Hold your breath and count to a million

On Tuesday I got another chance to tour our new office. There’s been quite a lot of progress since my last visit. Here’s a reminder of what it looked like on 26 January:
And here’s a picture of the same area on 6 March:
The countdown continues. Only a couple of weeks left until we move in – so they say.
This will be one of the break rooms. I think we’ll call it “The Café”...
And this is looking into the reception area from behind.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the first stage of the Olympic ticketing web site came up this week. The Chinese media all reported on it, though they messed up on the statistics we provided. They reported it had 300,000 visitors in the first two days. That was actually the number of page views – the number of visitors was large, but not that large.

In immigration news, I have a temporary work visa now, good for two months. Before that time is up, I’ll put in for an extension so I can stay.
And I thought I’d include a picture of one of my plants, which is looking quite nice. I still don’t know what it is, so I’m groping in the dark when it comes to caring for it. I water it twice a week with the others, and occasionally put it where it gets a little sunlight.

This afternoon I went to Carrefour, which seems to be my most reliable source for household items. I picked up something that will contribute immeasurably to my well-being here in China:

(I would have bought more than one, but this was the only one they had, and it didn’t have a price tag on it. The cashier had to call for a price check and it took forever to discover it was ¥4.60 – about $0.50. Some things are the same all around the world.) While refrigerators with freezers are commonplace now, the Chinese have not picked up the American habit of putting ice in drinks (aside from cocktails when they go out), and my freezer did not come with any ice trays. This one was the best I could find – I didn’t think tiny pieces of ice in the shapes of assorted fruit would be as practical. On a (tenuously) related note, some restaurants will have two or three prices listed for each kind of beer on the drink menu. It’s not the size of the bottle, it’s the temperature. Colder costs more, room temperature is cheaper.

While I was at Carrefour, my BlueBerry buzzed with an email from JW. His wife had read about a Mexican restaurant that is highly regarded, so they were going there for dinner. I couldn’t make their departure time, so I said I would just join them later.
On the way there, I came across this fellow directing traffic around a construction site. Yes, it’s a mechanical officer.

The restaurant is called El Fogoncito, and it’s kind of hard to find, tucked into a half-finished office/retail complex called the Wanda Center. The others had already had some appetizers and drinks before I arrived, and the report was, “So far so good.” I’m pleased to report that the food was quite good. I have certainly had worse Mexican food in several states of the US. BG was quite pleased, and had a great time chatting in Spanish with the owner.

So now we’ve found decent Mexican food, which had previously been on our “Conspicuously Absent” list. I was told the margaritas were not good, so BG promised to have a word with the owner about that. They had some decent tequilas behind the bar so I must be a matter of technique or recipe.
And here’s something I came across the other morning while waiting for my ride to work, a leftover of the fireworks madness.


  1. When coming back to the US you can't bring any dangerous goods into the country. However it says nothing about Dengrous goods so I would like to submit an order :)

  2. Late reply, and don't know if you'll get this. But Gene says that plant with the yellow flower is a zebra plant. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1340.html