Jul. 27th, 2011 03:43 pm
potato_head: (kitty lick)
I made some icons from some of the photos I took in China. Y'all can take these if you want? Just make sure to credit. I might put text on some, IDK what to put on, though...

Under hurr )
potato_head: (o u o)
Sooo I just found a proxy that will actually allow me to sign in!

Yeah, just now. A day before I go home. Stop looking at me like that, you all knew how ridiculous I am already. Well, at least I'll have plenty to do tonight; if there's any friendslocked posts in particular any of you guys want me to catch up with, comment here or PM me with a link, yeah?

A quick bit about food in Shanghai:

Honestly, I don't like most of it. Boiled dumplings, other things, I don't like the staples. A lot of the rice is done more dryly? I don't know if that's really a Shanghai thing or if it's just the places we've eaten at.

But the seafood more than makes up for it. Much more than. For lunch today part of the appetizer was this um...salad (I think that's the best word for it - it was mostly celery; there was a sauce, kind of buttery I think) that had shrimp in it. Most delicious shrimp I've had. I think it was a combination of not cooking it too long, and serving it at room-temperature; the taste was...almost offensively shrimpy, is the best way I can describe it.

I am missing American food, though. I want pizza, pasta, that kind of thing; I think I might be craving red sauce in particular, which isn't unusual because I tend to when I'm on my period. My body seems to subscribe to the old idea of replacing like with like. Bleeding? Let's have some red things! When I have a cold, I crave nacho cheese. Yeah, I just compared nacho cheese with snot; who wants taco bell?

I really want more of that shrimp. Scromf.

I'm going to try to figure out how to make the fried rice I've had here. White rice, with egg, chives, and what seemed to be sea salt. Fried in...peanut oil, maybe; seems most likely, but if so the taste was light (because of the salt? or maybe because I'm getting used to peanut oil?)

I might start using more peanut oil at home, too, since my stomach handles it much better than it does vegetable oil. It might be difficult to find peanut oil in the US, but I can always try the nearest Asian grocer.

Sorry, this post is a bit discombobulated. I mostly just wanted to use a different avatar than the one I've been using for the past million years three weeks (this is a long time to my tiny brain).


Jul. 21st, 2011 09:25 pm
potato_head: (Default)
Ying seems to be sick; I was thinking about this last night, so you guys get a full, proper post. On auras! Well, more like my history with auras and my own personal aura, not very informative stuff here.

Auras )

In other thoughts, our plan for tonight is to stay up all night, to try and reduce jet-lag, and sleep on the plane. I don't think I'll have any problem with that. Dunno if we're actually doing anything today at all, although there was a plan to meet the professor we interviewed at the beginning of the week for lunch.

Also, I currently have about 4 CNY in my wallet. I don't know if it's worth it to withdraw another hundred, having only today left; I'll have another 200 when we leave the hotel (room deposit), so I'll be able to buy snacks etc. at the airport. I think I'll just borrow money and pay it back by buying things for people at the airport.

BTW, I was confused for awhile, but apparently both CNY and RMB are acceptable ways to indicate the Chinese currency (yuans)? RMB is obviously the official way, since it's etched into the side of the coins.

Two Days

Jul. 21st, 2011 10:58 am
potato_head: (Default)
So I'm going home in two days. Or more like...a day and a half. I'm about ready; this is approximately how long I can go without feeling really homesick, I think. I miss Tripper a lot, and worry about him; especially with him having been put up at a kennel while the rest of the family went to Jamaica. I worry about what he thought, when he came home and everybody was there but I was still gone. He's not used to me being away for this long. I was only half-joking when I told Amanda I was afraid he'd think I was dead. D: who knows what dogs think when you're away for longer than usual? They have no way of knowing you'll be back.

I've also lately been feeling even more the need for a cat. Tripper is my BFFL and all, but I really am a cat person, and I think I'm over Coach enough now to get another cat, although I think he'll always be my very best lifemate cat. We even had the same type of asthma! Except he died of it, and I'm not very likely to. But I've even started dreaming about cats. It would probably be different if Nikka liked me, but she only likes Paige. She looked irritated just hearing my voice over webcam the other day :P

Anyways, we were supposed to do some touristy things today, but Ying got really sick, and knowing the professor he had probably made it her responsibility to take us out even though she's never been in Shanghai in her life. IDK, when I woke up it was almost noon and it was obvious we weren't going anywhere. TBH it's fine with me, I'm kind of burned out on touristy stuff, but that might just be because I'm feeling a bit down about other things. But regardless I'm not big on touristy things to begin with.

