on those. It is 15.00 yuan for a 600ml bottle of Snow Beer, which sells for around 6 or 7 yuan at Carrefour. Smokes are 38 yuan a pack, which could be bought for under 20 yuan on the street. And I won't get into the wine prices but they looked pretty steep. On the bright side, the hotel was going to change the table settings to red, they were throwing in a huge red good luck banner, and they were throwing in a 7 layer tower of wine glasses and a wedding cake,

From here we zipped down to Obi to buy those last few hinges I needed, a wood file and a wood chisel and a two metre piece of PVC piping. Ami was really quite surprised how I even found such a store because it was not really easy or very obvious where it was. Actually, she thought it was in the other city district, because of the bus loop near by, but not quite. The border is the street where the train station is, and that is across the street.

From here, we walked over to Zhongxing market to buy Alexanderia her food. Along the way, we found the second location of the "Europaer" restaurant here. The PVC piping was getting to be pain to carry in some ways because it was just taller than I was. It was cheap and it stronger than cardboard, so I plan to use it as a shipping tube for the portrait and the wall scroll. Anyway, when we couldn't get the coat check didn't want to accept our items for check in, which I though was really stupid. After all, how hard is it to give us a stupid bag check tag for a small plastic bag and a tube which could placed on the floor or on top of the lockers? Oh well, bag check clerks is not a very pleasant job to work, I can see where they get easily irratated.

Anyway, this means I will go to the McDonalds in the mall to eat and watch the stuff while Ami goes in to buy the stuff. Of course the McD is packed with line ups at every clerk. I ordered a Big Mac Combo, supersized and an extra double cheese. Well, I will have to say the burgers tasted fine, but the large drink is only a regular size in Canada. And the super sized fries box I got was just the large sized box about half full of fries. What a bunch of cheapskates. Anyway, I managed to find a window seat to sit down, while Ami went off to the market.

While sitting and eating, a group of three foreigners sat beside me. From what I can gather from their rather brief bit of dialog, they were German. One of them was notably puzzled at how his McChicken looked like. Probably at the fact that the picture shows a McChicken with a sort of extra crispy breaded fillet of chicken. What he got was more like the light flat breading you get on the fish burger or fish and chips. Ha! He learns that at McDonalds, the food never looks as good as it does in the picture! He also ordered the supersized fries, and from his expression, it didn't look like he was very impressed at his serving size or the taste of his fries. Ah... congratulations, you know that you shafted you too! So, remember when you are in China, don't bother paying the extra two yuan to supersize. They should rename it to supershafting or the McRip.

Anyway, so after a bit I finished my food and I had to get up to get another double cheese. Well, of course my seat got taken when I got back. Worse yet, it was by a bunch of stupid bitches who just came in to sit down and drink their bottled pop that they bought from Zhongxing market. Of course, they didn't read the sign that says, the seating is only for the consumption of McDonald's foods! This is another one of those Chinese people only know how to take care of themselves not anyone else. Well, since I still had my two metre pipe sitting along the window sill, I stood by the table side to eat my food standing. I made sure to eat over their table to allow crumbs to fall. I coughed a few times on them for extra good measure. Unfortunately I didn't drink enough to develop enough gas to fart in their face. They soon got up and left so I sat down and finished the remaining half of my burger. Good timing too, since Ami returned at this point. Just as we were leaving, another set of three foreigners were walking into the McDonalds. I guess they will find out how unpleasurable the dining experience is in China.

We got to the line up of taxis outside. We had a bit of trouble getting the piping into the stupid red Mazda of a taxi but we angled across the front and back seat which worked. Incidently, the largest cab company here is the CDi. The majority of their fleet is red cars. I am going to guess that majority of the drivers are independantly operated vehicles, so they have many brands of cars ranging from Mazdas, Volkswagons, Mitsubishis, Sentras, and a few others. The main common factor about them all are their red colour.

