Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This past weekend we ventured to Hong Kong. We were told that we could send our absentee ballots overnight mail at any FED EX office in Hong Kong. We were most surprised when we walked into their office and found out that they too had heard of this and they had already received several overseas ballots. The best news of all is that this service is absolutely free of charge.

We arranged to take a half day bus tour the day we arrived so we could learn the "lay of the land" before venturing out on our own. We also had the help of a couple of students at UIC.

Susanna (one of the students who visited Augsburg the summer of 2007) and her friend David
told us about a couple of their favorite places. They said we must go to the "Modern Toilet Cafe" for lunch. Even our travel agent friend who lives in HK had never heard of it.

Another friend (Patrick, the travel agent), who is part of a group of people with Minnesota connections arranged for a group hike in the hills surrounding HK. He told us to bring hiking sticks to help fend off the monkeys. We did not believe him until we were surrounded by monkeys. It seems to be a similar problem to the wild donkeys in St John, Virgin Islands. We had to laugh when we came across the sign and cage for "monkey contraception." From the looks of all the monkeys we saw, I do not think the project is very successful.

We took a double decker bus to the famous shopping area called "Stanley Market" but had more fun people watching and riding the bus than the actual shopping. We also managed to purchase "Elder" bus cards that can be used on all public transportation (including ferries to and from HK island and Kawloon). The entire day of travel ended up costing us less than $1.00. I have always loved a good deal.

Going to HK also counted as "leaving the country" so we are good for another 30 days. We got back Monday afternoon in time to prepare for our fitness classes on Tuesday. I am trying to take some photos of my classes and will share them with you on my next blog. Both Doug and I are getting along fine and really enjoy teaching the Chinese students at UIC

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What we are eating...

As I have mentioned previously, we are not too adventuresome in the food department so I thought some of you might be interested in what we are eating.

We have ventured to the local market in Tangjia and have gradually been purchasing more of our fruits and vegetables from street vendors. We have found that as long as we wash things in soap and water and rinse them in previously boiled water, we have had no problems. The travel clinic told us before we left that "if you can't boil it or peel it, don't eat it." That could get old very fast so we are trusting the advice of our friends at Horizon Cove and UIC and have been fine. One of our favorite "new" fruits is a green orange that tastes much like the oranges we are used to but a bit more tart.

The best Chinese grocery store we have found is about a half hour bus ride from here. Since we are used to grocery shopping via bus (that's what we do in the Virgin Islands) it is not a problem. We have not been able to find "brown" rice among the several choices available and the supply we carried with us is running out (how many people do you know who actually bring rice with them to China?) so we may have to use white sticky rice in frequent stir fry dinners.

Going out to eat has been a fun experience. We usually try and bring a Chinese speaking friend with us to help translate the menu. Most of the restaurants have "live" tanks where you are asked to pick out the exact fish, shrimp or whatever you are eating. A Chinese friend old us that the Chinese like VERY FRESH SEAFOOD. Thought you might like to see the good looking shrimp we picked out for one of our very first meals here. Once we figured out how to eat them,
they were very good. It will take some getting used to seeing those beady little eyes looking up at us.

UIC has a "Staff lunch room" that our friend and colleague Jack introduced us to. He is the only person in the Physical Education Department who speaks any English so we have become very close to him. We usually bring our own peanut butter sandwiches for lunch because as you can see, you get way too much food in the school lunch room.

Thus far my favorite meal was last Friday evening when some friends from UIC took us to Mr Pizza. I've included the photo. We had antipasti, salad, pizza, cheesecake, coffee and wine for
about $12 for the 2 of us. Dining out in China is very inexpensive.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


We have been in Zhuhai a month already and school hasn't even started yet. Classes begin on Monday, Oct. 6th. Doug and I have been busy gathering information and looking at fitness
equipment for a proposed Fitness Center at UIC. We went to Guangzhou in a driving rainstorm (the result of Typhoon Hugupit) last week to check out a couple of fitness centers.

Our visa's require us to leave the country every 30 days so last Thursday we ventured over the border to Macau. Even though Hong Kong and Macau are a part of China, they are not mainland China and are considered "leaving the country." Macau is the only place in all of China where gambling is legal. There are very modern buildings going up everywhere you look.

Yesterday we ventured out to purchase new bicycles. We decided we could not live here for 4 months without wheels, so we made the big splurge. It cost us less than $100 for both of them. We had plenty of help and ended up with 2 very nice, brand new, single speed, fully loaded (basket, bell, lock and kickstand) bikes that have got to weigh 50 pounds each. We went for a 2 hour ride today and both agree that without our bikes we would never be able to see and explore many of the things our new home city of Zhuhai has to offer.

Finally, those of you who know us, know that we are not very adventuresome when it comes to food. We went out for a Dim Sum "brunch" with our friends Kiki and Stuart a few Sundays ago.
We enjoyed many of their choices, but it may be some time before Kiki is able to convince us to eat chicken feet.

We have also learned that the Chinese offer discounted ferry tickets to seniors (which we now qualify for). So, before we ventured to Shenzhen via ferry last week, we had a friend write out
"senior discount" in Chinese. It worked and we got our tickets for half price. Later we learned that the literal translation written in Chinese characters is "Old Man Ticket."