So I spent today in my PJ's, venturing occasionally downstairs to the convenience store in the lobby to buy things for Ying and I to survive on. I haven't run around barefoot in a public place in awhile. Scandalous! In my PJs, even!


Jul. 20th, 2011 03:44 am
potato_head: (Default)
I did manage to get some pictures up, with much effort. They're here. I've also discovered that the slow internet is not the hotel's fault; it's like this throughout Shanghai, because it has the most stringent internet blocks of anywhere in China.

We interviewed a professor today who's actually from America. Texas, in fact, which I picked out immediately from his accent. He discussed a lot of interesting things that we haven't heard from many other people - like how the high-speed rails are a part of a general plan to increase transportation for economic growth, which makes a lot of sense to me; and he agreed with me as well that a lot of critics are focusing way too much on the fact that it's not a profitable project, because a government shouldn't always be concerned that a project brings in literal profit.

He was also the first one to answer our question 'why did they build it so fast?!', I realize now because he's the first person who understood why we were actually asking...apparently, that's just how the government operates here :P we're used to the US government. If the Chinese government says they're going to do something, they do it - very quickly.

There was going to be more to this post but now there's not. Sorry!
potato_head: (Default)
Just ate a ton of crawfish. Okay, so it was actually like half of a pound, but I am still pretty pleased with myself. Especially since after buying them I realized I haven't ever had to dissect a whole crawfish myself for eating, but I figured it out pretty intuitively. (A quick guide: twist the tail off, remove any stomach left on the tail, expose a bit of tail meat, bite/suck meat out of tail. Check claws if they look big enough to hold any substantial meat)

Ying ate the other half of the pound, and somehow did it much less messily than me, but she somehow manages to be less messy than me every time she eats, despite the fact that she doesn't actually eat any more politely/neatly than I do. I have resigned myself to the fact that she has some sort of special skills that allow her to use only one napkin when I use four or five.

Anyways, um...other than that...making an attempt to upload yesterday's photos to flickr; it's going kind of well so far. We were supposed to go to the museum today but went to do surveys instead.

Pamela's dislike for me seems to be growing, which is fine by me. I've been nothing but nice to her, despite my issues with anybody who was comfortably popular in grade school. As in, had any friends at all. Yeah, I know that's most people. It makes me uncomfortable, when it's brought up, which for some reason she does more often than I think is normal. But it's like a reminder, that just a few years ago this person would have been completely ignoring me, or barely tolerating me, even if we were in the same situation. I know on some level that it wasn't really the fault of the people who excluded me, mostly because of their age, but that doesn't really help.

I wonder if it's related to the general antagonism I sometimes feel towards cis people. Maybe I can't tell the difference between a neutral privileged person and an enemy. I still have time to mature, right, I'm only 20? But I'm kind of afraid I'm turning into the trans equivalent of a man-hating feminist. But, the only cis people I know (IRL) who've managed to avoid saying anything terribly insensitive has been Derek, somehow; and my dad. Maybe I just need better cis friends. Or to lower my expectations.

Sorry, that went way more maudlin than I intended D: uh...I've been reading a lot, since we got to Shanghai. Finished His Majesty's Dragon, almost done with Jennifer Government. Keep in mind that I read several books at a time so you can't really gauge my pace from that. (Is it kind of silly to be proud of my reading pace?)


Jul. 17th, 2011 10:21 pm
potato_head: (Default)
So the internet connection in our new hotel is like, really slow. I mean, the speed varies, but the problem is that 80% of the time it's too slow to upload photos to flickr; my uploads keep failing. ; n ;

I managed to get the photos from the train station on Saturday uploaded, but uhh I think that's gonna be it. The rest I'll upload when I'm home I guess. That way I can also fix my account up since I'll be able to delete the links to it from my wall (my mom posted a link to my flickr on my facebook wall...and then I realized I'd listed my gender on the flickr account as 'male'...had to set it to 'rather not say'). And I'll upload all the pictures to facebook as well of course.

Been trying hard to keep up my dream journaling again. It's easy now that I've got my adorable new diary-style notebooks, and because I'm having dreams every night here. The one last night was about a rude trans "ally" O.o I've never had a dream before that was so realistic, LOL.

Anyways, ummm last night we went to Nanjing Road. We were shown around by two locals who are students coming to BSU next year, so they offered to get us there. The guy's English name was Jaspar (spelled like that) which reminded me that long ago, Jasper was a name I was considering for myself...but regardless he was cute and acting a bit submissive and I immediately went into flirt mode without realizing it :P that doesn't happen often at home, but it's like I'm too distracted to feel self-conscious here. Ofcourse nothing came of it and he seemed much more interested in Pamela by the end of the night, which was to be expected. The point is that apparently I can in fact engage with people and even flirt without agonizing over what I'm saying or embarrassing myself to death - see, not completely useless!

