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Tuesday, September 03, 2019

China Day 14 of 160 - A Week Just Flew By Settling In

Umbrellas in sunshine is a way of life here
Our Apartment - 10th floor - facing south
It is hard to believe it has been 2 weeks since we left Tallahassee. We have been very busy figuring out how to settle in as residents. Before you know it - a whole week flew by since my last story. So far everything has been going well.

First off - it took a long time for us to settle into the 12 hour time zone change. Staying up all night to watch the FSU Seminoles football game did not help. We are now into a sleep routine of 9 PM to 6 AM. Our bedroom faces south with a big window so we can watch the sun the whole day. I guess we can say we are adjusted.

Second - we are in our permanent apartment - it is very nice. We are on the 10th floor of a big complex. We have two bedrooms - a living room - a kitchen - and a bath. We have a little separate laundry nook. Our bathroom includes a big shower - an American style toilet - and a regular sink. The kitchen has a gas range - a micro wave - a very nice refrigerator with separate freezer. The faculty of the college painted the apartment white for us. It is completely furnished - but Lulu and I wanted to make it like home - so we spent $1000 at Ikea on stuff. The stuff arrives tomorrow - once the apartment is outfitted - we will send pictures and video.

We have a big screen TV. We have DSL internet - about 40 mbps speed. The one bedroom has a king bed - the other one has a double bed. We have a dinette set - a sectional sofa - some tables. We have three separate AC units - the split kind. Each room can be set differently.

I love these little 3 wheel electrics - seats 4

Birth's Nest - National Outdoor Stadium

Olympic Park logo

Olympic characters

My Olympic hot dog - eaten in stadium

Nice seats - comfortable - roomy aisles

Naitonal Indoor Stadium - Olympic Basketball Trials

We spent $1000 and 4 hours.

12 cokes - $2.50

Lice crabs at WuMart

Checking out of our campus hotel - 7 bags

BNU administration building

We bought new four inch thick mattress toppers - mattress over here are very solid.  We got new curtains - new linens - new towels - new dishes - pots - silverware.

We have a nice washer - but no dryer. It is standard to hang your clothes. We can do that in the laundry on a rack. There is no dishwasher - so guess who will be put to service. I do dishes and laundry.

It is just like newlyweds starting house keeping. Lulu said it was a miracle that we spent four hours in IKEA and did not argue once. I guess it is at my age - that stuff does not matter anymore. If I have a good place to sleep and a good place to bathe - throw in wifi - and I am set.

I have not told you much about China so far. The people have been most wonderful. They are very helpful and respectful. They really notice us with our white faces and Lulu's yellow hair. They come in all shapes and sizes - but one thing for sure - they are a lot skinnier than we are. More women wear skirts and dresses here. Young people love to wear shirts with English words on them - some things seem silly - but they like American stuff. They want to practice their English on you - if they have any. Most people do not understand us at all but try.

We have a free App called google translate. It turns English to Chinese and vice versa. It also reads labels. If you point your iphone at a label - you find out if it is shampoo or dog food. This is very useful.

We love taking the bus and taxi here. Both are very very cheap. A bus ride is 15 cents anywhere in the city. The buses always have a drive and a host. The host is like a cop but he also helps you - makes sure you hit your stop. It keeps you safe. There are a lot of buses that stop at our apartment. Taxis are cheap - example - a ride to IKEA - 10 miles away was $5. A ride from Walmart was $2 - maybe 4 miles away. Of course WuMart is right in our building - similar to Walmart but just food.

We already went to Olympic Park on Sunday. We went to Tiananmen Square the first few days. We have done a lot of shopping in malls. This afternoon we were in a mall about 2 miles away that had 7 floors. The top two floors were all restaurants. It seems a lot of people do not cook here. They either eat out or order in. Everybody delivers here.

There are 25 million people in Beijing. I did not even mention the subway yet. We bought a card and put money on it. The subways are spotless and cheap.

The money system. The currency is Yuan. It is worth about 15 cents. 7 yuan = 1 dollar. We have used our American Express - Visa - and Mastercard here. But locals seldom use cards. The have an App on their phones called WeChat. You get a bank account - and then you put money on your WeChat account. With your phone you pay for everything - food - restaurant - entertainment - taxi - subway - bus. No need to carry card so cash. You can also transfer money from phone to phone. Lulu can give me money phone to  phone - home or away. It is a very safe system.

Beijing is very modern - we will find out if this holds when we go out in the hinterland.

Lulu's classes start a week from today. She teaches one grad class on Tuesday at 1 PM. It is 90 minutes. The rest of the time she is free to travel and enjoy. If she is offered a guest speaker gig anywhere in Asia - Fulbright will pay the expenses.

The USA Embassy runs many events and they already invited Lulu to come and participate. We really got along with the staff there.

It is great having your cellphone here to get around. Apple Maps works without a security program - Google Maps requires a security program. Lulu got a local phone card for $30 for a year of 60 GB of internet. She needed a local phone to get a China Bank Account for WeChat. I kept my T-mobil car d in my phone. Lulu and put her t-mobil card back in at any time. Both work here well.

We can watch American TV in several ways. We brought our Apple TV and it is great for Netflix - Amazon Prime - CNN - ABC - NBC - etc. We also can watch our Tallahassee home TV with our slingbox. We also can listen to Sirius radio over here. We brought an Echo Dot - but have not been successful with that yet.

Weather here has been 80s - not as humid as Florida - it has been sunny - with two hazy days of bad air - in the 100-150 on the air index. It doe snot bother me at all - although you see a few people wearing masks. Some masks seem like fashion statements.

Lulu has a grad student that is on call to help. She is also in Lulu's class. She has been helpful.

Now that we have really good internet - expect more pictures and stories. I have plopped a few pictures on facebook - but it has been random.

Thanks to my friends George and JP at home for taking care of things.  We follow the hurricane intensely.

Tomorrow - Wednesday - at noon - the big IKEA shipment comes. Then we will pimp the apartment out - take the video - and send pictures.

We do have elevators - and the gates are locked by a key FOB.

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