Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Time to Market

Before I tell our market tale, I remembered something about our drive from the airport that I had forgotten yesterday. I’ll chalk it up to jetlag. I think I’ve got at least a couple of weeks of playing that card before it gets old. The kind driver, whose name I have sadly forgotten, said to us, “You have one boy and one girl. Nice.” I asked if he had children, and he said just one. He reminded me of something I would have remembered if my mind hadn’t been so mushy after our long day. In China, people are only allowed to have one child. I’m such an advocate of personal choice that this is difficult for me to imagine.

On a lighter note, I asked him if he had ever been to the USA, and he said, “I have a dream.” He continued that he wanted to visit New York one day and “the other city, California”, where that actor was in charge. After Greg and I offered several Terminator impersonations, we were on to a different topic.

We are very fortunate to have such a helpful, kind, and generous friend in Beijing already. Johnny, a co-worker of Greg’s, has really helped us figure things out. Things like paying the power and hot water bills and how to get to the market. And I’m talking MARKET! We met Johnny in the apartment lobby our first morning here, and he guided us to a huge indoor mall/super market/gala! And thank goodness he was with us the first time. He translated food items for us. Everything is in Chinese! Go figure.

On the walk to the market, it was very cold and very windy, which was both a blessing and a curse. Braedyn was one big, teeth-chattering bundle and insisted on being carried. Curse. The wind cleared out a lot of the pollution and I could see blue sky! Blessing. Something else became abundantly clear on this first trip out on the streets. Emily, little blonde-haired, blue-eyed Emily, is a novelty here. We get lots of stares, grins, and points in her direction.

In the store, you grab a cart and guide it through the indoor mall. Our first stop? STARBUCKS! The kids devoured a chocolate-glazed doughnut, just like the ones at home. I slurped up a Venti coffee, while Greg enjoyed his mocha. We didn’t spend any time in the little shops that were selling clothes, shoes, Disney products, etc. We headed straight to the two-story grocery store for some apartment supplies and food.  To get from one story to the next, you go on an escalator type thing. It is a moving ramp without stairs. And the carts magnetically stay put, so there is no chance of getting wiped out from a runaway cart.

You all have seen my diatribes about food and struggling between quality and price and all that. Well, that all goes out the window here. I’d like to say I didn’t have a brief “Oh, CRAP” moment when these two Carrefour workers gave the kids a sample to try in a small cup. They looked at me briefly for permission, and I gave it!!! Johnny came to the rescue and told us it was drink yogurt. I was relieved. FOR A SECOND. Then I started panicking as I wondered if they pasteurize their milk and juices over here. Eeee gad. This is going to take some getting used to.


IMG_0290 (Under the red and yellow sign are dehydrated ducks!)

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