Oh, and the crowds here are terrible. Worse than Beijing. In Beijing they would push past you and get in your way, but at least they were moving all the time. Here people will stop suddenly - sometimes in large groups - regardless of where they are, including a group of girls yesterday who blocked off an entire set of stairs for no real reason. And on top of that, they shove you around aggressively.
potato_head: (Default)
So we got to Shanghai a few hours ago.

The train ride was terrible because first a guy sat next to me and shaved in his seat (???!! REALLY?) and also on the way in I almost squished a small child through the combined efforts of his lazy-ass mother and an impatient Professor Yu. And then my body decided the middle of a five-hour train ride was the best time for my period to start, so I went and dragged my luggage out to get a pair of panties and pads and ahdsafjdsagkds I was really upset but then convinced myself with all of the fog that the train had crashed and we were in Silent Hill and that was enough of a distraction to cheer me up.

But now that I'm here it's AWESOME. Okay so we haven't seen much of the city yet but we went out to eat and you guys I didn't really realize that Shanghai was so close to the ocean and there is SO MUCH SEAFOOD. SO MUCH.

We passed by this restaurant that had just like. A huge. Fucking. MOUNTAIN. Of crawfish. Like this pile had to be at least three feet high and five feet across and there were even more in these crates next to the street it was like crawdad heaven I LOVE CRAWFISH SO MUCH. And Ying said they do them spicy like in the US, I am so excited to get into some.

And at the place we actually had dinner they had squid and it was the BEST SQUID I HAVE EVER HAD. Seriously, nothing in the US can compare, in US restaurants they tend to just like...batter it as blandly as possible and put it with marinara sauce (?? not that I'm complaining because I'll put marinara on like, anything, I dipped chicken fries in it once because we were out of ketchup) and just trust that people will think it's super exotic because it's squid and that's enough. Here they had it with a kind of spicy tomato sauce with actual roasted red peppers in it (I could see them) and the batter was spiced and they weren't over-fried it was SO. GOOD. And I've never had fried squid with rice before, it was really awesome.

The restaurant also had these things on the menu that looked like giant pupas or maybe rollie-pollies (pillbugs or woodlice to some of you, although I'm thinking of the variety that are actually small millipedes and not woodlice). Prof Yu said they were a kind of worm (maggot maybe? A larva?) and I'm thinking of trying them if we go back.

Okay that's it for now, I took a few photos but they're just of the train station and crap, I'll put them up later.

Also, did anybody notice the multiple cute guys faving my photos on flickr, wtf is that all about


Jul. 15th, 2011 03:41 am
potato_head: (Default)
Went to a different traditional mall today! I love shopping here. SO MUCH. I had to just not go in the clothing section because I know I would have bought a million more shirts for myself ajdsajlfsagdsa

But I did buy this bag that I love SO MUCH. It's so hard in the US to find sidebags that are for guys and not for tomboyish/active women (or rather young girls). This one is a much more masculine style (even ignoring the fact that the Meditation symbol is the Mars symbol...with a target in it) but it also fits in with my somewhat faggy style very well. And it fits SO MUCH STUFF even though space-wise it's the same size as my old one. Also, seems more durable. Also, has some engrish going on. The only issue is that the bottle holders on the sides don't actually fit any water bottle of reasonable size in them, but there's enough room inside that it doesn't matter.

Still wish I could have bought some more clothes without having to worry about getting everything home :c I want to try on the shirts I already bought to, but I kind of want to wash them first...

Anyways, gonna go pack for Shanghai now.
potato_head: (Default)
Today we all just kind of chilled. We were going to take more surveys but it turns out none of us felt particularly up to it, and nobody was agreeing to fill them out, probably because we all looked unpleasant and unhappy. So we gave up after like ten minutes, lmfao.

Then we went out tonight to search the night market for luggage...I need another small bag or suitcase to carry the stuff I bought, and Neila needs the same. The woman selling the luggage wasn't there, though. We might just go to the Pearl Market to buy the nice bags we saw there. We stopped in a study/student sort of cafe that served alcoholic drinks; I just had fries, no drinks obviously (I say obviously, but did I ever actually mention here that I don't drink? IDK, I thought I did?) and besides I had one of the vitamin C powder waters I've been dosing myself with. Cold is mostly cleared up BTW, as are emotional issues I think. In retrospect I think it actually had very little to do with being here or stress, it was just one of the emotional fits I tend to have before maturing a bit. Because God forbid I look the slightest bit functional :P

Hmm, there isn't actually a lot to say. The alcohol-serving cafe was just interesting. I told dad about it and had trouble getting him to understand that it was a cafe that primarily served coffee, not a bar. It was dead silent in there despite there being a bunch of other customers.

