The Latest

The Latest

A lot’s been going on these last several days. Temps remain hotter than hell, but John and I are trying to fight it. The dogs are now getting me up between 5:15 and 5:30 every morning… I used to like waking up early, but now it’s getting a little annoying. In the end, what can you do but give in. It’s tough to ignore Remy’s breath in my face. Plus, even with my eyes shut, I can feel her sorry brown eyes staring at me. The good news is that by now, I have learned to venture out into the grasses well-protected. That means kicking the flip flops/shorts habit and opting for socks, sneakers, and long pants. The buggies don’t get me now!! My legs are bite-free. Hurray!

We recently saw “Shi Mian Mai Fu” (Ambush from All Sides), aka “House of Flying Daggers.” It’s the latest Zhang Yimou film. Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of Chinese movies– actually, John says I’ve never really been a big fan of anything culturally Chinese (which is true). Maybe it was the decade of forced attendence at Chinese school, or maybe it was the monotony of having Chinese food all while growing up— I dunno, but for most of my adolescent and adult life, I was really sick of Chinese stuff. Anyway, the strange thing is, I’m finally getting into Chinese things– guess that’s a good thing, considering that I’m now living here. So back to the movie: we had originally planned to see it at the Kodak Theater in downtown XuJiaHui (our subdistrict). John’s tutor Lenni (who is sorta a Ms. Know-it-all) said a matinee movie would only cost 40 yuan there. Figuring a native would know what she’s talking about, I went ahead and arranged a movie meetup with Carol and her friend. When we got there, the tickets were 60 yuan– for all movies. We bailed on the movie that day, and following further research, I located a playing at the SH Film Art Center (where the SH Film Festival is held yearly) for only 40 yuan. 60-40, doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when people are making 20 yuan/hour, it is. Anyway, the movie was awesome. A lot of the critics and chinese newspapers said the plot was really lame; John and I mostly didn’t follow the plot. Cinematically, it was incredible. I swear, anytime I see some kind of performance– be it musical, dance, theatrical, whatever– afterwards, I feel like such an untalented freak. I wanted to learn martial arts after this movie. But for now, I’m limiting my hobbies to Chinese literacy and guzheng. I gotta pace myself.

Oh, NPR’s Rob Gifford (another whitey who is fluent in Mandarin!) is doing an excellent special on China. His 14-day assignment takes him on a 3,000 mile journey across China. John and I have been listening to his series every day. Rob rocks! I’m gonna see if my buddy Korva can hook me up with this tough-as-nails dude. Hey, not everyone is willing to trek across China via bus, taxi, hitchhiking. Having had several foul experiences on board a Chinese bus, I give him mad props. Check out the map online: it’s a damn long journey.

In other news, John and I followed up our previous weekend experience (porno pool) with bowling at Sakura. Located down an stinky, dingy alley, Sakura is a 40-lane bowling facility only frequented by locals. We went around 10:30 at night. The place was surprisingly dead. Only a handful of lanes were occupied. Oh well, no complaints here. I guess what I’ve read is true: Karaoke has really swiped bowling alleys of their business.

John and I really enjoy bowling. Actually, I got John into the sport several months ago. Initially, he was so reluctant and uninterested. Now, he loves it. He’s always trying to top that all-time personal best (165?). Unfortunately, I’m a very inconsistent bowler. In fact, I’m a very inconsistent athlete. I blame it on my form (or lack thereof). I always try to use the correct form, but I never get it right. It was like that with b-ball. Oh well, I enjoying bowling, so I’m gonna keep at it. Who cares if no one wants me on their league. 🙂

OMG, yesterday John and I went to a Beijing duck restaurant. Soooo good. Yeah, in case if you need me to spell it out, poultry is now off my meat list. Without a cheap and large supply of cheese, I’m really struggling to find food that is filling. We cut the Wuster back to just twice a week, and in the summer, the dishes are kind of limited. The Chinese believe that in hot weather, you must consume “cooling” foods. So that’s just a few light veg dishes and zou (soupy rice). I am currently reconsidering my vegetarianism, which is very disturbing to me… more on this later.

Ok, John and I are having an ice cream social in our home office. Time to watch Fahrenheit 9/11. 🙂

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