Friday, November 9, 2007

I bought a bag of soy sauce today

Aye, a bag. My 500mL bottle was running low and I could have replaced it for 7 yuan, but 350mL bags were available for 1. Milk is also purchased in bags... and I recently calculated that it's more economical to buy the smaller bags than the bigger ones. Does nothing make sense in this country?

In sadder news, I visited my beloved pool, and was dismayed on two fronts. First, it was twice the price I expected. Then while swimming it turns out that despite the presence of lane ropes and signs instructing otherwise, people still do swim around the perimeter. Later in the evening my opinion of the pool was heightened again somewhat when Phil and I were at the bar. A man approached us and started talking to me, after a short while asking if I knew why he had done so. No, I confessed, to which he explained that he'd seen me swimming earlier. (I refrained from asking if he was the tool I was forced to run into when he cut me off.) The redemption for the pool came in my learning from him that a thirty-use card is available for 330 yuan. (I'd paid 20 for one time.)

To catch up on mundane details for those not yet aware, Alison and I are now living in Hohhot, in the province of Inner Mongolia. It's a smaller city than Changchun, but seems to have a little more culture. All signs are in Mongolian as well as Chinese, so I'm bound to stay to some degree illiterate regardless of how much Chinese I learn. We live in a Muslim district, which was especially interesting during Ramadan when someone would wander about at 3:30 every morning banging pots and pans—or doing something else that sounded like it—the intent of which supposedly was to make sure everybody woke up and had a chance to eat something before sunrise imposed the beginning of the day's fasting. Boy, that guy... as religiously intolerant as it sounds, I wanted to throw rotten eggs at him. (In my defence, I had that reaction before I knew what the heck his reason was for making such a din. But my feelings weren't changed too much by learning it.)

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