After making it home to get Alexanderia, we had to make it back out to drop her off at the bus loop again. That was easy enough. From there, we had to drop wedding invitations off at one of her government co-worker's place, the one with all the dogs.

From there, it was just starting to get dark. We walked to Carrefour to see if we can find a pair a black dress shoes for the dinner. Well, the biggest size they had was 44 which in US sizes is 9.5. Well, I take a 10 even a 11 normally. So you can guess, whatever I found was just right or too tight. I managed to find some casual French style slip on which was comfortable enough.

We got back home, and I started to load the printer up with the paper. That is when I realized that the paper's tractor feed is not perferated and thus not removable. Oh well, it wasn't that important if it still has the perfs.

Monday, April 11/2005
Today is the first day of a many number of things to do that might effect the time my flight leaves. First thing to do was to go out to the cheap market to get a wedding dinner dress. Yea, I know it sounds kinda funny, but apparently the Wuai Market, has a whole section to formal men's and women's attaire including wedding wear. So, we meet up with Ami's brother's wife again, because it is here were she rented her dress. When I got upstairs, I soon realized the entire floor of this market building was formal wear. There was both western style bridal dresses as well as evening dresses as well as many red and black Chinese style dress and shirt/dress combinations. We browsed through many booths but I had quickly settled on the fact that I wanted a Chinese style dress. Sure it may seem stereotypical, but yea, I wanted the standard red "Lynn Minmay" or "Shampoo" dress. We had found and agreed on one that had a red mesh over the shoulders for 200 yuan, however, when trying different ones on, they did not have a new one in stock. So, it was back to looking. We again agreed on one with a V-neck and a black/silver flower design on the front of it. Unfortunately, they didn't have the right size for her. The girl at the booth said she could order another one in that was her size and have it altered to suit fit for 120 yuan. That we could do.

So we started walking home a rather roundabout way so we can hit the barbar shop to cut my hair. When we got there, it she was able to quickly find the boss of the shop who normally does her hair. The shop is otherwise full of teenaged kids as workers. She was right about boss, he did a really good job cutting the hair to the right length and making it uniform. He suggested that I colour my hair for the photographs. That was a good idea, since it will get rid of the stray whites that I had. So I sat another 50 minutes in the chair while they comb in the hair color. After a good rise through and dry, my hair looked really good. The guy even tried to say "handsomer" in English.

It was at this time, Ami did her phone calls that she needed. The government co-worker that she knows gave her the information that we needed. When we go to the marriage office, we would both have to fill out and prepare the form and submit it. We have to wait for it to be processed and we have to both be present to pick up the marriage booklet. Now, the good news about all this is, if we do submit the forms in the morning, it is possible to pick up the processed booklet by that same evening. That is great! So if my single forms that Heiu sent out by Expresspost gets here on Thursday or Friday or even Monday, then everything can be processed and done before I leave Tuesday. Our only worry is that all the paper work we have is accepted. That we won't know until we do the do the forms on that day.

We headed back home to get a little lunch. We had some pork and potatoes with instant noodles. After a small rest, Ami decided she needed to have her nails done today before we do the photo shoot tomorrow. So we headed down to Happy Family Mall again. She was going to go do her nails, which she said will take a hour. So I went off to the arcade and told her to meet me there when she was done. Well, it so turns out that the arcade was closed for today, I think they were adding new games or something. So I decided to go to the other arcade for an hour, and then come back to this one and wait for her. It didn't take long to walk down the street to the McDonalds and walk down Chaoyao Jie a bit and enter the games room. I bought 10 yuan worth of tokens which is 20 tokens, or in my case 5 games of Ez2Do Dance. Everything was good except for the sunlight glare on the screen due to the location of the machine. On my last game, the last token didn't feed in right. I tried to use the return coin lever, but I think I jammed it even more by trying to use that. Oh well, I was out of time anyway so I was going to leave the 3 credits in the machine. Some guy who was sitting on a bench behind me, flipped me a token. I smiled and thanked him and then tried to put it in the slot. As I figured the other coin was still stuck inside it. So he called the attendant over to open it up and unjam it. I played my game and some chick comes by and loads her coins in too. After playing my second song, she commented something about waving my arms over the sequences. I think she was refering to doing some of the diagonal hand motions by doing an arm swept rather than doing a two hands. I smiled and jestured the "Para Para" starting pose and proceeded to practice a few swings in Para. I'm sure she was just being helpful, after all, I don't any of these kids sees anyone as old as I am playing this thing. But then again, I don't have my white hairs so, maybe I do look younger and handsomer...

