Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Last Night in Wuhan

Well, we put the Wu! In Wuhan while we were here but its time to go tomorrow morning. Everyone in the newly expanded family is doing great. Nothing new to report. I am trying a local beer tonight called Blue Ribbon Group. I figure its Chinese Pabst Blue Ribbon. It has a weird taste to it but its still beer. In the absence of new information on the baby, I have more random thoughts on China:

Energy: The hotels make you use your keycard to turn on the power to your room and the air conditioning is set to only go to a certain point. They also turn the whole air conditioning system off during certain times of day to save on power. The cities use electric busses for part of their public transportation which is good. The bad side effects of this energy conservation are that you can’t cool your room off enough during the hot summer days and the showers aren’t very hot.

Personal Liability Lawsuits: There must not ever be any. The sidewalks are uneven and broken here in Wuhan and the construction sites aren’t cordoned off at all. The marble and tile steps everywhere are slippery. As I mentioned before; they drive horribly. We witnessed our cab driver hitting a pedestrian with his side view mirror, a scooter hit by a garbage truck, and an old woman who was narrowly missed by a speeding car.

Bicycles: They love ‘em. It looks like a Schwinn convention in China. They have scooters and motorcycles too. It’s not a stereotype.

Mao: They love him. We went to a Mao shop. There were Mao cigarette lighters. I bought a Mau watch in Tiananmen Square with waving arm action. Tiana bought a video chronicling Mao’s famous swim across the Yangtze River. Somewhere in China there must be Mao lunchboxes and boxer shorts.

Uniforms: I can’t tell the difference between the military, the police, and security officers. They all have similar uniforms. The odd thing is that they aren’t issued uniform footwear. I’ve seen a group of soldiers and some have tennis shoes while others wear dress shoes.

Helmet Laws: They don’t appear to have any. I’ve seen some old looking military helmets used by motorcyclists and an assortment of other odd headwear including construction hard-hats.

Money: The exchange rate is 8 Yuan to one dollar. Prices here are good and the dollar is strong. Mau is on every bill so it doesn’t help to tell them apart. They have 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 Yuan bills as well as 2 Yuan, ½ Yuan, and 1/10 Yuan bills. The latter are worth 1/8 of a U.S. cent and are hard to get rid of once you get them unless you can put 5 together to make a ½ Yuan.

Language: Some people know a little English and want to use it on you; others don’t know any English and don’t care. They're usually nice about it if you're having trouble communicating. Some respond when I use my Chinese and others ignore me completely. It has helped a lot to know some Chinese and I wish I would have known more. One interesting thing to note is that Chinese people engaged in business transactions seem to yell at each other and scowl a lot. The cashier at KFC was a sweet 5 foot 4 woman with a pleasant smile who helped us to order since she spoke a fair amount of English. When Jesse ordered mashed potatoes without gravy, she turned to the cooking staff, scowled, tripled the volume of her voice, and spit out a venomous stream of orders to the cooks. It was scary enough to make us both jump. She then politely turned back to us and returned to her sweet little elf-like self. She must have been doing something right because I noticed from the sign on the wall that she was the employee of the month.

Split Pants: Yes, some children do wear split pants, and yes, they just squat and let her rip right on the street. We saw kids doing number ones and number twos in Beijing and Wuhan. We also saw children playing happily and walking with their parents while their privates enjoyed the afternoon breeze.

Staring: We have been stared at because we are Americans, because we have a Chinese baby, and because we’re loud Americans with Chinese babies. We are as friendly and respectful as we can be but its starting to get a little annoying to be stared at and talked about wherever we go here in the province. There will be hundreds of us walking around with our new kids in Ghoungzhou so it should be better there. It’s starting to creep us all out here in Wuhan, quite frankly. If I went to the mall back home and stared at all the Asian people there like we’re getting stared at here I’m sure they’d get pretty pissed off and call the ACLU.

