Archive for September, 2010

Watch out!

Not sure what to make of the Chinglish translation at the ATM machine:

"If the machine does not vomit cash, please speak to front desk manager"

Around the office

(JM) It’s just one of those odd days here at my office- don’t know exactly how to put my finger on it. Is it the four students smoking cigarettes in the hallway right under the ‘No Smoking’ sign? Is it the jackhammer right outside the window that has been interrupting my class all morning? Maybe it’s the office memo distributed advertising the new satellite TV service the resident teachers have requested, described as "provided using pirated software and non-original hardware".

No, I think it must be the mice. Cleaning up the desk of my office cubicle after the mice have been at it again last night just isn’t sitting well today. And no one even had a little hand sanitizer to help the cleanup effort.

Return Destination: Nanjing

Some of you may wonder what it’s like to travel to China with toddlers. Here’s our pictorial account of an international flight with two little people.

Step 1: Arrive at Vancouver airport at 9am. Unload suitcases and check out the aquarium in the terminal. Baby #2 sleeps on someone’s back.

Step 2: Board a 12 hour flight to Shanghai. Request bulkhead seating to use the infant bassinet. Eventually (after 6 hours) put both kids to sleep and cover with blankets.

Step 3: Deboard at Shanghai airport. Total travel time so far: 15 hours. At Pudong airport catch the Maglev train into downtown Shanghai. What would be a 60 minute cab ride through traffic takes 8 minutes at 430km/h.

Step 4: Call friend who has picked up train tickets for us in advance- there are never any seats left unless you buy them more than 2 or 3 days in advance. Problematically, they don’t go on sale until just 10 days in advance.

Board taxi headed for friend’s house to get tickets. See Shanghai’s cloudy skyline, and wish you could go see the Expo.

Step 6: Pay friend for tickets, and find out you have a three hour layover at the Shanghai railway station.  Continue in taxi to station, and find a dumpling restaurant that will amuse you (or you them!) for three hours before boarding the train.

Step 7: Watch as toddler falls asleep in your seat on the train as you enviously watch from standing position, wishing you had a sleeper car ticket. [Luckily this is a fast train that takes just over an hour and a half to get into Nanjing.]

Step 8: Arrive at Nanjing train station with two babies, two backpacks, three suitcases, and a food bag all in tow, and try to fight the crowds for a taxi. Board a taxi while toddler melts down from being kept awake after 22 hours of traveling.

Step 9: Get to hotel room instead of apartment (which is being fixed up and is closed). Crash out for the rest of the night/day, and wake up at 4 am local time with two babies bouncing off the walls.

And that’s pretty much a day in the life of a small international oriented family. There’s a reason we only do this at most once a year!