Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

I grew up in south Georgia and I always believed it was the hottest place on earth, but now I know that Guangzhou has got Hahira and south Georgia beat in the hot department. It is hot here and the humidity, along with the pollution, is stifling. Today finally we got rain - compliments of Typhoon Kaemi over in Jiangxi province so things have cooled down a bit.

And for those of you that read the blog on a regular basis - friends, family and enemies - just a few news updates for you.

I moved to Guangzhou about 3 weeks ago and started a new job. I am finally once again working for an American company and living in a city that actually has Starbucks, McDonalds and Pizza Huts. I am living in a high rise in the central business district and it is convenient to the subway, restaurants and shopping.

Went to Shenzhen on Monday to met with our sales rep who handles Asia for our company. Took the express train from Guangzhou to Shenzhen. Normally this trip would have taken a couple of hours by car but the train is 1 hour and 15 minutes. I am convinced that public transport in China is some of the best in the world. The train and bus system in this country is amazing.

The guy I went to meet is a little older than me and an ex-pat like me. He has been living in Asia for over 20 years, so it was really interesting to hear him talk about some of his experiences over here. But one thing, real important thing, that he told me about was a store named "Metro" in Shenzhen. When we ended our meeting he helped me get a cab to Metro. Wow - this place is a membership retail store (only needed my passport to join) a lot like a Sam's Club, only smaller. The store had imported American canned foods, REAL coffee (not the powdered, instant kind that is in the Chinese groceries), cheese, butter, salad dressings, mustard, Häagen-Dazs ice cream and...and...ground beef patties. I did not want to buy any meat or ice cream and haul it back to Guangzhou but I did find out that there is a Metro store here in Guangzhou. Guess where I am going grocery shopping this weekend?

Next week - headed to Hong Kong and then to Macau for business. In Hong Kong I am meeting with a gentleman that owns a lock factory there. Before moving to Hong Kong many years ago he had a kid's afternoon cartoon TV program in the states. He was personal friends and was in a movie with Curly Joe DeRita, Larry Fine and Moe Howard, three guys that I spent a lot of time watching as a kid - aka, The Three Stooges. Should be a fun meeting.

Last but most important - Happy 22nd Birthday to Simeon on the 29th! I wish I could be there to celebrate. I miss you and I love you.

Well other than that things here are about the same...nothing exciting to report.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Chinese Haircut

One of the pleasures in living here is a monthly visit to get a haircut. It consists of shampoo, haircut and blowdry for the low, low price of 40 RMB (about $4.80 in US dollars). The haircut is cheap, by comparison to the US prices, but also involves so much more than the same services in the US.

First, the shampoo. The Chinese refer to this as "washing head" and not "washing hair". The whole head washing process takes about 20 minutes and involves a pretty thorough scalp and hair scrubbing -and also includes a very nice and relaxing face and scalp massage.

After the shampoo you are whisked away to the barber chair to wait for the next available hair stylist to come and start the hair cutting. While waiting for the hair stylist you are given a neck and back massage by the shampoo person. The hair stylist arrives and starts with the scissors and comb. Generally, haircuts for men are not too bad here but the Chinese barbers have a tendency to leave the hair a little long on the top - at least longer than my liking. Maybe they are trying to help me cover up my bald spot, who knows?

Hair cutting finished, back to the shampoo area for another 10 minutes of shampooing and then back to the barber chair for the blowdry. Not a bad waste of an hour on a Sunday afternoon.