Things have been weird lately, more then usual anyway. Sunday morning we were sitting at home trying to make plans for the day when the doorbell rang unexpectedly. I asked Coco if she ordered something, and she said no. I went to the door and was surprised to see 2 police officers looking for me, well my passport more accurately. Giving them the passport for inspection they seemed to have problems finding the correct visa, I have 4 expired Chinese visas and 1 current valid one. They were also a little thrown off by my additional pages sticker and seal in the passport. After 5 or so minutes of flipping pages and quiet conversing they handed me the passport and said good bye. Having never stayed in a foreign country before this was a first, the police usually just call my office or cell phone to ask me a couple of questions, this was the first in-house visit. Oddity number 1.
Last Sunday Sophia, Coco and I went out to the park. We heard it was close by so we wanted to enjoy the sunny day and show Sophia some plants and such. On the way we stopped at a fruit stand that also sold frozen yogurt. Well, somehow I got confused and did not notice Coco putting our fruit in her back pack, so after paying I took the bag of fruit sitting by the cash register. We got our free yogurt for buying the minimum fruit order and were on our way to the park. After some time Coco realized I had a bag full of apples and asked where I got it, I told her and well… we had to turn back and take the fruit I inadvertently lifted. The odd thing is when we got to the store the manager apologized and said he knew we took the fruit… why did he not stop us if he knew? Why not say something in stead of letting us walk away with a bag of apples, and why apologize to us, it was me who needed to apologize not him. Oddity number 2.
At the entrance to the park we had to pay a nominal admission, 2 RMB each, about 25 cents. We got Sophia one of those front/back carriers because she loves to lay on my chest and this way she is more mobile and can see more things then in her stroller. There was a breeze so we had her in a Winnie the Pooh sleeping pajamas thing that looks like a bear outfit, hands and feet included. I was wearing my windbreaker to keep dust and the breeze off of her, it is large enough to keep us both covered. As we walked through the gate the ticket woman freaked out shouting and rushing towards me. Instinctually I stepped through the gate to get some room to maneuver and turned to the side to protect Sophia. The woman was pretty upset and I was clueless as I could not understand her Chinese at all. Coco began yelling at the woman and she reached for my jacket which made me take a big step back. Coco then pulled the zipper down a bit and took the bear hood off of Sophia. It turned out the woman thought we were taking a dog into the park… a small white dog in a baby carrier strapped to my chest… under my windbreaker in a obvious bulge… one with really long legs and in a position dogs really hate to be in and won’t sit still if you try to put them in. The lady began apologizing as Coco continued to complain about her yelling and grabbing at her, the lady just insisted ‘no pets’ in the park. Oddity number 3.
Monday morning Coco and Sophia flew down to Guangzhou to get her a visa so she can come back into China after our visit to the States, Alabama and Virginia. To get the visa she needs to go to her place of entry, Guangzhou and we are hoping to get her a 1 year multi-entry visa so we can take her to Hong Kong or other places in Asia (the trip to the US is pretty much deflating the travel budget for the remainder of the year!). Well, Coco, the one who always has to remind me of taking this or that or where anything in the home is (including my passport form the beginning story), forgot her cell phone at home. I have been getting calls from her friends wanting to know where she is because she is not answering the phone, and I was wondering why she was not answering the text messages I was sending all morning. She also forgot the notebook we record all of Sophia’s feeding times, amounts, and what she drinks in… making it harder to keep track of her eating habits. Oddity number 4.
Last night on the way home from work I heard the Migs are back in their fly-overs of the city. Last night I actually saw it, twice. It was very low, about 300 to 400 feet, I could clearly see the canopy and wing details… at 8:00 PM. This weekend there have been all sorts of airplane activity outside. I even heard a turbo prop fly over, remember my previous posts about China not having any civilian or non-military aircrafts on the mainland. It is obvious when a plane flies over, and with all the smog we can’t see them… only hear them. It seems spring brings back the frequent CAP missions over Shanghai as well. Oddity number 5.
This morning the well oiled machine that is the Shanghai commuter train system had a major problem on the elevated rail section of lines 3 and 4. I have no Idea what the problem was but as I got onto the train at Shanghai Railway Station at 8:33 and we sat there with the train at the platform for 20 minutes, only to go ½ way to the next station to sit another 15 minutes. Oh, we aren’t done yet. After the next station the get on and off went as normal, but again ½ way to the next station there was another 15 minute wait. Finally we got to my stop, I exited the station and it was 9:25, so I was a tad bit late for work, the usual 40 minute total trip to the office took 75 minutes and I was late for an important conference call with the US to go over a new scope to my current set of projects… nnnnniccccce! Oddity number 6.
So here I am, 10 days alone in Shanghai, dealing with a sinus cold and allergy attack at the same time, have 2 additional expanded roles in my projects at work, stretching me pretty thin in time, and having to get things ready for our big trip to the US here in a few weeks. Notice the mention of increased work load above, that and baby duties have killed my blog, PC gamming, and TV watching times. Not that I am complaining, its just I have had to watch so many interesting things go by in the last month with little to no commenting on them at all! My monthly newsletter is due, taxes are due, and getting pictures for my mom are due, all in this week. I am really really looking forward to getting to the US. Southern food, warm weather with a BLUE sky and fresh air, people speaking English and signs in the same language. Maybe I’ll even get a chance to drive a car again! I hope there is little to no expectations to do or get anything done in the US besides what we have planned.