Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chinese Food for Breakfast, Chinese Food for Lunch, Chinese Food for Supper

I wrote this blog entry when I was in China but the Chinese firewall blocked access to my blog when I was there unless I was hooked up to the network at work.  I am just now getting around to actually posting my blogs.

If you follow my blog at all, you will know that I have realized and acknowledged that I am a fussy eater – this really came out when I went to Seoul, Korea a few years back, so when I found out I was coming to China, I immediately started get scared.  You hear all of these stories about the different “things” that they eat over here and by things, I mean parts!  And I don’t eat parts.  Or donkey.

One of my friends asked me what I have been eating and I said “Chinese food” and she called me an “asshole” thinking that it was a flippant response, but it is true – that is all that I have been eating and I am getting tired of it.  It’s not that the food is back because it isn’t, but honestly, eating the same sort of food every day for a week for 2 of your 3 meals gets really tiring.  If I wanted, I could have Chinese for breakfast, lunch and dinner but so far I have limited it to lunch and dinner as my hotel has a buffet at breakfast that includes western food like bacon. . .I LOVE bacon.  Now I have to admit, I was apprehensive on the first day with the bacon because not all bacon is created equal and it did look a little different – it has a different type of marbling, so I only took 1 piece.  Well boy was I ever surprised – the bacon here is AWESOME so I went back for more.  For the mornings when I have gone down for breakfast it has typically been bacon, a croissant, OJ and a cooked tomato – not very exciting I know but honestly, eating congee or some other Chinese creation at breakfast is not my thing.  For the days when I skip breakfast, I am happy to report that there is a Starbucks in our building and even in China, they charge European prices = EXPENSIVE!  (but worth it)

Last night (Wednesday) one of my colleagues, Zhuang wanted to share with us one of his favourite Peking Duck restaurants, so who was I to say no, even though the thought of eating duck scared me, as I have never been a big duck fan.  Well, let’s put it this way, no part of the duck goes to waste!  Just looking at the menu sent me into a mental tizzy.  But boy was the duck ever good!!!  I can honestly say, that I will have Peking duck again (minus the soup with the parts)

So today (Thursday) for lunch my two co-workers asked what I wanted and I said “not Chinese”, so off to Fat Burger it was.  You would swear by how quickly I scarfed down that burger and onion rings that I hadn’t eaten in weeks!  After I ate it, I realized that it was the first “North American” type of food that I have had in 6 weeks since I moved to The Netherlands and boy did it ever taste good!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chinese Torture

I have come up with two of my own forms of Chinese torture.

#1 – Go into a Chinese lingerie shop and ask them to fit me for a bra.

#2 – At the market where all you hear is “hey lady – wanna buy some shoes? Uggs, Toms, Converse” “I have big feet” “oh, we have you size” “I have big feet” “oh no worry, we have you size” after trying to jam my feet into a shoe “oh you have big feet”.

These are being posted out of order due to the fact that the great Chinese firewall blocks this website.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Off to China

Who knows if you will get to read these real time or if I will only be able to post them when I get back to Europe - but for those of you who don't know, which is probably most of you, I am heading to Beijing, China for a week. I have told a few people about this, mainly my parents, closest friends and my colleagues at work, but I haven't been overly vocal about it. Let's put it this way - I haven't put it on Facebook yet and depending on whether or not I will be able to access Facebook or not, people might not find out until I get back.

I think travelling through Schipol (the airport in Amsterdam) is going to take some adjusting. Now I am a Star Alliance girl, in fact I have my Altitude 100K with Aeroplan (the old Super Elite) and Schipol is a KLM/Sky Miles airport. Fortunately KLM has status matched my Aeroplan so I also have my Flying Blue Gold with them but I digress. I am flying Lufthansa via Frankfurt to go to Beiiing. I had the option of taking the direct KLM flight, however I opted for Lufthansa for a few reasons. #1 - my aeroplan points. I want to hold on to a high level of status with Aeroplan b/c for me, they have the best benefits (upgrade credits and the best baggage allowance). This flight should net me about 10 000 aeroplan points or so. #2 - I wasn't happy with the KLM business class seats when I moved to The Hague - they didn't seem to recline that far. For this flight I could have flown KLM, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific or Austrian. I researched out each one's business class, as that is the class that I can fly and although I have heard great things about Cathay Pacific, their points are with oneWorld, which is British Airways, American, etc - and I have been status matched with BA to their highest as well, but it just isn't a good program, so why waste good mile accurage on them. Being that this is a KLM hub, the Lufthansa counter was relegated to the back corner and unless you really look, you can't see the dedicated First/Business/Star Alliance Gold check-in. Now I am a bit of a princess when I travel - I know, surprise, surprise, but this is one of the perks that I enjoy - dedicated check-in. I want to go up to a person and I want to see them tag my bag. I don't want to have to go to a kiosk and do it myself. Well I like I said, the dedicated check-in was buried in the back and I almost used a kiosk to check in but at the last minute spotted the dedicated check-in. I had thought that surely there must be check-in for business!

The my next little bit of hell was the security line-up. In Canada I had my Nexus card (oh how I love you) and as a priority member person with aeroplan, you could go in the "quick" line. Imagine my horror as I joined the regular line up today! It was busy and crowded and once again I thought - surely there must be a line for us special people. I kept looking around for someone to ask but couldn't find anyone. After standing in the line for about 2 minutes, I once again spotted a sign up ahead for Priority Members, so I had to make my way out of the line and quickly entered the Priority Line - much, much better and much, much more what I am used to! :-) The only crap thing was there was this little kid who needed a good spanking. He was about 2 1/2 years old and throwing a huge fit, that lasted a good 5 minutes b/c his monther wouldn't carry him. How could she - she also had a set of 5 month old twins in car seats that she was also trying to get through security. Fortunately she did have her dad with her (or at least I hope he was her dad). Even after they go through security and into the main hall, the kid kept on screaming for no apparent reason. Spanking if you ask me!

Now security here - you have to take out EVERYTHING that is electronic, including iPads, phones, cameras, computers and all chargers and plug-ins. Normally it's not a biggy as I pack with my laptop close to the top - easy to get in and out but the rest of it, it was buried here and there. I think to be quick and efficient at security and this time I wasn't as I had to dig through my bag to find everything, and then put it back when I got through. I am going to have to rethink my Schipol security strategy.

Getting back to being the 2nd class citizen in this airport, I am currently sitting in the Serviceair lounge which