Posts Tagged ‘expat’

Nice Pants

Sweet outfit dude. Next time wear your pink boxers under your creepy zebra pants.



This can't be that comfortable.

Read Full Post »

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to go grocery shopping in Qingdao, therefore we are running desperately low on meat of any sort.  I can definitely get pork at any of our local JiaJiaYue supermarkets, but I have trouble justifying the purchase of meat that sits out all day being poked and prodded by masses of people who probably haven’t washed their hands in over a week and a half, and refuse to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.  Call me picky, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. At the XinHai market there are several concrete bomb-shelter-like looking buildings full of cages of hens, roosters, and some other small mammals.  I hadn’t purchased one yet, because I assumed that I would need to kill and clean it myself.  I’m sure I could handle that, but plucking feathers off a bleeding-out chicken on a Wednesday afternoon just didn’t seem like my idea of a fun and productive day spent.

It wasn’t until last week that I learned they will kill, clean, and remove the lower digestive system for me.  Perfect!  I can handle that.  The rooster costed more than I would’ve expected (about 20 USD), but it was more than worth it to know it was fresh and only handled by one guy after it was killed, AND that I got to watch the who process.  This just isn’t something you see back home when you go to Giant Eagle (grocery store) to pick out a chicken.

I went with my friend A.  Her driver always helps a ton with these traditional Chinese things.  He asked if I wanted a boy or girl chicken.  Well that wasn’t a question I had ever been asked before?  I asked him which one was good?  The hens were much smaller, but the A’s driver picked out a big rooster and said they are let out to walk around more and the hens just sit around and eat.  Does this make it better?  I have no idea.  Now I want to clarify, when I describe these conversations that I have with just about any Chinese person in Haiyang, it’s usually a mix of my broken Mandarin, their local Haiyang dialect, and a lot of funky charades.  Thankfully, most of the drivers that work for us Westerners have learned a small amount of English, making something like buying live poultry MUCH easier!   But, as you can imagine, I don’t really know how to ask “will they take off the feathers and remove the sh*t from the rear end of that bird?”  Between my Engl-ese (opposite of Chinglish), and some creative chicken dancing, I usually can figure out what is going on.

After we picked out a rooster, the owner pretty much ripped the wings off to put it on the scale. I was taking video the entire time. If you are a fan of PETA, you might not want to watch these videos. Since I’m a fan of People Eating Tasty Animals, I have posted these videos and will share them with you.

After I paid for my bird, he slit the neck and put it into a rotating drum to bleed out.  From there my rooster and some other guy’s chicken were put into a vat of boiling water.  Unfortunately the other bird was still very much alive.  After that there was another drum for defeathering.  Also, notice the gutted dog hanging in the middle of the room.  This is the first one I’ve seen.  (This may be offensive to some individuals, watch at your own risk.)

And finally, removing the intestines, etc…

Alas, I brought my rooster home to the roaster:


Read Full Post »



Meat table at the market

Delicious, Pig Heart

And finally, this pitiful creature was hanging in the “store” (more like a concrete bomb shelter)   where I bought a live chicken…

Yes, That's a Dog

Read Full Post »

First came Arm & Hammer, a baking soda from the 1860’s.  It is a registered trademark of the American manufacturer Church and Dwight and probably one of the most common products in every home in the USA.

Arm & Hammer

The most common and readily available counterfeit at wholesale stores and large supermarkets in China is ARM & HATCHET:

Arm & Hatchet

 And then just last week I found this 2nd generation counterfeit at a spice store in HaiYang.  The only thing better than Arm and Hatchet is ARM AND TOMAHAWK!

Arm & Tomahawk


Read Full Post »

From the December issue of "that's SHANGHAI" ... What better gift to give yourself for Christmas?

I seriously just found this yesterday.  Haha!

Read Full Post »

I used to go mountain biking on a fairly regular basis, until, frankly, I got lazy.

I’ve had my mountain bike for 5 years now but it was never anything special,  so for those of you riding on a Specialized or Trek, please don’t take my actions as the ultimate mountain-biking blasphemy!  I bought the thing right before college graduation, so at the time – the cheaper, the better.  It worked.

First, let me explain why I have committed this heinous crime to a respectable mountain bike…  When I was in China 3 years ago, I used a Giant brand mountain bike for going to work, shopping, and local sight-seeing.  It was a great form of exercise and I enjoyed the experience of “going local”.  Unfortunately, while the bikes are a huge bargain there – you always get what you pay for:

  1. Bike was MUCH too small for an American.  Chinese bikers do not ride such that their legs are extended at the bottom of the stroke, they ride with legs almost always at a 90 degree angle.  Hence, the bikes are sized for this method of riding.  Now when you are a 6ft tall Westerner used to riding a larger bike with the seat extended – this can be very uncomfortable.  I had the bike seat extended all the way (maybe 3/4″ still inside the frame), and it was still much too small!
  2. Chinese bikes are overly prone to flat tires.  I still don’t understand why this is (considering most everything in the US is manufactured in China) – other than to provide jobs for the poor.   In any tier 2 or 3 city, you will find a tire-repair man on almost every corner.  It is dirt cheap to get a flat tire patched, and they’ll sometimes lube the chain for you as well.  I’m talking 2-5 RMB at the most! ($0.30-$0.78) One shifu that I distinctly remember sat there with his two children and his wife.  They all wore very tattered clothing and I can’t imagine they lived in much more than a basement-like one room apartment.  Regardless, Haiyang is smaller than Qinhuangdao, so I don’t want to count on a tire-tube repair man on every corner.
  3. Chinese Mountain bikes don’t have baskets.  I’m sorry – I know – it’s not like I EXPECT a mountain bike to have a basket!  However, when I plan to use my bike as a means of grocery shopping, I could really use one… or two…  I suppose I could settle for a typical chinese-black-bike-with-basket, but I’ve been spoiled by 18+ speed bikes for the last half of my life.