Also, the service in most places here is rude as fuck. We talked about that tonight. I know most countries don't have the same customer service culture as America, but here, many of the servers make it obvious they dislike every customer who comes along to bother them. Reminds me of the morning shift at work back home...(speaking of which, dear morning shift: serving customers is actually your job, not standing around chatting. I am tired of fielding complaints about you from customers and am just going to start telling them you are all just rude and untrainable and unfortunately it is not up to me to fire you. Guess which one of us is going to be here next year regardless, considering how hard I am to replace and the fact that I actually do my work)

All of my clothes here are starting to smell like the food here. Including clean clothes that haven't been near any food or even near my dirty clothes. It's perplexing. This shirt I just put on smells vaguely of peanut oil. ???????

Also, we're going on to Shanghai on Saturday! Yay! I just packed all my clothes back up for the most part, since my dirty clothes had been living in a pile next to my suitcase. I did indeed fit it all back in. Which I knew I would, and is probably not worth reporting...but mom thinks I can't do it, was even telling me to just throw away things I don't wear much so that I would be able to fit all my clothes back in my suitcase, and I guess I'm still not entirely confident that most people think I am competent at life. (Really? Throw my clothes away?? I didn't even bring anything I don't wear regularly!)


Jul. 13th, 2011 01:30 pm
potato_head: (Default)
Sorry, the original title made me feel pretentious so you get that instead~

First of all, more photos! For those of you looking at them, which I assume there must be at least one because somebody faved one of the photos. Was it one of you guys?! IDK I was caught a bit by surprise by it?

Anyways in other other news (I did just skip the other news because it was boring SPSS stuff...you guys want to hear me complain more about the professor? DIDN'T THINK SOOO) I did in fact see the crap going down in that [livejournal.com profile] transgender post, but decided not to get involved due to my current emotional condition being fragile already lately, and my internet access being so limited.

And I'm not going to really respond to it here either because it feels kind of like airing dirty laundry in public somehow despite it being a public post, and besides which I'm pretty crap about speaking on feminist topics and you really should go read an actual woman's feminist blog for that kind of thing. Because first of all I'm a guy, and second of all I only recently pulled my head out of my ass about feminism (I had a reason but it doesn't really matter) so I'm not really educated on it enough to say anything really worthwhile, especially not compared to everything that's already out there. Written by women. Who do in fact know best what they're talking about wrt feminism. Go read that stuff.

So basically what I was going to say is just that I was actually already planning on talking about some of the themes that came up in that discussion that's going on, especially re: my male privilege as an FtM guy, so I just wanted to assure you guys that that's...coming. Sometime. Not right now because as you might be able to tell I'm still kind of frazzled, and probably not until I get back (23rd?). But maybe sooner than that since we have two days to kill in Beijing and no more touristy places to go, and Ying just up and finished tabulating all the surveys tonight, which is not what I expected when she asked me to show her how to do it. I seriously thought I was doing all of those like, tomorrow. How is she so awesome?!

Okay final thoughts for tonight:

[12:19] Amanda: so are you liking Cortland?
[12:19] Me: kind of
[12:19] Me: especially cause
[12:19] Me: i like
[12:19] Me: cortie
[12:19] Me: as a nickname
[12:19] Me: i know it si dorky but i am a dork

IT SI DORKY, says the man who quoted the first X-Men movie in his last serious post. Does that make me the expert on dorky, or too much of a dork to rule on such matters?


Jul. 11th, 2011 08:32 am
potato_head: (Default)
Have a bit of a cold, or maybe a sinus infection. A combination of the stress and probably also the smog I'm breathing all the time here.

BTW, I can't reply to any comments on my last entry since I friendslocked it. And I can't sign in. So like, I can't even see it. Good job, me.

Today was obnoxious. I was planning to input the surveys we've been accumulating, and the professor gave me his laptop, which has the SPSS program on it. Except...he'd never even opened it, and hadn't filled out the license verification or whatever, which was in Chinese so I couldn't even attempt to do it. When Ying brought the computer back to him and told him the problem, he sent her back and told her he didn't know what that was, so she had to try to do it! BTW, this is not a language issue, he speaks Mandarin better than Ying does being a native speaker (her primary language is Cantonese). Finally we convinced him that since we don't have the goddamn license code none of us can do this for him, and he actually has to get his shit together and do this.

