Zhuhai - Setting up, looking for work
Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
80Trip End Dec 31, 2009
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This was a transitional week for our family. We finally felt like we have planted some roots here because when Janice was offered a job on the other side of the city (about 30 minutes by bus from where we are) we voted it down because that would mean we would have to move closer. Although we have not seen much of Zhuhai we all feel comfortable were we are now living. I for one am not a 'city person' but look forward to integrating and learning as much as possible about the people and the city as I can during the time we are here.
While out walking one morning I found a large outdoor fresh water 50 metre unheated swimming pool. I had been desperately looking for a way to get back into shape and the best thing would be swimming as I still only had a cheap pair of plastic flip flops from our travels in India. I was so excited to be able to swim in a fresh water outdoor pool in February!
While enquiring about the pool the man assisting me was about to leave and offered to drive Sabrina and I back near our home. My Chinese is not very good and while my new friend Simon's English is okay I was not sure where we would be dropped. As we got closer and closer I excitedly pointed to our tall pink buildings that are landmarks for the area and said we lived there. It turned out Simon lives there too. Simon actually lives in the same building on the 21st floor and goes swimming every morning and offered to drive me. This was perfect. Since then we have become good friends and have found we have many of the same interests in common.
Now that we are settling into our apartment even the marble floor that we spend most of our time on seems to be getting softer. Janice thinks that the marble floor is just a way to get you used to the hard Chinese beds! The high humidity is proving a challenge for us newbies. It seems that our clothes are wetter after hanging on a line for a day then when they come out of the wash machine. We are getting Chinese lessons almost every evening. I am very proud of the whole family as they are all trying very hard. I have studied Chinese off and on for almost 20 years and everyone is quickly catching up and will soon pass my ability. Also, two exciting and welcomed additions to our place this week are two chairs (our only two).
We also added a sofa which we acquired while walking down the sidewalk in front of our building. I saw a nicer looking sofa sitting on the sidewalk and as a joke said "dwo sho chen" (pardon my pinyin) which means "how much?". To my surprise the lady gave me a price which was very cheap and as a guy that loves to bargain I offered half the price back. For $12 we got a 'new to us' sofa delivered to our 10th floor apartment and had the worn out one we got with the place removed.
After searching and searching (from India, Hong Kong then mainland China to Ebay) I finally found a store that sold shoes larger than size 10 thanks to my friend Simon who has lived here his whole life. It turns out I had to buy a pair of size 12 running shoes to get the fit I needed. I find that the littlest things seem to bring us joy these days..............I hope it lasts!
On Sunday we went to the Holiday Inn to watch Zhuhai's first ½ marathon. It felt like we were celebrities as we kept getting our photos taken and constantly being asked if we could pose with people. The top five finishers were a group of friends and one of them gave us their race metal along with chocolate bars for our family.
Our Chinese teacher, Bella who is also the kindergarten teacher at the school here at the 'garden' (what our complex is referred to as) asked if Monique would come to her class. Monique was so excited she even got herself up and was already to go for the 7:30 start of school. However, upon arriving at school we learned that Monique could only attend if she got a letter from the doctor stating that she is in good health and is up to date on all necessary vaccinations.
We have noticed that the Chinese are very particular when it comes to health issues. Although we read about the 'bird flu' and other diseases that have plagued China I think they do more to eliminate the spread of germs and harmful diseases than most. For example, as you go thru immigration they use heat imaging technology to determine if someone's body temperature is higher than normal which would indicate illness. You will not be given entry if you are sick.
At the grocery stores anyone handling food has a face mask, hair net, gloves etc so that nothing of their person comes in contact directly or indirectly with your food. I noticed this because we don't see this level of cleanliness at home.
Other observations this week:
Only Chinese can carry their cell phones in their back pockets and sit on them without them breaking. If I did this it would be "good bye telephone and hello pancake".
China has the best tasting carrots in the world (take it from an old farmer). So much so that it is the number one requested snack of all our children.
I asked the building manager if cats or dogs were allowed in the building and he said no but I wonder about the 8 chickens caged up in our stairwell stinking up the whole lobby area of our floor.
We in the West should consider ourselves very lucky as our prices for items are not much different than prices here and in India. I thought that things would be so much cheaper than home. You can get really cheap products but they are just that. If you compare (quality etc) like items the price is not usually much different than shopping at home. For example, I can buy a printer at Staples in Canada and here at the same cost yet the one in Canada had to be shipped from here!
Where we live: Zhuhai
Located at the southern tip of the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province, Zhuhai is one of the five special economic zones in China. It faces Hong Kong in the east across the sea and joins Macau in the south. Also, it is close to many other cities in Guangdong Province.
Standing on the west bank of the estuary of the Pearl River to the South China Sea, Zhuhai is a gardenlike coastal city with 146 charming islands. With its amazing large green area, the city is a modern ecotypic resort. The beautiful Jingshan Road and Qinglu Road (Lovers' Road) add romantic atmosphere to Zhuhai. In 1990s, Zhuhai City as a whole was selected as one of the top 40 tourist attractions in China. And in 1998, it won the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment. Since then, Zhuhai has become known to the world as a most suitable place for human living.
Our climate as at 5am:
Current Details Humidity 88 % Cloud Cover 90 % Visibility 16 km Max Temp. 24 °C Dewpoint 19 °C Min Temp. 19 °C Ceiling 4,907.3 m Departure -2 °C Apparent Temp. 22 °C High Past 6 Hrs. 21 °C Wind Chill 21 °C Low Past 6 Hrs. 20 °C Wind Speed 19 km/h Precip Past 3 Hrs. 0.0 mm Wind Direction E Precip Past 6 Hrs. 0.0 mm Wind Gusts 27 km/h Precip Past 24 Hrs. 0.0 mm Pressure 101 KPA Pressure Tendency Steady