SOOOOOOOO…… The ONLY solution to my beef with China-bikes is this:

My Chinafied Mountain Bike

The “improvements” include:


Front & Rear Fenders (for rainy-day grocery trips!)

Rear rack with basket & optional panniers

Rear End

Front Basket, and, uhhhh, bell.

Front End

YES, I put a kickstand and a bell on a mountain bike.   In China these are two very important additions.  I will post example pictures and videos once we are abroad!

I’m very pleased with the way all of the new accessories turned out, but the road to completion was not easy and I spent many frustrated hours trying to get everything to work.  There are still a few changes that I want to make.  For anyone with no technical experience, I highly recommend paying a bike shop to make these kind of additions!

The first major obstacle was the fenders.  Even though they are supposed to work with a mountain bike – the directions and mounting options are ONLY for road bikes.  Basically you need to be creative with new bolts, several washers, and zip ties to make it work.  Next, I guess you aren’t supposed to install a rear fender and rear rack together (?!?!?!), because there is only one threaded hole to attach both.  Again, you need to get creative and buy new bolts.  I purchased new M5 x 0.8 bolts (forget what length), only to come home and realize the metric allen wrench set was in Husband’s car.  Back to Lowes to buy a new one…  then I was finally able to get everything assembled.

Next problem – the panniers I bought are supposed to hang from the sides of the rack – and they CAN, but only if the rear basket is removed.  This is what happens when you cross over manufacturers on bike components….   Nonetheless, I can still hang them from the basket.  I want to find another set of panniers to properly hang from the rack.  After all is said and done (AND I take a backpack with me to the market), I should be able to do some heavy-duty grocery shopping trips!

I also have a new U-lock that I want to mount in place of one of the water bottle cages.  I’m aware that bike theft can happen – even though I’m pretty sure this bike is much too large for any Chinese person to ride!

Read Full Post »

I’m glad to hear that we are still allowed to take Kittie Litter on the sea shipment to China.  I’ve been told that they sell it in Haiyang, but Jade and Nala can be picky creatures  –  and considering they’ve “peed around” in the past, I don’t want to give them the excuse of doing it in our new apartment because of a strange litter box.  Unfortunately, we are not allowed to send cat FOOD over there.  I’m guessing because it is made from chicken?  I’m hoping to smuggle a bag or two over in our luggage.  At least this way I can try to acclimate them to Chinese cat food.

Wall of Cat Liter

Next, I’ve finally accumulated a total of 24 of my deodorant and 24 of DH’s deodorant.  This should be more than enough to last us for the long haul in China.  Personally, I’m not quite sure how such a large country with particularly unimpressive personal hygiene can survive day-to-day without passing out from B.O. in crowded places like buses and subways.  Perhaps when I’m there long enough I can enlighten you on this.

Two-Year Supply of Deodorant

 I purchased these through Amazon.com’s Subscribe and Save program.  I only subscribed for 2 months, but ordered 12 each month.  This program allows you to save 15% off of Amazon’s normal price (which usually is already less than Walmart, Target, etc.)  Granted, you don’t need to buy as much as I did, but I think it’s a great way to stay stocked up on toiletries that everyone forgets to buy until it’s too late (and you start to smell bad).

Read Full Post »

Two weeks ago the hubby was finally given his new assignment letter.  After going back and forth for a few months we are now sure of our upcoming move to PRC!  Once I broke the news on Facebook, I assume that many people thought I am crazy for being so excited.  That may be true.  Although I’ve been to China on two previous occasions, the prospect of moving there for an extended period of time is still daunting.  On both prior occasions I was (a) unmarried and (b) still living at home.  Now I am married and own a house, and have two…. cats…  (insert random comment regarding Chinese food & cats here.)  For lack of a better place to cat-sit Jade & Nala long-term, we are taking them with us to China.  Yes, you read correctly, we are taking our cats to live with us in China.

This is actually a more involved process than you might imagine.First, there are 3 ways you can bring a dog or cat into China:  IN the plane cabin, as checked luggage, or as air cargo.  I’m hoping to take the in-cabin option.  (This is still up for debate.)  Pets are allowed in the cabin on some airlines as long as the carrier will fit under the seat in front of you.  There is usually a fee to bring pets onboard, for Delta the price is $200 per pet (Jade & Nala are small so they should fit in the same carrier – saving us $200).

There are specific health requirements and documentation when getting a pet into China:

  1. Proof of rabies vaccination within one year and at least 30 days prior to entry into China.
  2. International Health Certificate (APHIS form  7001) issued by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and endorsed by the USDA.
  3. Vaccination certificates for Feline Panleucopania, Feline Respiratory Disease, and Entritis.

There is a mandatory pet quarantine upon arrival in Shanghai and Beijing.  I’ve heard that if we fly through South Korea to Qingdao (bypassing the larger international airports), that we may be able to avoid the seven-day quarantine.  I will verify this after we complete the process.

Read Full Post »