Well, I got back the closed arcade and waited. I had to wait an hour there, she didn't show up so I had to go downstairs to the street. I found a payphone at a food stand. I actually is just a regular house phone for the concession stand, but they charge 4 jiao (0.60¥ yuen) to use their phones. I called Ami's cell phone. I turns out she took an hour and half to do her nails. She had just arrived at the arcade to find out it was closed. hahahha.... So I told her to wait and I came back up.

We then went outside to the market to find and buy some dress socks since the sports socks I have make my dress shoes rather tight. We found a street vendor selling them 2 pairs for 15 yuan. I also dropped by the DJ shop to buy another 10 yuan DJ mix. The one I got had a few songs repeated a few times but it had two popular slow Chinese songs remixed and jazzed up.

When we got back home, I had to cook fried rice and clean the dishes, so Ami doesn't muck up her nails.

Tuesday, April 12/2005
Ok, it is an early morning riser today as our photo shoot begins at 8:00am. We woke up early for a bread breakfast. I wanted to make bacon and eggs since I wanted to cook all the bacon but Ami made too much bread for that so, I just made enough for one bacon and egg and cheese sandwich for lunch. While I was making the sandwich, Ami was gathering many things like extra socks and shoes and shirts just incase things were not fitting at the place.

We get there and it is already mildly busy as there were two other couples getting ready to do their shoots. We got lockers to put our clothes and shoes into and we got house slippers to wear. First place we go to is the face makeup department. Ami was first she needed the "woman" things done to her face. While she was doing that I was watching some TV. There was a weird Wheel of Fortune knock off game. In stead of a wheel, they used a giant baseball sized steel pinball, and the rolled into this round pinball/pachinko like machine with money/prize slots at the bottom, and instead of Vanna White turning boxes with letters it was "Annie" walking up to a monitor and pointing to it, and it would change the image on that screen. When the contestant has "to spin the wheel", he would take the ball and yell "Lucky Ball Go" and roll the ball along the outer launch ring and it would roll into the pinball machine where it will land in a prize amount. The puzzle was not a word phrase, but it was a 13 card mahjong hand, and it wasn't letters you had to guess, but it was mahjong tiles in the hand. The hands were zero point chicken hands which consisted of 3 chows and 1 pung. The one guy was really lucky and got the 20000 slot and he guessed the pung tile for 60000. In the end, he won like 87,000 Yuan.

My turn at the makeup artist was short. A few powders here and there, mostly on the forehead, I suppose to get rid of the facial glow.

Anyway, when we finished that we headed into the formal wear room where they had many varieties of clothes to wear. We get to pick six changes of clothes, from Western style wedding attaire, Western style evening and formal wear, and traditional Chinese wear. We decided to go do two, two and two of each of the styles. So wedding wear, had me in a black three piece tux with waist band and tie. We decided on a thin shoulder strap white Western wedding dress without the long train to be our first change. After we had picked our clothes, we were fitted and then the hair group started working on Ami's hair. My trousers needed adjusting as I had noticed all the adjustable snaps and pins for many different sizes of men. Ami started with her hair in a simple top ball with stray strands. I noticed the two women in front of us were going all out with extra curls and extra pins to hold their hair up.

