Jan 1, 2012

A Letter from China!

Happy 2012!
Hi everyone.  It is New Years Day in China.  Believe it or not we are sitting around watching football. 
 

We celebrating New Years Eve at a place called "The Brew" last night with a Chinese rock band singing Justin Beiber songs.  Earl was giving a special brew master's tour of the facilities  and we ate risotto truffles, blue cheese and barbecued ribs.  I had a meringue with a strawberry filling.  Nothing primitive about the expat lifestyle.

I cannot write online using Earl's computer because the Chinese have blocked Blogger.  It is very frustrating for me.  I did have a VPN but they have also blocked that service.  I will wait to use a computer somewhere else or back at home.  I guess there is no way for them to sort the good people out from the bad. 

Air quality has been very bad but the wind is blowing off the China sea today so I guess the muck will be circulating the earth before long.  It has not rained since we arrived and every leaf on every plant has turned a dusty brown color. 

After a drive yesterday it occurred to me that sewage may be a problem especially with so much standing water.  In this largest city in the world the millions of people do have a hard time disposing of their waste.  Andy tells me the largest sewage treatment plant in the world is located out here in Pu Dong close to their house.  As for the garbage, trucks are hauling huge loads out to use as fill for the new runways they are building out in the sea at the Pu Dong International Airport.  Amanda keeps saying garbage is making China bigger really fast!  It is so amazing to see.

The trip to Vietnam was just as wonderful as we thought it would be.  We traveled from the far north very near the China border on the eastern slope of the Himalayan Mountains to the southern tip of the country where a fishing village was surrounded by house boats on the southern island.  The smell of Vietnamese fish sauce lingers in my nose and I feel that I smell like fish still.  The food was delicious and it made my life of dealing with celiac easy.  I lost several pounds just because there was nothing to snack on.

We traveled on the night train to Sapa in the north as well as taxis, vans, planes both big and very small.  I saw silk sleeping bags in markets but could not understand what they were for until we saw trekkers beginning their journeys through the mountains to do home stays with H'mong families.  I wished I'd had one on the train.  In fact, when we arrived back at Andy's house the first thing we did was wash everything we owned.  Amanda just threw many things away.  We all were sick at one time or another but nothing serious.  My hands were raw from washing.

We will be leaving on the fifth (Thursday) and arrive home on that same day.  That international date line still is hard for me to wrap my mind around! We miss you all.

Love you,
Barbara 

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