Television: Reidar and I watched Robot Wars overdubbed in Chinese one night. They have an interesting game show called Lucky Ball and another one like Nickelodeon where they have teams competing against one antoher and the person who loses has a gorilla pour water on his head. There are tons of cartoons in Chinese that Reidar seems to like. The rest of the shows are movies and soap opera types of shows. They also have other American programs with Chinese overdubs and subtitles. Here in Wuhan at least we have satellite TV so there is a whole block of English language channels including CNN so we have been able to see how the whole country is falling apart while we are gone and also see some HBO movies.

The Internet: They have slow shared DSL connections with limited or spotty wireless at both of our hotels so far. We paid $15 per day at the Beijing Hotel but it was free here in Wuhan although very slow. I can’t VPN work or see certain web pages here so it’s really a challenge.

Oh my goodness, that outfit Ari is wearing is just adorable! She looks so happy, and why wouldn't she be? She's now a Burgeson!

Well, since you're all bored, I'll give you an update from the Richards' house. Thomas is getting into even more stuff than before. He'll teach Ari the ropes soon. Maybe she can teach him some Chinese words since he doesn't want to say any English ones anyway.

My brother's wedding has been moved from December to 3 weeks from now. They're getting married on the beach and then having dinner at Topos. Yahoo! Now we don't have to go to Florida the week before Christmas.

Our house is coming along really well. We're meeting with the plumber, electrician, dry wall guy, etc. on Friday. It's called circus day and I bet we'll find out that's when it really begins. We still hope to be in before the holidays.

Obviously you've seen the devestation in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Most likely Bert will be heading down there to help in the next few weeks. We think they're going in 2-week shifts; they've already sent one deployment of about 100 troopers.

That's it from the homefront. We are really looking forward to having you all back home, and from the sounds of it, so are you.

Safe travels -
Love, Jen

We just got back from the holiday weekend and first thing Tuesday morning I logged on and caught up on your progress in China. Things seem to be shaping up pretty good for Ari. We are glad to hear that her transition is smoothing out. The pictures, as might imagine, are awesome. I just about broke down here at work reading about how she finally starting asking for you.(or the falling asleep on your chest). It brought back memories of Cameron and Spencer falling asleep on the couch with me and how awesome that is. As I write this, I am hopeful you see that your journey in China is nearly complete.(you are more than 1/2 way done with your trip).

Take care of the family. We continue to think about you guys and pray for safe travels.

Hello to all the Burgesons! Since our home computer died last Thursday, today is the first we get to see Ari and read all your updates. It's lunch time so I'm not on State time.... :} That and a supervisor is sitting here to "supervise" my internet usage. We love reading this and hopefully someday will have a signed copy of the book you will write. How amazing. I can not fathom how exciting and emotional this whole process is for you. Steve relates to it. He does want to know if she throws tantrums. He says Angie did that. Didn't know what she was saying but you knew she was mad! I'm glad you are all well and can't wait to see you VERY SOON. Sounds like I need to buy some smaller clothes for your little peanut. BIG hug to Riedar and Ari. She is absolutely beautiful. Take care of each other and enjoy your time remaining in China.

Trina and Steve
Hi all, I am so happy for all of you! Can't wait to meet your newest family member. You can see from the photos that you are all adjusting well. She is beautiful. Travel safe coming home. I will wait for more updates
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Hi all! The outfit Ari is wearing is so beautiful!! (Haley says she wants one so when she babysits they can dress alike!) Ari's smile tells it all...she is now a member of such a loving family.

Only three days until your return to the U.S.! You can't be as excited about the return as we are. Enjoy the remainder of your stay in China!

Love, Kelly
Congratulations you guys! Ari is so adorable and I cannot wait to officially meet her! I'm going to pass along the pictures and messages to all of Reidar's friends here at Onekama. Kamryn says to tell Reidar hi and that all the kids miss him here. Have a safe trip home!

I love the quips about China. I feel like I'm there. Ari is so cute in that dress. Well she's cute in any outfit. See you soon.
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