After her hair was done, and a few sprays of hair hold on my hair, we were ready for the studio. We went to a room with coloured backdrops. Our photographer was a woman, her assistant was a rather cool and easy going guy. They also had their computer expert in the room who was also a woman. They were using a Sigma SD10. If you look at the specs, it is a 10.3 million pixel Digital SLR camera, which retails for around $2000 USD.

Anyway, the first round of shots went well. Ami tells me that the photographer said my smile wasn't very good. I conveyed to them that the problem was that I didn't know when to hold the smile because I didn't hear the photographer count 1,2,3 or said "SMILE" or anything like that. It was also kind of interesting because I had to let the assistant demonstrate some of the poses because that would be faster than trying to translate what I had to do. We quickly established a communication link using head nods, and hand motions and some Engrish and some uhuh's to get our positioning right.

Our second change, Ami wanted another Western white dress but something with more shoulder. Now, one of the first couples who went in was waiting to get their shot, had on a nice V neck one. I pointed to her and we both quickly found another dress that had the similar design. I got switched over to a white tuxudo. Again, we got fitted and again we went to have our hair fixed. My tux made me look like one of those guys from the "True" music video from Spandau Ballet, or like John Travolta from "Saturday Night Fever". So when Ami was getting her hair fixed, I got bored and I was hopping around, and shuffling my feet, and doing feet slides on the stone tiled floor. I am sure I was gathering some attention from the other workers like the fitters who were just sitting around and the other two couples who were sitting around waiting or getting their hair done. Ami had her hair ball shifted and they were about to pin in network of pearls in her hair. I told her that looked stupid, so she had that removed. I told her a simple hair piece and then pin the veil back on. Simple. So they quickly did that, and gave me a few sprays of the hair hold stuff and we were back in the studio for shoot two.

The second shoot turned out very well. We were a lot more casual with the photographers. The one computer girl apparently asked Ami, "How did you meet him?" to which she answered "I found him on the street." To which she laughed and said, "Which street?!"

Ok, we headed back for change three. At this point, we were finished wedding wear, now we moved on to formal evening gowns. Now some of them just looked awful gaudy. The couple that was ahead of us picked a really ugly purple evening dress that had a lot of shiny squares all over the front of it. The guy wore a purple suit, and his wife had way way too much eye shadow and lip stick on. They looked so gay and fake. But then again, I shouldn't say thing. We picked out a nice satin gold coloured evening dress for Ami. However, the matching male suit was this peach/gold coloured suit. Man, did it ever looked like the Leslie Cheung gay suit. So, it was back into the studio for some more normal casual shoots at the mini-bar, sofa, pillars, and by the window. I kept doing the gay limp hand and changed to the gay fem voice, which made Ami a little embrassed and angry because of all the "playing around" I was doing. Shoot three finished pretty quickly without too much issue. I noticed one of the couples that was a head of us, the woman picked a blue evening dress but her problem was she was "too fat" and she was wearing a dress that "wasn't made for HER". It was so bad, they had to put a towel down her back and then used safety pins to pin the dress closed. Anyway, we were getting a head of some of the other groups because we would spend a little more time looking and picking a good dress rather than being wishy washy and trying on many. We also didn't spend too much time messing around with hair designs. Some of the staff people commented, that their we were a good couple. We were quick to pick our a nice looking dress, we must have a good eye for taste.

Now, the fourth change of clothes was another evening gown. This time I got a grey gangster mobster suit. I looked like all I needed was the hat, and I could do the Bonnie and Clyde thing. It also reminds me of those mobster guys in "Smooth Criminal" from Michael Jackson. So when Ami was getting her hair let down for a longer look, I was standing there telling her that I looked like something Michael Jackson. At which time, I did a few turns and arms snaps and few leg lifts, while humming "Annie are you out there? Are you out there?" Again she said to stop playing around, but I really couldn't help it. This was starting to turn into cosplay, and you really need to act the part out. Again, I was catching the attention of the other employees, the assistant and even the other couples in the room. I think at this point, we were ahead of the two couples that were in front of us at the beginning, because we were so quick in deciding on good clothes and had quick and smooth shoots.

