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Year of the Pig
by F. A. Hutchison
2007-02-19 08:20:07
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I wake up to it snowing outside.

What an incredible day! Chinese people coming out of the woodwork to help me! And always they won't accept any money! I really, it sounds strange, can hardly give my money away in China. Of course, to the street people, but to no one else. Waitresses won't accept tips. In fact, they chase you down the street to return a ten-cent tip! Amazing!

This is going to sound a bit chauvinistic, and those of you entwined in American culture won't understand. But, why should I live in the U.S., when I can live in China? 'Wo ai Zhongua!'

I mean, I don't need the NFL,
Or, the Texas hell,
Nor McDonalds!

I don't need 'Christian self-righteousness,'
As all wrong,
The president, 'Bush

I don't need the high costs;
Property taxes,
Nor the automated responses,'
The chic, the hip-
Or, Rap!
Don't need the need the 'protection,'
The killing police,
'Oh, sorry' we thought he was a 'terrorist!'

I don't need no Dunkin' Donuts,
Trans-fat life!

Fascism is in fashion, and guess where? Do you know the definition of Fascism? 'Fear of the masses!' That's exactly what has happened, you know where! And not only there, but in other countries as well! It's a 'growth industry.'

What to do? Speak out about it!

In the meantime, the Chinese people impress me more and more! Let me give you examples, just today!

I walk in the snow!

I have fun shopping in the open street markets. I buy red candles and incense. I buy some fresh broccoli. I buy a jar of tahini (sesame seed butter). I buy some utility things for my flat.

I stop and have lunch ('chao mi fan,' fried rice) at the restaurant next to my old hotel. A big bowl with soup and tea costs 5RMB, or .60 cents.

I go to the laundry to pick mine up, all ironed and folded. The cost for 'one load?' 17RMB / $1.90 U.S. I tried to give them 3 RMB more, but she wouldn't take it!

I go to the Merida Bicycle Store/club to move both bicycles to my flat (during Spring Festival not open), and hopefully two packages Richa sent to me from Shanghai. I manage to explain, when Richa doesn't pick up the telephone, that I need help, someone to ride the Giant bicycle to my flat. I tell them I'll pay!

Guo Xi, my new friend there, understands written English, so we write notes. No problem, the young helper will follow me. I show him my flat on a map of Xining. They carry both bicycles up to the main floor (from the basement). I discover Richa's package from Shanghai—Oh, great, as I need! But, when I ask them about my sister's letter (forwarded from Shanghai), no not yet!

We go off, and crank to my flat. It's not that far, and takes maybe ten minute. The 'kid,' is right on my 'tail' all the way!

He carries the Giant bicycle up to my third floor apartment ('flat' in Europe and Asia). I follow! I try to give him food and/or water. No, not needed. I try to give him 10RMB / $1.25 U.S. He refuses. This time I protest, but he won't have it! I thank him profusely!

I rest a bit, take the break to open the package from Richa. This has the woolen cap Ning, Stephanie's mother has knitted for me. I'm surprised as it turns out to be a red 'beret,' and very cool! I shall wear for 'Spring Festival!'

After a cup of tea I'm about to crank off to the computer mart when someone knocks on the door. I open to discover my bicycle rider, the young Chinese guy from Merida. He's returned to deliver me the letter from my sister! It arrived at the Merida store right after we departed. Again, with much thanks I try to give him 10RMB for their thoughtfulness! Again, and the 'theme' of the day: No, he'll not accept any money, not one 'Mao!' (one-tenth of one RMB). What am I to do? I can't even give my money away in China!

Right behind him I crank off to the computer mart. I need to return Titanic, DVD as n.g. Also my microphone/headset is still not working, both the headset and microphone. The microphone has never worked, but last night no sound out of the earphones, from the DVD movies! Luckily I have speakers! But, this is the second time I've been back to the stall where I purchased the headset.

The snow, what little bit fell from the sky, is now slush on the streets. But, I'm so happy it snowed! A 'White Spring Festival!' I shall write a song!