He also never saved the file I sent him to his computer, so I'll have to re-tabulate the whole survey from scratch, but w/e, that's just like 20 minutes of work.

So then he sent us to do surveys around campus. After doing so for about ten minutes a professor from the school came over to tell us off; apparently we need written permission to do that. ALKJFSDLJFDSJ

He managed to get us that, at least, and we did about 80 surveys today, plus Ying scored us some interviews. A lot of the students really did want to practice their English with us (when the Prof said that we thought it was just another of his awkward turtle ideas) and even if I thanked them in Chinese they would respond in English.

Had a really vivid and frightening sleep paralysis episode. Haven't had any caffeine in days. Must be the stress+being sick? And I was taking a nap, which I haven't done in a few months. Odd thing about it was it was while I was sleeping on my side, too; I usually only get them on my back.

TV here is interesting. A lot of the shows are dubbed over; Ying says this is because they require everybody on TV to speak academically perfect Mandarin, and if the actor doesn't, they have a better speaker dub over their voice.

Accidentally made my Sim a pervert. In my defense, I didn't realize the guy I was aggressively trying to get him to romance was a teenager. I probably should have figured this out when I wasn't actually given the option to perform romantic actions on him...

Solution: options - game options - teenager stage: 3 days.

Sim!Snape and Sim!Remus are getting along very well without me even helping them. Sim!Harry and Sim!Draco just had their first kiss. This is an accomplishment for me, since I recently realized that the entire time I had Sims 2, I never got two of my Sims to woohoo. This is because I usually jump between games too frequently because I have the attention span of a gnat.
potato_head: (Default)
This post is mostly to let you all know that my photos from the Great Wall are up!

Today we're all sore and tired from walking the Great Wall, so we ended up just taking the subway to the Pearl Market and buying some more touristy gifts for people, ate lunch at a sort of fast food place, and came back to the hotel room. Ying's napping right now and I think the others probably are too.

I got some nice headphones for 25 CNY :D and the touristy things here are really high-quality, as long as you steer away from the obviously crap items.

Ying says I'm getting good at bartering; in the more touristy places like the Pearl Market some of the merchants actually get mad at me even as they accept my price, like the lady who sold me two nice ties for 35 CNY. They're used to making a lot off of tourists, although I expect they also need to make more to cover the higher costs of renting the space.

Used one of my new sun umbrellas today; it really helped a lot. I'm also getting used to riding the subway, although not as comfortable as I was in Germany, since I still can't read any Mandarin and I don't think I ever will be able to.

I think I forgot to mention this yesterday - at the base of the Great Wall, Pamela and Neila had lunch at the Subway there, which was super expensive, like 35 CNY for a meal. I opted to go have pancakes with the Professor and Ying instead - they were only 5 CNY each, and delicious! They were savory pancakes, almost more like a soft taco shell, similar to the kind of pancakes you would wrap peking duck in. They were cooked on the spot, and you could have all sorts of things added - egg (cooked right on top of the pancake), some meats, onion, lettuce, some sort of crunchy fried dough. I opted to have a chocolate pancake, which was the pancake folded up around chocolate melted into it - it was delicious! The only thing I think that could make it better might be frying it briefly after folding it up, and/or sprinkling powdered sugar on top.
potato_head: (Default)
New photos!

Didn't post yesterday because we basically just hung out. We did go food shopping without Ying though, which was both an adventure and an accomplishment! I'm eating some of the saltines-with-chocolate-and-coffee right now. They're delicious.

Today we met another American group at breakfast; they were highschoolers here on a three-week trip, much more organized than ours of course, since they're highschoolers. They were going to the Great Wall and 2008 Olympics Site today, and we decided to tag along because it was much cheaper than going on our own tomorrow like we had been planning. It was all decided so quickly though that I forgot my camera in the room! I borrowed Ying's to take pictures (she's been there twice before), but I haven't gotten them from her camera yet.

We took a chair lift up (the other option was a three-hour hike...no thank you). Walking around the wall itself was quite a work out; I had to stop about 20 minutes before we turned around to come back, for fear of dieing of asthma, and waited for the others to come back for me.

