- 50 flights of stairs we climb every day to get to our 5th floor apartment and 5th and 4th floor classrooms
- 7 minute walking commute we endure each day to work
- 1 hour bus ride to ZZ (the capital of Henan)
- 1 kai ($0.15) to rent a bike for an hour
- 3 kai ($0.45) for an hourly moped rental
- 0 dollars we have spend on gas so far
|Working up a sweat on our way to teaching|
|One of our many "stairmasters" (aka classrooms)|
|A river runs through it...sadly no Brad Pitt though|
Ben is either very excited or very surprised
|Sweet upgrade! 35 kph, baby!|
|I got the faster one, naturally|
The ZZ weekly shopping bus was the last transportation vehicle we have experienced here. On Saturday, Sias provides a bus for the foreign faculty to take into the populous capital city an hour away. There we were able to deplete our bank accounts at the Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Walmart, Ikea (!), and other Western shops.
Ben and I skipped the Sbux but hit the Walmart and Ikea pretty hard. We bought a number of things for our apartment: a blanket, pillows, picture frames, candles, and much more. Slowly our place is looking more and more like somebody actually lives there (but who that somebody is, we aren't quite sure yet....).
|Chinese Walmart-- the people aren't as fat, but strangeness still abounds|
The ZZ Ikea was also a very different place but for another reason-- instead of being a giant, orderly, labyrinth-like warehouse, it was a tiny, crowed upstairs apartment...literally. The place was crammed with all things Swedish, which was a welcome departure from the flashy Chinese-style designs and fabrics. But sadly, the prices and the fact that it felt like we were in a Scandinavian hoarder's home made it difficult to shop.
|The world's tiniest Ikea. How I miss Sweden!|
Overall, we had a fun, productive day, but when the bus picked us up at 4 pm, we were beat. Usually my shopping-stamina doesn't last more than an hour or two, so this was quite strenuous to say the least. However, I do anticipate us taking advantage of the bus trip in the future; ZZ has a Home Depot, Metro (like a Costco), a bowling alley, and massive DVD store. But until our energy levels and bank account have recovered, we just might have more low-key weekends here.
That's all for now!