Change number five brings us to the traditional Chinese attaire. At this time, I knew this was going to be 100% cosplay material. We picked out a nice red Chinese Minmei/Shampoo dress. The hair stylist was about to braid her hair, but I quickly motioned that I wanted pompom balls on the sides of her hair. Of course, Ami said "No way", and the stylist was laughing. We finally decided on a double low back hair curl more like the Chun Li from Third Strike. Now, my half of the costume was like those Chinese kung-fu movies. I had really long sleeves with a long front and back skirt, and belt sash. Now, definitely, when she was getting her Chun Li done, I was doing martial arts poses and gesturing like I was flying with the long sleeves. Now, this brought on some laughter from the staff. As we were leaving to do the shoot, Ami started out ahead of me. Just for fun, I did a few kungfu hand motions like I was casting some "chi" spell and pretended to fly along to her. That sure caught a lot of other couples attention, which now there were like four maybe even five couples now in the staging room doing wedding gowns and evening gowns. There was the one other couple with the fat woman whom was ahead of us. They tried a traditional Chinese one but the girl looked really stupid with that black "T" emporer hat on.

While we were doing the shoot for the set five, I could hear the computer tech woman playing MP3s on the computer. The song that came up by coincidence was the Chinese rap redub version of "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas. So, of course, I started humming lyrics and doing the punches and kicks and poses. The photographer laughed as I hammed it up.

We went out for our last change number six. The attendant, was commenting to us that we were very good looking. A few of the other couples were talking and waiting for our outfits because they saw how good we looked in them so they wanted to try ours out. Ha! I guess, they saw how much fun I was having with mine. Anyway, it looked like someone wanted to try our number 5 out, while we picked our number six. I decided on a red dress with a nice gold dragon on it. Little did I know, that it was my costume. I was a emporer's gown, and there was a corresponding dress for her too. It had a overly huge wooden belt that went with it. I was joking around doing a hula-hoop with this huge and stiff belt. I was about the tell the hair dresser to fix Ami's hair again until I realized that our gowns have a huge head piece that goes on it too. So it would be pointess to change her hair. Again, I did many martial art like poses since I had to be a little more careful with the belt and head piece.

Again, when we finished our shoot, a number of couples asked it they could try our costume. We quickly got out of our costumes and back into normal clothes so we can have a quick look at the pictures. They turned out quite well. There were some 120 pictures, each about 8 to 10 megs each picture.

We returned home, and Ami spent some time to put her hair into little Shampoo balls. I had to take a few pictures of this great cosplay.

In the evening, I took a short walk along the river which now has rain water in it. It unfortunately doesn't flow right now since they damed it all off and it does still smell like sewage. However, it still made for a good walk and I needed to buy some Coke and orange juice anyway.

Wednesday, April 13/2005
This morning I started to pack some of my things away. I started with all the really small things that need to be packed around the travel rail of my pull luggage. It is always the hardest part to pack since you need to find the right combination of clothes and small items to pack there to maximize best usage of space.

The first stop today is to the notary office. It is mixed in with the government office and it is where many of the documents Ami needs are obtained. For all that she needed, it was like 500 yuan. The next stop was to her local police station to get her birth certificate validated. She had lost her original one, so she needed another one. Anyway, it was down the police station, they said they couldn't help her and that she needed to get her mother's id and go to her mother's police station to do it.

So we are off to her mother's place to grab that and then to her local police office. Well, it was around 11:30am and it was almost lunch time. Nobody was at the front desk, everybody else looked like they were eating lunch or reading the newspaper. Apparently, what we are experiencing is very common in China. The public works and administration are paid salary people. They do a crap ass job and they still get paid the same amount. So, you end up with public offices with half of the staff out to lunch, taking day offs, doing their own things, and etc.. Basically, doing the minimum work necessary to get paid. Passing the buck is also very common. Ami should know, because she was a government employee and she remembers days when she wasn't feeling in the mood, and goof off all day or even just go home early. This reminds me of the good old days of Expo 86 where we were running around back and forth trying to get the illusive missing pavillion stamp.