The area of the Great Wall that we visited was basically a tourist trap, which was good because we were able to get some Chinese-ish gifts for people...buying things at the night market and the mall, you get some really awesome stuff with Engrish and cute things on it and great styles, but not the kind of souvenirs people expect you to bring them. They don't realize that American and European things are more in style here, traditional things don't sell well, so nobody sells them except lower-quality tourist items. Anyways, what was even better was despite being a tourist area, you could still barter for everything! But things are still a bit more expensive because they know if you don't buy, some other tourist who doesn't know how cheap things are elsewhere in the country will come along to buy at their jacked-up prices. I was able to cut down the price of a t-shirt from 160 CNY to 50 CNY (much more reasonable, still a bit much for the quality though, compared to the good-quality shirts I got at the mall for about 30 CNY each). I also got some nice chopsticks for 40 CNY and a wall-hanging for 100 CNY...I know I got fleeced on that one, but I was so confused by what was going on (which I think was the lady's intention). Besides, it's still not very much in USD (less than $20) so I don't feel too badly about it, just a bit stupid. I got a few other things as well.

The Olympics site was also very touristy but things were much more reasonably priced to start with, and they were more willing to barter (at the Wall I had one lady try to tell me she couldn't lower the price of the chopsticks from 50 CNY to 40...yeah, right you can't! They were probably only worth 20 CNY or so). I got some great stuff there - I love the characters for the 2008 Olympics, and they had tons of paraphernalia for them. I got a set of all 5 as car decorations for 10 CNY, and a keychain with all of them on+a set of all 5 as cellphone charms for another 10 CNY. I am not sure what I'll do with all those phone charms...I can put some on my camera, maybe...but it was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up. Maybe I can give them to people, except JingJing, who's my favorite, and his strap is broken anyways, so that would make a kind of crap gift even though you can just tie it.

After all of this we took the subway back to the hotel, took about 20 minutes to freshen up, and then ate out and went shopping for a bit. I wanted to stop by the stationary store and buy more journals and notebooks at the stationary store - success! I got 7, plus a tiny one that I am not sure how I'll use, for 30 CNY. The price was supposed to be 31.50, but I only had 30 CNY in small bills and the lady didn't want to break one of my 100's. They're really casual about a yuan here or there, even in the big stores. The yuan is worth so little they actually don't have coins for cents other than 50 or 10, which you'll rarely use outside of big stores; there's also 50 and 10 cent bills.

We also walked the night market a bit and I got two sun umbrellas for 60 CNY (they were supposed to be 35 each...I could have gotten it a lot lower but I was tired and didn't feel like haggling with the guy, who had just ignored me for 10 minutes in favor of some guy who obviously wasn't going to actually buy). Neila also bought a wallet - no bargaining for it, for some reason, but it was only 25 CNY, so probably on clearance or something? And we looked at these hand-carved necklaces by a guy who's out there every day, but we didn't want to buy before finding out what they were made of, which we needed Ying for. We're going back to him tomorrow night since he's always there. IDK if I'll get one, I never seem to wear necklaces even if I really like them...

Tomorrow we might be tagging along with the group again to go to the Palace of Heaven and the Pearl Market, or might just go on our own, depending on if we have to pay 50 CNY for the bus again. Ying isn't coming, so we'll see how bartering in the market goes...if we can barter there? I'm really not sure, since it seems like a slightly more upscale tourist place. We'll see.
potato_head: (Default)
First of all, more pictures! Mostly of what I bought today.

I'm wearing one of the sports bras mom bought me right before I left - it's a size smaller than usual...tight, but it pretty much acts as a binder. I didn't even realize that would work at my size, LOL. I won't be able to sleep in it though, although I've been sleeping braless here anyway. Usually at home I wear a sports bra 100% of the time, to keep my boobs as hidden from myself as possible.

I've been wearing my binder too, btw. I thought I might only wear it sometimes because of the heat, but after not wearing it for the plane ride, I felt so gross that I knew I would have to wear it. I don't think it would make much of a difference to not wear it, anyways.

So today we started off by doing surveys of random people in front of the train station. It was surprisingly successful - we filled out all the surveys we brought, a total of 40. It helps that Ying is really friendly, and also that surveys aren't common here, so it was a novel experience for them, unlike in America where we're all sick of them :P apparently us being American also helped, and two different groups of people who filled out surveys asked to take pictures with us after.

After that we went to a modern mall to eat. It was pretty much like an American mall - complete with American brands; every store name was in English. The only difference was that it was six or seven floors high o-o; anyways, I had a sort of chicken with several different kinds of onions on top of rice, and some mango/peach juice. It was all really good. After that we left - didn't buy anything at the modern mall, since it was all American brands anyways, and Ying assured us we were going somewhere with much cheaper stuff.

