Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Random Observations (12/21/11)

  • The China Daily coverage of the death of Kim Jung Il, the leader of North Korea, couldn’t be any more different than the coverage that we’ve read in the U.S. papers.  “A Friend’s Departure” ran across the first page in large letters the other day; inside, there was more coverage of his life, his accomplishments, and the dismay and despair of the citizens of North Korea upon learning about his passing.  There was also a story about how his son’s rise to power won’t lead to any real changes in North Korea’s relations with other countries.  If only we could be so sure that was the case.
  • Holiday decorations here seem to come directly from the reject bin.  Almost none of the displays show traditional colors, like red or green.  Instead, you get hot pink or burnt orange.  It’s almost as if they manufactured multiple runs of Christmas decorations in every color in China, then realized that certain colors don’t sell, so they decided to dump them on the domestic market. 
  • It’s also virtually impossible to find boxes and wrapping paper here.  I picked up some paper a few weeks back, but have now realized that I’m going to need more.  Despite the fact that it’s a few days before Christmas, I can’t find any, anywhere.  And don’t get me started on the lack of boxes – NO one sells them.  I guess you don’t wrap presents around here.  What I wouldn’t give for a Target or even a Wal-Mart right about now.  Doug and I were both saying how there’s no store like that here; I don’t know why they haven’t moved into this market.    I guess Wal-Mart has been making inroads in China, but we don’t have either here.
  • Every so often, we like to send the boys a treat in their lunches, so a couple of times this year, we’ve sent potato chips.  Apparently, this is a BIG no-no at the school – potato chips are on the list of forbidden, unhealthy foods.  Okay fine, but what I don’t get is that while potato chips are forbidden, candy is not.  In fact, Berkley came home the other day and said he had traded some of his raspberries for cola-flavored candy tape.  And this isn’t a one-time incident; Berkley is constantly coming home telling us how he traded yogurt covered raisins for cookies or baked goldfish for lollipops.  I just don’t understand the calculus where potato chips once in a blue moon are horrifying, but daily doses of sugary crap are okay.
  • Speaking of food, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we ate at McDonald’s twice the other day (apologies to Annette and Tom for making fun of the company that provides so well for them).  Usually on Sundays, I cook breakfast for the family – typically either pancakes or French toast (no waffle maker here, so those are out of rotation) – but it’s a really PITA in our under-equipped kitchen.  Unfortunately, there’s no diner or IHOP around here to head out to on those Sundays when I just don’t feel like going through the work – or so we thought until Doug remembered that McDonalds does breakfast.  Brilliant – we all got eggs and pancakes with no laboring in the kitchen or mess to clean up.  But then later than night in Wan Chai, after a day out and about, we were looking for a promised desert for the boys; all we could find were Chinese bakeries (think pastries with fillings like red bean paste – yuck!).  Once again, McDonalds to the rescue;  we walked up to the Golden Arches and ordered some sundaes that really hit the spot.  At home, we almost NEVER eat at McDonalds – mostly because we don’t really do fast food, but also because if we do, we go to Burger King as they have a veggie burger on the menu.  Here, we eat at McDonalds more than I care to admit.  Now – it’s rarely a full meal as they still don’t have anything we can eat, but the ubiquitousness of Mickey Ds sure does come in handy in a pinch here. 
  • That’s it for now.  The boys are out of school after today, and then on Friday afternoon, we head off to Indonesia (Bali to be exact) for Christmas.  We figured if we can’t spend Christmas with family, then we’re going to spend it by the pool or on the beach.  It’s the first time any of us will have ventured south of the equator, so we’re quite excited.  Doug and I are going to go cold turkey on the email and internet (with the exception of going online to call family on the big day); I’m sure we’ll be back with more details about Indonesia than you’ll actually care to hear.  Merry Christmas everyone!


  1. Have fun! Merry Christmas guys!

  2. Have a wonderful time. We will be thinking of you - Merry Christmas

    Love aunt cheryl

  3. There's still no place like hone for the holidays. You'll be here in our hearts.


  4. LOL on McD's! Merry Christmas!