Variations on Themes

Thursday Terry and Geoff take the big hot, humid walk over to China Mobile so that Terry can get a SIM card for her Telus phone and use it in China. After 15 minutes of gesturing, speaking slowly etc. we are told that yes this can be done, but they need her passport to do it. Now, they already know the number and the account but who cares. Still need the passport.

So Friday, Geoff is back with the passports – luckily he had both since it turned out that somehow her China account is under his name and having Terry’s passport would have been useless. Then it was off to get train tickets for our trip to Shanghai for the weekend. Then it was off to RTMart to pick up two bottles of wine and two big jugs of orange juice and back home. Sadly, when getting off the elevator Geoff realizes that he has lost his house key. (Luckily our neighbours have a key so he was able to drop off the heavy package). After retracing all his steps – no key. So off to school, get Terry’s and then to get a duplicate – one that doesn’t work when he gets home. Discovers his original key in a different pocket.

Friday  night we were off to two of the new teachers for dinner. Now all week Geoff was unsuccessful in getting Terry a bottle of white wine which was palatable. So one of those two bottles he packed home was a delectable $35.00 sauvignon blanc. When we went to Dani and Becky’s for dinner the bottle managed to make the bottom of the Starbucks’ bag wet enough from condensation that it fell through the bag and shattered. Aaaahhhhh… So looking forward to Saturday.

Saturday Mr. Zhao offered to take us out to the country to see a traditional Chinese village. Apparently it is a model village – supported financially by the government to show how people can live harmoniously. There are 70 families who live there – and it is all residential, no stores or shops other than 1 restaurant. Just before we got there the restaurant had served 100 people on a tour. We had tea there before wandering around a rather nondescript but harmonious, village.

The restaurant kitchen with the traditional Chinese stove.

The restaurant kitchen with the traditional Chinese stove.

Prep and Clean-up Areas

Prep and Clean-up Areas

Momma works at the restaurant doing the dishes.

Momma works at the restaurant doing the dishes. She is likely around 73 – 75.

The stacks of wood throughout the village all enjoy thatched roofs.

The stacks of wood are located throughout the village, and are used for heating and cooking. They all enjoy protective thatched roofs.

Then it was off to Walmart to buy the necessary foodstuffs for a BBQ. Mr. Zhao had arranged for us to have a BBQ with one of our students and his parents. Turns out that Johnny’s Mom is a deputy of some sort in the government and has some influence in the district.When we get to Walmart:

  • Mr. Zhao – “What should we buy?”
  • Geoff  – “How about steaks?”
  • Mr. Zhao – “Okay – what else?”
  • Geoff – “Well, what do you think?”
  • Mr Zhao – “I don’t know – I have never done this before.”

OMG – we wind up buying 4 “filet mignons” (Ed. note: See photo”), half a dozen skewers of mystery meat, okra, purple potatoes, beer, water and away we go. Now Terry is wondering what is going to happen when we get to the BBQ place – are there plates? knives and forks? BBQ Tools? chairs? tables? After driving for 20 minutes we get to some kind of park or orchard or something with lots of trees, a lake to go fishing in and lots of overgrown, unkempt, tall grass. There is also some kind of restaurant there so they supply chopsicks, plates and glasses AND they will serve you additional food, plus they get the BBQ started for you – in the back – and then carry it around to the front so you can cook. (Ed. note: See photo). After a little discussion they managed to find a butcher knife with a 10″ blade so that we could slice up the meat once it was cooked as well as the okra and the potatoes so they wouldn’t take forever to cook on the BBQ. (Ed. note: See photo. Guess who did the cooking). The restaurant supplies us with some vegetables, some mushrooms and – get this – a beef and potato dish – go figurre. At Walmart, Johnny’s mom had bought 4 beer and I figured that wasn’t going to be enough so I threw in 2 more (Ed. note: All warm, of course). Guess what – Johnny’s dad is driving – no beer; Johnny’s mom doesn’t drink – no beer; George is driving – no beer; Johnny is only 16 – no beer;  Terry isn’t terribly hot – 1 beer; what was I to do? All in all, though, it was a very pleasant, if unusual evening – I mean we were the entertainment for all the other diners who came to eat at the restaurant.

We had a lovely view of the stagnant pond from our table. Geez, could this be where the millions of mosquitos came from?

We had a lovely view of the stagnant pond from our table. Geez, could this be where the millions of mosquitos came from?

4 Filet Mignon - 1/2" think and 5" in diameter. The BBQ is about 4 feet long and 8 inches wide. No way to regulate the heat, though.

4 Filet Mignon – Chinese style – 1/2″ thick and 5″ in diameter. The BBQ is a 4 foot long and 8 inch wide trough on a stand – large hibachi. No way to regulate the heat, though. They carried the trough and the stand separately. Martha the dog was hopeful.

The Shoe Blog

It is hard to get photos of t-shirts, so I don’t have photos but here are two sayings I have seen recently:

  1. We All Have to Work Together or We Will Make It (Ed. note: See #2)
  2. The Only Sin is Stupidity (Ed. note: See #1)

Strictly speaking this is not a shoe blog, but rather “This is What I Wear to Work to Unload 80 – 100 Cartons From a Truck” Blog

AND you can't even see the huge movie star sun glasses - maybe she didn't want to be recognized...

AND you can’t even see the huge movie star sun glasses – maybe she didn’t want to be recognized …


8 thoughts on “Variations on Themes

  1. Val Goodridge

    Quite an interesting trip! Not sure I would want to cook filet on that BBQ. Did you hear they got snow in Alberta yesterday and more in the forecast. Enjoy your warmth and humidity.

  2. mary thomas

    Hey… I bet if Jennifer were there, she would have escorted/shown you to a Mobile outlet that could easily get Terry a SIM card for her phone !!!!!!

  3. Joan

    I can’t believe some of the adventures you guys are having! That is a different bbq than we are used to!
    Yes, snow in Calgary, Dennis flew to Calgary this morning is renting a car and driving to Golden, then on to Edmonton to do a land survey for CN and GE for some shelters they are buying! Yikes!

  4. Rich

    Wattsie. Another boom was heard, as you obviously fell off the wagon, AGAIN !! It’s good that you’re trying though. I may have start wearing earplugs with your numerous failures. RR

    1. tdwatt23

      The lack of support from yourself and Ken is somewhat disheartening. I am trying, but people keep throwing obstacles in my way – like last night Tim wanted red wine, so I had to open the bottle for him and then how could I let him drink alone – most inhospitable.


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