We went to a traditional mall then. It was pretty much nothing like an American mall; it was much more like the night market stuffed into a building. The shops were all tiny stalls, and the place was a maze with very narrow hallways between them; it wasn't uncommon for us to come to the end of the shops and find several empty stalls, or stalls where shops were being set up or closed down - the space is cheap to rent so they open and close often. Most of the clothing was very cheap, although not quite as cheap as the night market. There was also a lot of cheap jewelry. There were some low-quality things, but the high-quality wasn't any more expensive, with the exception of some hand-embroidered shirts that were 100 CNY apiece. I almost bought one for myself, but I couldn't justify spending that much when I couldn't try the shirt on first to be sure that it fit.

The most interesting part was the haggling. We did a bit of haggling the other night at the night market, but we bought a lot more here and consequently there was more haggling; I bought the most (clothes shopping - so many things here are my style, and they tend to actually have XL shirts in stock, since nobody else is buying them) and so I got into a sort of strategy of haggling...probably the normal one, but I had to figure it out for myself. I would figure out what I was willing to pay for an item before asking the price, and if it was too expensive and the person either wasn't willing to haggle or wasn't willing to haggle enough, I would walk away. Every time they would call us back and accept my offer. That probably means I could have gone lower still on at least some of the items, but I don't mind paying a reasonable price for something. I estimate in all today I spent somewhere from $50-$70, which is not much at all considering I got 10 good-quality shirts and a nice pair of gold-plated earrings (for mom) plus some other odds and ends.

Tonight we're going to the night market again, but at most I'm buying an umbrella and getting something to eat. I doubt we'll be out long since we went shopping already today, although Pamela saw some things that she knew she could get cheaper at the night market, so she'll probably get those things.
potato_head: (Default)
Yeah still not over the jet lag really. I just almost woke up an hour ago (would have been 6 AM). Getting up now for breakfast and waiting for Ying to get ready. Her friend slept over and is cute, has Harry Potter glasses 8D

Last night though as I was trying to fall asleep I had a series of intense sleep paralysis episodes, like I haven't had in a long time, full-on visual hallucinations and all. They were hallucinations of the girls (Ying and her friend) being possessed? Or just being demons taking their shape or something? And coming at me. I had a bunch in a row because I would try to rouse myself and then would fall back asleep in the same position and it would happen again. Adlsjhgadsjkdsj. By the time I woke up I was convinced it was really happening X.x

It's because of all the coke I've been drinking, I think. It's really, really tasty here. Less carbonation. But still caffeinated, I have to remember that. I recently found that they have Fanta here, and also Pepsi's answer to Fanta which is EVEN TASTIER. I still pronounce Fanta like they do in Germany (FAHnta) because FEHnta sounds stupid to me.

I am wary of buying Sprite. I did once but I didn't get regular Sprite, it tasted like litchi fruit? Which wasn't like, gross, it was just really strong for me. Which is generally how I feel about litchi fruit. I am pretty sure the regular Sprite they have at places that sell Coke is the original flavor, because the one I bought was a kind of off-color bottle, like you would expect from a throwback drink at home, but I am still wary of buying it, will probably stick to Fanta and uh...whatever the Pepsi one is called. I think the whole bottle was in Chinese except the pepsi logo. Somebody find out for me?

I am getting really used to this bed. Maybe I need an extra-extra-extra firm mattress at home.

IDK what we are doing today since Professor Wu didn't confirm with any of the people we're interviewing so that may or may not be happening. This afternoon we're supposed to go to the Forbidden City and a shopping area. I'm more excited to go out to the night market tonight. Still need a sun umbrella. I want a reflective one with cute things on it, saw one the other night and was going to buy it on the way back, but Prof. Wu had us fucking walk to the train station the long way instead and by the time we were coming back it was 11 and they were all closing.

Beijing Zoo

Jul. 5th, 2011 11:49 am
potato_head: (Default)
First of all, new photos! BUT I warn you: most of them are of the animals at the Beijing Zoo, and I don't presume to criticize how they keep their animals from having only visited there one day but many were pacing and some didn't look very healthy, so if that might upset you, you probably don't want to look, or maybe want to skip to page 5 which is all non-zoo stuff.

The zoo was interesting; although the panda exhibit, which was spruced up for the Olympics a few years ago, had a lot of English on the signs - pretty much all the signs were translated entirely into English - the rest of the signs had sporadic and inconsistent English. Some signs had the common name and Latin name translated; some had only one. Certain signs only translated the title of the sign, which was 'Information'. That was...helpful.

