Thursday Dec. 20

Well, what a couple of days for the Watts. For the first three months we have been here, our monthly utility bill has been in the $12 – $15.00 range. We don’t actually get a bill – we just have money in a bank account and the “State Grid” takes out what they want each month. On Dec. 1st I checked it and there was just over $50.00 there – no worries. Last night, however, there is a knock at the door and a woman from the State Grid is there with a bill for us for $90. She asks if we have a Chinese friend to phone, so we call Mr. Zhao. They talk for almost 5 minutes. Apparently we have used quite a bit more electricity in the past little while in our feeble attempts to keep warm. So now I sit in the dark writing this. (Just kidding – deposited a whack o’ cash this morning so we should be okay). It is interesting – we have two heaters which provide the warmth in the living area, but if we turn on the washing machine, we have to turn one of them off or the breaker blows. So laundry is done only during the day when Geoff is home, since he can handle the cold. (More body fat).

As we have said, our pal Ken is coming on Friday – managed to get out of Vancouver despite the weather you are having. We are going to Shanghai this weekend and the plan is to return there from the 27th until the 1st. BUT the Chinese government is  – let’s say fluid  – that’s as good an “f” word as any – with their plans. The New Year’s holiday was going to be the 30th, 31st and 1st which was great. Today however, they changed it. Mr. Zhao told Terry that it would now be the 1st, 2nd and 3rd – which really messed up our plans. BUT the school is great and agreed to honor the original agreement and so now we (well, Terry) will have from the 29th to 4th off – very generous of them, for sure.

We are both feeling a great deal better – thank you for all your kind wishes. Today I provide you with some more images, taken on my walk to RT Mart for groceries today.

It is not uncommon (as opposed to "it is common") to see dogs riding around on scooters with their owners.

It is not uncommon (as opposed to “it is common”) to see dogs riding around on scooters with their owners.

One of the many canals that wind their way through Jiaxing.

One of the many canals that wind their way through Jiaxing.

I'm not sure, but they may have meant "Christmas in the Castle" - a turkey dinner for $35.00

I’m not sure, but they may have meant “Christmas in the Castle” – a turkey dinner for $35.00

I have yet to go by these two (and I walk this way frequently) when they are NOT playing this checkers like game. (Rain, sun or cold - any time of the day I go by.)

I have yet to go by these two (and I walk this way frequently) when they are NOT playing this checkers like game. (Rain, sun or cold – any time of the day I go by.)

These are fluorescent tubes. What is unusual is that the structure is brand new, just being built today. There are is no ballast or cases - just wired together.

These are fluorescent tubes. What is unusual is that the structure is brand new, just being built today. There are no ballasts or cases – just wired together.

Why they didn't take this tree down when they built the mall is beyond me. It sits over an entry to the underground parking lot, by the way.

Why they didn’t take this tree down when they built the mall is beyond me. It sits over an entry to the underground parking lot, by the way. (A rarely used one, I suspect.)

There are two sets of these heavy plastic strips at the RT Mart (Save-On) - they may be designed to keep the cold out, but all they really do is make it difficult to get in and out. All the cashiers wear heavy winter coats.

There are two sets of these heavy plastic strips as you enter the RT Mart (Save-On) (second one just inside on the right) – they may be designed to keep the cold out, but all they really do is make it difficult to get in and out. All the cashiers wear heavy winter coats.

Mmmm Chicken Wings, chicken feet and chicken drumsticks - help yourself.

Mmmm Chicken Wings, chicken feet and chicken drumsticks – the bulk food section in RT Mart.

Well that’s it – the next post will be from Shanghai after a drink or two. Today is the end of my no wine during the week trial – perhaps I will do it again in January. FYI to the doubters, I had two beer during the week once when we were out to dinner to celebrate Terry’s inspection. I am quite proud of myself!

6 thoughts on “Thursday Dec. 20

  1. lois marsden

    It appears that safety issues may be in the development stage…looking at the parking lot entry, the florescent bulbs, some wiring photos and heating issues….a country which is a work in progress. Why don’t they heat buildings? Too costly?

    Reply
  2. GARRY GATLEY

    Geoff’s and Terri: we are enjoying the chronicles of your adventure very much. Thanks to Geoff’s assistance. Have a wonderful Christmas and we will have a glass of wine for Geoff during his abstinence from the demon rum. Take care and enjoy life. Garry and Candice

    Reply
  3. Ken Haycock

    Greetings from Tokyo airport! Leaving in two hours and then two hours and I am there! Excited! Get over your colds and get the heat on! –The Wimp

    Reply

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