Sleep-ins and Sim cards

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We slept till 8.30 this morning!

Breakfast was peanut-butter and Jam sandwiches on Chinese bread (which is ridiculously sweet and has a bit of a weird texture) because we had no power.  Not that we would have cooked anything anyway, we are still trying to work out what local people eat for breakfast. 

We met Taj, the teacher in charge at the school that we will be working at, in the lobby and he took us for a walk to show us how to pay for water, internet and phone, power and to buy sim cards.  We will probably not have to pay for water again (although we won't find out if we need to until we suddenly have no water), electricity only needs to be topped up when you run out and internet is paid on the first of the month at a store not too far away

Getting a Chinese sim card was a bit of a process.  We had to take our passports and sign officially stamped papers (The Chinese appear to love official stamps, they are on everything) and register our new Chinese numbers. On the first of the month instead of extending credit to your account they "terminate" your account until you pay the bill. We are on plans that give us a couple of hundred text messages, about 500mb of data and 200-300 minutes of calls.  All for approximately $25NZD/month.  Jealous much?

What this now means though is that we are connected to the world back home (viber is fantastic, hint hint) and I can receive emails and surf allowed websites from my phone.  We also found out that our power was going to be reconnected today, rather than the 3 days we were originally told.  This was great as we were planning on having to move to another apartment until it was fixed.  So we now have power.  And internet, hence this dump of blog entries. 

We were so happy and confident once power, internet and mobile phones were going that we were planning on just going out and finding something for dinner. Taj had taken us to a Japanese supermarket called "Isetan" which stocks lots of western food (they sold Anchor butter and Mainland cheese!!) and we had had lunch in a Korean restaurant in the food court underneath.  We thought that we would return there and find something for dinner.  What we had forgotten was that we could not speak a word of Chinese.  We were not particularly keen to go back to the Korean place and no where else appeared to have a menu with any English or picture to point to.  While Maccas, K-fry and Subway were all present (as well as a sushi place and a Chinese version of Western food which looked terrible), they all require some Mandarin skills to order.  We have none.  So after wondering around the supermarket wondering what we could cook on our hotplate, we decided in the end to go back to the pizza place outside our building are try some of the other food on the menu.  The waitress recognised us and bought us the English menu from which we ordered Teriyaki Chicken and Satay Beef.  It was ok, and hopefully we won't regret our first really local meat experience later.  It was a bit on the expensive side though, paying about 50 yuan, or $10NZD for both. Hah.

With our need for Mandarin skills increasing daily, we need to learn more soon.  We have both become experts at saying "thank-you" and "hello" but that doesn't really help order dinner.  Getting food is a great motivator to learn however, so I'm sure we will be pros in no time. 
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Gramz on

This is a great idea for us to armchair travel with you. Possibly breakfast is rice, rice or rice! xx

carol on

when we were in Taiwan they would have left overs from dinner for breakfast! They didnt waste anything at all. Anything left over would be eaten at the next meal.
When out for dinner, even if it was soup, the left overs would be put in a bag and taken home! It made us realize how wasteful we sometimes are here!!!

Aaron on

Love how excited you were to find NZ dairy goodness in China! I'm gonna ask our sales team where you can get country goodness UHT mill too! x

Aaron on

Hey guys! I talked to our sales manager and he said... Hi Aaron. I was in Tianjin just last month and found Country Goodness in a number of premium super markets (usually located in shopping malls). Additional to this they should be able to find it at any Carrefour, Metro, Walmart and Auchan store. If they can't find it let me know and we'll get Goodwell to get it in!

Hope you guys are having a good day, loving all the new blog entries!

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