The only sign with English on it outside the 'Hawk Hill' (actually full of vultures) exhibit said only 'Cinerous vulture' in English. Despite the fact that it was clearly talking about at least three of the birds in there. And I was already sure I had identified the cinerous in there, so it wasn't very helpful :P

What else. Um...getting more used to the food. I really enjoyed our lunch, which was a bowl of instant noodles we bought at a stand, where they poured in boiling water for you, and you added packets of flavoring. And a packet of like...tiny slices of lettuce and little shriveled bits of meat. I left that one out. The bowl came with a fork instead of chopsticks though, and it was odd using a fork; I've been getting used to the chopsticks.

Oh, and I used hair gel today - it held up really well, despite me being absolutely covered in sweat. Not so sure about how I actually chose to wear it. I think I need to be a bit more bold next time and do a real fauxhawk.

Entirely exhausted, but took a nap already, so staying up a bit before going to bed. Going to go make Snape in Sims 3.

Photos! :D

Jul. 4th, 2011 01:08 am
potato_head: (Default)
Okay so I've figured out that signing in is not happening. Sorry guys! I'll catch up with all your posts ASAP, hopefully in two weeks since according to Professor Chen the university we're staying at for the last week has a private server and you can access facebook from it - I assume that also means I'll be able to get on LJ, but we'll see. I can still post, anyways :D I can't log in for comments though, so all my replies will be anon, LOL. I'll sign them. Also, you guys will be seeing the same icon a lot, since I can't change icons the way I'm posting = n =;

As for photos - EVERYTHING IS BLOCKED except flickr, and I'm having a lot of trouble uploading things using proxies, so I just went ahead and made a flickr account. It's here? IDK if I'm doing that right, I have trouble adjusting to these new-fangled sites ;A; if that isn't working, you can try searching for me? My username is 'Tanzelt Goes to China'. I just uploaded a bunch of photos from today. We walked around and shopped a bit :D but most of the shops don't open until the evening, and I can see why - it is really, really hot here. I'm going to try and buy a sun umbrella like Ying has, since I only brought my rain umbrella, which is black and not very well-suited to use for the sun.

Cutting for length )

Anyways I hope you guys can actually see these posts = n = I don't know why you wouldn't be able to, but I am worried that you can't, since nobody replied to the last one, although I know logically that's because it's the middle of the night for most of you and I haven't waited very long between that post and this one, lol.
potato_head: (Default)
Alright, so apparently logging in from the 'post an entry' page doesn't actually leave me logged in. I can't log in at the top of the site because the proxy bar blocks the top of the screen where the 'login' area is. Anybody know how to get around this? ;n; there doesn't seem to be any separate 'log in' page from the site map...

Anyways, the flight was really long. Obviously. 13 hours omgggg. I still can't wrap my head around flying over time zones like that - like landing just after 1PM on Sunday, when when I woke up that morning it was Saturday. o-o;

Watched some movies on the plane. Rango was...weird. Even for me. Beastly was pretty good :D although, am I the only one who found the 'beast' much more attractive than the 'prince'...? Just me? Okay.

Major jetlag yesterday. I was super cranky by supper time, but after we ate I felt a bit better. The food was pretty good. I have no idea what it was, though. There was some beef with um...celery? Leeks? Those are two really different things, right? It tasted like celery. And there were some sweet&sour meatballs that were crunchy on the outside...fried, I assume. Chopsticks are hard ;n;

One of the girls asked "is this considered fast food here?" when it was obviously a sit-down restaurant. With waitresses and everything. Buh???

Anyways I don't think I realized exactly how many sites are blocked here. All I can get to is aol.com and aramii xD; I took a few photos but don't feel like figuring out photobucket through the proxy right now, so you guys can see those later. I'm going to try to find a way to log in so I can see my friends page+friendslocked posts.


Jul. 2nd, 2011 12:25 am
potato_head: (lol)


I will totally talk to you all on Sunday night-ish when we check in :D or Monday when we will be spending all day 'resting and recovering from jet lag' according to the itinerary.

We're going to Beijing Zoo. PANDAS.

I packed six books and am still paranoid it will not be enough. It's been so long since I've read but I know I am underestimating my reading speed when I'm stuck on a 10-13hr flight. BRB putting more books in my bag

Okay, I added some (Jennifer Government, Handmaid's Tale, Watership Down; variety too, I only had a bunch of fantasy series and the Mammoth Tale of True Hauntings).

Bought a different brand of hair gel just to bring with me because the container was smaller and it's made to stand up to humidity and apparently whatever else hair-ruining things happen during 'vigorous exercise'.

Anyways yeah see you guys after the flight <3333

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