I lock Ms. Fiets in the usual place, across the street from the computer mart, and then risk my life playing 'chicken' with the incessant motor vehicles!

In the computer mart I look for a small lamp, but find none!

I go to the headset stall. I'm standing there looking unhappy (so they get the idea) when the girl clerk who speaks English arrives. I explain. They test it! It works, both the microphone and the earphones! Ah, wrong again! What's going on? The mic/headset must not like my Apple Mini. I'm chagrined! They suggest I bring the computer there to the stall, so they can solve the problem. I explain, not so easy.

While I'm packing up, a young Chinese man accosts me, explaining in English. English always gets my attention (in Asia)! He volunteers to come to my flat! I'm amazed! Would this happen in the U.S.? We arrange to meet there in thirty minutes.

On the way out he follows me, and helps exchanging the n.g. Titanic DVD. I trade it for Good Will Hunting. This is prophetic! 'Good will' seems to find me everywhere in China, no need to hunt for it!

I crank back to 26 Da Tong[1] Jie (my new residence address in Xining). He's waiting at the gate, having taken a taxi (6RMB / .80 cents). Upstairs, I offer food and drink. All he wants is water.

At the computer I give my spiel ('warning' don't change anything!) before I allow him to touch! But, he seems to know what he's doing. Turns out, he thinks Chinese peripherals only work with 'Windows[2].' He tells me I probably have the only Apple Mini in all of Qinghai Province! I offer to pay him for coming to my flat! Again, he refuses, explaining he came as a friend (this is the 'private manners,' I wrote about: If you come to help a friend you can't accept money!). Another example of why I enjoy living in China (even with all the negatives), the people!

Later I'm sitting on the couch eating an apple with tahini, relaxing when... A knock at the door. It's Mr. Wu, like Santa Claus, arrives with more gifts. He can't seem to do enough for me! He's brought a wok, a washing tub, a new calendar for 2007, a desk lamp for the bedroom (which I'd try to buy today, but never found), bedding, and soap. I'm overwhelmed at this point! I thank him ad naseum.

I want to fall on my knees and thank God!

The 'worm has turned!' Certainly, the 'Pig' (07) has taken over from the 'Dog' (06) (my nemesis)!

My flat is perfect! Funky, but comfortable, quiet, and serves my needs for the moment! Best, I'm out of a hotel!

I cook the broccoli in the wok. Note, it's been a long time since I've cooked my own food, maybe two years!

Recipe: Cook the broccoli buds in rapeseed oil, soy sauce, and red wine. Add cut up slices of fresh garlic. Stir until tender. Sprinkle in some peanuts. Ah, pretty good.

Life is good!

Life is!

I do fall on my knees and thank God! 'Oh, master, Lord, and God, my divine lover! How may I please you? How may I serve you?

Aren't you glad you had the 'opportunity' to be 'here!' No matter what travail in your life? You have consciousness, you know you're alive! Animals don't! Certainly the dinosaur didn't know s/he was 'hear!' We do! Take advantage of such, gain wisdom!

HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE! ('The Year of the Pig')

Tomorrow I shall wander around Xining 'shooting' video. In fact, bought a box of MiniDV cassettes at the computer mart so as not to run out. 'Roll, roll, everything you stand for! Roll on! Roll on!

[1] Da Tong is a town about 30KM north of Xining. Richa (Tom nee Richard nee Richa) and I stayed there one night on the way into Xining (last November). It has a Buddhist Monastery perched precariously on a steep hill, seemingly about to fall into the 'town!'

[2] Brainwashed by Microsoft, it's all they know in China.

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Get it off your chest
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Thanos2007-02-18 11:53:09
Happy new year, I hope every day will be joyfull like this one!!!

Asa2007-02-18 13:34:59
Do you think Chinese Star Signs are considered better than the Western ones?

For example, I think it is cool to be a Horse but don't care about being a Capricorn.

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