Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dec 11-14 2014: Beijing serves up an insanely spicy hot pot!



With coworkers at the Water Cube with its constantly
changing colors -- freezing at the Beijing Olympic Grounds

It's tough being away from Olga and Bowie, traveling when he's only 2 weeks old. I hear he's really enjoying taking walks, sleeping longer and deeper afterwards, being so tuckered out. Of course he's not the one doing the walking, but Professor Baby is so curious about the world, every corner turned is a new universe. Every sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste is an explosion of sense.

Hot Pot (mine was the tiny vegetarian pot)

I was discussing this with a Shanghai coworker, he was saying his son falls asleep easily if he has had a chance to go outside during the day. I asked if he ever takes the boy out after work. Oh no, it's not safe. Especially this time of year, December and January, migrant workers are thinking about travel back home for the Chinese New Year, and if they haven't saved up enough, they turn to robbery to get money for travel. It isn't a safe time. Besides, baby boys can't be taken out at night any time. Rural village familiar who had a daughter will buy a kidnapped son so they can pass on the estate. I'm sure this is a nuanced complicated cultural issue I have grossly simplified. But still. Wow.

Rolling out the red carpet for me? You shouldn't have!
This caption really wrote itself...

My Shanghai coworkers have been bugging me for months to sign into a Chinese IM and social network. Friday night, waiting an hour for a table at a super spicy hot pot restaurant, they wore me down. I'm now the proud owner of a WeChat account, with all the silliness, emoji, sightseeing tips, and work project requests that entails. Yes, all of those came through in the first 24 hours :)

WeChat going off while we're having a
SUPER SPICY (aka low-medium) hot pot

Friday my office had one of those "only in China experiences." We are constructing a new office, and the entire floor that was previously occupied from a single company is not being carved into 3 separate suites. We were the first to finish construction last week. Apparently somebody on the floor below ours complained to the building management that too much noise was coming from our floor. This is after we had finished construction, mind you. Suddenly the elevator refused to stop on our floor. And this is mid-day, with about 15 people in the office 23 floors up, without heat or a bathroom (two of those things that have to stay locked up long after construction Needless to say, we had an interesting time pleading our case to the building management of why, after paying rent for two months, and now that we actually finished construction and were trying to settle in, now is not a great time to be disabling the elevator as a weird way of pacifying the downstairs neighbors and keeping us quiet.

Trying to squeeze into the freight elevator with
girders after the regular one was shut down

As my boss often says: In China, nothing is impossible, but everything is difficult. I would add to that "and rarely worth it." When we had our conference room tables rushed, they arrived with a very strong smell of varnish. People in the office started to feel sick. The solution? Open the windows (it's 37 F outside and we currently have no heat) and fill every empty space in the office with plants. The traditional wisdom is that the plants will soak up the fumes and filter the air naturally. Those poor plants!

Oh those poor plants!

1 comment:

The other Olga said...

Screen shot of WeChat please!