Anyway, we finally got the validation we needed from another government office with some help of some of her old co-workers. It felt like a covert mission. We pulled up in a cab at the front door of the building. Her friend was already waiting to recieve the paper and he went back inside with it. We pay for our cab and we get out and we walk around the complex to the back door entrance. Here we meet him again with the validation stamps we needed. I told Ami how odd it was and how it was like some covert "Mission Impossible" episode. She tells me it is done this way so she doesn't run into people she knows and thus much time is lost in idle chit chat.

With that done, all the paper work that could be done is done today.

Thursday, April 14/2005
Today, Ami's mom came over to wait for the package to arrive. We had to go to the photo store "Golden Ladies", to look at the pictures from our photo shoot. That was pretty tough since out of 120+ pics, we had to pick 30 for prints. We took a lot a good pictures, about 26 solid absolutelys, and about 20 maybes. So after about 3 hours combing through the thumbnails and ACDSee, we locked down the 30 for prints, 3 large pictures and 3 small pictures.

We then went to the market to pickup the dinner dress. Unfortunately, lady luck has not been on my side today. The dress that we ordered was not ready for pick up. We have to return again tomorrow to get it. So, that only leaves one more errand to do and that is to get the papers from the notary office.

Unfortunately, the packet has not made it. Without this packet, I won't have the papers needed to finish the paperwork side of the marriage.

Friday, April 15/2005
I spent the whole day waiting for the Purolator packet. Still hasn't made it. The Purolator Web page is only marginally helpful, since it just says it "arrived at Internationaux point". Well, that is like really descriptive... For all, we know they could have sent it to China... Wait a minute... If they did that, they would have done something right for once!!

I spent most of the morning figuring out how to repack all my clothes and all the CDs and DVDs and VCDs back into my luggage. I also had the 32 kilo weight restriction too which might be an issue with that heavy jade Mahjong set I bought.

After waiting all morning and most of the afternoon, I decided to leave for my last round about the town around 3:30pm. Last delivery time for the post office is 4:00pm. I needed to go to the www.books365 store again to pick up the missing Langrissa CDs for Windows. I also want to go to Happy Family arcade to use up the last of my left over tokens.

We walked over to the bookstore and I quickly found my Langrissa 1, that I needed. However, to my surprise, I found another volume called Langrissa Millenium.

Now, off to downtown again to go to the arcade. Unfortunately, it was still closed. I asked Ami to read the sign. They were closed because they were repairing a wall. Oh well, it wasn't all that much anyway. It was only 30 yuan or about $5, and since I did play "Percussion Freaks" about 5 times and the "Ez2Do Dance" once, I got my money's worth. I will give the remaining 20 tokens, about 5-8 games to Alexanderia to use.

For dinner, Ami felt like dumplings. So we went to a small restaurant that is famous for it. The tables had an electric pan heater on them, and the soup/dumplings are prepared in front of you. We ordered 3 different types of dumplings pork, beef and lamb. They came to the table uncooked. The soup in front of us was a broth of chicken, chinese mushrooms and some other stuff. It was actually quite good on its own. The dumplings were then dropped into the boiling soup and stirred around. The place was quite close to the house so we took a stroll back home.

On the way home, we passed the night market on Caita Jie. I pointed out a VCD/DVD shop that was still open. The store itself was kinda small but the thing that stood out about it was that it actually had a decent selection of English artists, and most of them were under 20 yuan a CD. Cheap! But then again, I don't really care about losers like Eminem, R. Kelly, MLTR, Westlife, Backstreet Boys and a slew of other Rap/R&B idiots.

Saturday, April 16/2005
Today is the formal wedding dinner day.

The morning is still an easy laid back day where we are still waiting for the Purolator package. I had my mother write a letter in Chinese to be emailed to me, and I recieved that this morning. I sat around watching TV till noon. I came across a Chinese dubbed version of an old comedy show called the "Knoff Hoff Show". The show is like "Bill Nye the Science Guy" where he makes science funny and fascinating. Today's topic seemed to be pendulums. Another program that I came across was a game show which was like a kid's version of the "Weakest Link". They have a bunch of kids from schools, and they put them various questions and who ever has the lowest score after a round gets eliminated. The show is pretty normal for a kid's quiz game show, however, the part that caught my attention was the English test. The contestant has like 45 seconds on a clock. In that time, he/she will get English words. Using the process of associatation, he/she must use English words to get the "white guy" foreigner to say the English word. A funny thing happened, contestant 2 got the word "taxi" and his word association was "When you go out you take..." Of course, being as wide open as this is the response was things like money, wallet, coat, clothes. Then contestant 4 got the word "luggage", to which he said, "When you go out, you take your..." Oh great... that will work. Needless to say, these two guys eventually got eliminated...

We went downtown to the "Golden Ladies" place again, to have her hair done up. I had to wait in the couches for that to be done. Fortunately I had my iBook G4 with me, so I pulled it out and watched about half of ER season 11, episode 1 on it. Ami had her hair done up a little bushy along the top and a long length of hair. Not quite the same as we had it the other day but it was close enough.

We then went to her parents place to meet up with some of the other members of the family as they were getting ready to go. We left a little bit earlier than the rest of the pack, so we could get to the room and inspect it and start setting it up.

It was very nice. We started with us walking into the room. One of the wives who was a bit older came up and read a short letter that my mother wrote. We then procced to take a rather large bottle of wine, and poured it on a 7 layer high stack of wine glasses. After the tower of glasses, we then cut the cake.

Shortly afterwards, the food was ready. It was a 12 course dinner. Ami and I took a rest and sat away from the dinner dining room. Now this was strange. It is the first time I have been to a reception, where everyone is eating and the couple are not eating. I didn't say anything, but I am sure they do what ever they do. After all 12 courses are on the table (which wasn't long) we returned to the room to do the table to table toasts. Of course, it is customary for the woman to do all the refills or topping up of all the cups, and when using things like beer you have to drink the entire glass. Fortunately for me, there is only four tables and my glass size is only a wine goblet.

As the dinner was nearing the end, people needed to leave. So we took the group pictures in front of the red sign as they getting ready to leave. The person who was taking the still photos was using an older Nikon digital camera that used compact flash and he brought his USB adapter with him. That was easy. Now the guy who bought the digital handicam, was an old friend from another city five hour drive away. He had borrowed from work (a building company) a Sony DVR-DVD101E. This sucker uses the small 8cm DVD-R/RWs. So, I was unable to load it on to my iBook because of the slot loader is not made for this smaller DVD. Ok, no big deal, I can take care of the conversion when I get home. But no, the guy wants the disk back, and he is leaving back to his city tomorrow.

So ok, we have to spend time tomorrow to find away to copy this stupid thing. Now of course, this raised a whole pile of issues about why does he want to keep the disc so badly. I mean, why don't we buy him a new disk or just pay him enough money to buy a new one himself. But no, he wants that disk back. Then of course, there would be issue of the data on that disc. Does he need our wedding videos that desperately or maybe there is some company client data already on the disc. But then again, he is allowing us to copy the data so that is also more information disclosure issues there.

Anyway, I left the issue unresolved and let the course of the matter to its current state which is to make a copy of the disc. Now, the end of this story will be resolved tomorrow, but here is a really good lesson for all you foreigners. Make sure that if you have any special technical gadgets to bring ALL your accessories for it. Because if you need ANY technical support, you are so screwed.

  Proceed To Week 9