Saturday, 17 May 2014

The China Diaries // Day 3 and Day 4


Day 3

I hope you guys are not very bored to read the diary; but if you are a 'little' bored, then that’s alright. I guess I have the right…to bore you guys.

Anyway, the day of buying the stationary had come; however I got up late. Mom was insanely bored between dad’s office and my sleep. So at last at 10:30 CST, she woke me up, yelling at me. So I got up, with my eyes half open, and a disgusting look on my face. 




Today’s breakfast was yummy, and to everyone’s surprise, I made it all by myself (well that was obvious; I wasn’t talking to mom!). After getting up, I went to brush my teeth, and straightaway went to the kitchen, removed an egg, took a pan, and kept it on the stove. Later I cracked the egg, and poured it onto the pan. I love this ‘half-fry’ so much; especially how the egg yolk melts after piercing it with a fork! After it was still on the pan, I sprinkled some chilli powder and salt. Meanwhile, I took a ‘china’ bowl, and poured skimmed milk in it. I added cereals, and crushed cocoa wafer biscuits in the milk, and finally added sugar to turn it sweet. The breakfast was seriously mind-blowing! 




My anger calmed down till then, and so did my mom’s. Later, I got ready, and off we went to the WalMart. We bought lot of things; ‘stationary’ being a major part of the shopping. WalMart is a departmental store, so obviously we don’t get designer or branded stuff there. But the worst part is, whatever clothes these departmental stores have (good or bad), their prices are high. For example, I bought a chic-styled skull printed loose pants from WalMart, and it costed Rs. 590 (59 Yuan)! I realized it after the bill was made. I like to shop things that are worth every penny. If I wanted to buy a pant worth Rs. 590, I would’ve added Rs. 300 more, and bought one from a branded shop.

Anyway, the things I bought were satisfying. I’m more than excited to show you guys! While we were roaming in the mall, a random lady came towards us and gave us a visiting card, with everything in Chinese, and a picture of a car. She started talking something in Chinese, and we couldn’t understand a word. My mom and I took so many efforts in telling her that we don’t know Chinese, literally by beckoning her with a ‘We can’t hear you’ sign.  It is so difficult to converse with people not knowing a bit of your language, and vice versa. My mom was telling her “India…India” with an awkward smile, and she was smiling in return, not understanding a single thing what we wanted to say. At last we bade her goodbye, by walking quickly, so that we let go of the awkwardness and don’t seem rude.

Yet another cute thing for the day was a cute baby boy. He was with his mom near the stationary section, and was roaming here and there. I gave a smile to him, and then looked at his mom; she smiled at me. Then I again looked at the boy, and wished him “Nihau”. Oh my God; the lady was delighted to hear a Chinese word from a foreigner! She immediately smiled and said something to the boy, which obviously meant “She’s saying Hello; say Hello to her!” And then the boy blushed!

The babies in China are amazingly cute. I cannot help but look at them; and they are so many! Their dresses are tiny, and cute. The baby girls are dressed in adorably cute little frocks and leggings, with bows and star shaped accessories; it’s a delight to one’s eye! And their skin is so soft, and they’re crazily chubby!
The good thing that I’ve observed is the way their parents/grandparents take care of them. I’ve never seen even one parent scolding his/her children; they’re patient. Also, the culture is something closely related to that of India—you can see grandparents taking good care of their grandchildren. Even in India, you see grandparents (especially grandfathers) taking their grandchildren to a nearby garden or a playground, and pamper them with chocolates, and just anything that they ask for! You can see all these traits in Chinese too. (I miss my grandparents!)

So while we were standing in the queue to pay for the things, dad called to tell us that Narendra Modi was leading with 333 seats! We were amazed!
And then I asked my dad how the Chinese debit card worked, to pay for the bill. An old man in front of us took longer time than us in paying the bill! That was hilarious!

So after the bill, we went home, and immediately turned on news. There are two set-top boxes in our house here. One shows English channels; and the other shows few Hindi channels, like Star Utsav, and a news channel chain—Sahara Samay. So we switched to Samay Rajasthan, then Maharshtra/Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, etc. for the election news. We watched the news on same channel for many hours together; so much that I dozed off.

It was good to sleep peacefully with mom. We had shared one blanket, which dad had carried from India, and slept like the half cat and dog like in CatDog cartoon. Then I got up after twenty minutes, and then the doorbell rang—it was dad! He was home fifteen minutes early.

Theremaining routine was pretty much similar like every day…




Day 4

Today mom and I had decided to go anywhere but WalMart. For three consecutive days we had visited WalMart. 

Mom woke me up, and it was a pleasant but gloomy atmosphere outside. It had rained! And just like India, even in China, the temperature rises up before a shower. Mom was asking if we should go out today or no; but I replied that we definitely should! By the time I had got up, the raining had stopped; however before going out, it was raining slightly. Thankfully, dad had left his jacket at home. I wore it, and mom took an umbrella.

My outfit for the day was interesting. But sadly I couldn’t click photos. So I am going to repeat this outfit when the day will be brighter.
Today we decided to go to Lotus departmental store, which was nearby as well. We went to the direction dad had told, however, didn’t find Lotus anywhere. So we went to the Plaza (where WalMart is located).

It was too cold. Cool winds, and shivers alongside. I had never anticipated the weather to be like this. Somehow we reached. As today my mom had the debit card, I was pretty cool. We went to high-end stores like ONLY, Vero Moda, La Chappelle, Candies’, etc. and to my surprise, the prices were absurdly high! Even a simple cardigan costed Rs. 3000! And China’s Vero Moda is a lot more expensive than India’s. Vero Moda, at least after sale, can be affordable to a middle class person; but here, the prices were not less than Rs. 2000! I dropped the idea of buying anything from these shops. 

After that, we roamed here and there in the mall, exchanging smiles with the ladies, and looking in awe at the cute babies. After a while, we saw a shop, that looked like a baby shop--having soft toys and other things. I don't know how, but my mom decided to go in that store. Earlier I thought it was a baby shop, but it wasn't; it was an accessory shop named Aiyaya.

Such a cute shop that was! There were clips, perfumes, mobile covers, makeup, hats, purses and other miscellaneous things. And the good thing was that they weren't expensive. They were average. The girl who was assisting us in the shop was highly innocent; she had highlighted her hair, and again she understood not a single English word. 

My mom loved a straw-styled messenger bag there, but there were only two colours available in it--orange and yellow. She wanted to buy a black coloured bag. So we started asking her if there was a black colour available. And she was smiling innocently, not understanding anything. So we beckoned her by showing her the colour of her t-shirt. Finally she understood, and nodded her head negatively, and spoke something in Chinese that meant 'No, there are no other colours'. 

We picked up three things--a leopard printed hair clip, a packet of elastic bands, and a folded cloth bag. While we were paying the bill, we showed her card asking if cards are acceptable; she nodded yes. And then after she swiped the card, and after I entered the password, something went wrong. We collected the card, and started moving out slowly. Then the girl called us saying the card payment wasn't successful. She swiped again, but to no success. Then she started showing us Chinese currency; she meant us to give cash instead of card. But we beckoned her saying we didn't have any. So finally the card worked, I signed, and happily we took the shopping bag and went outside the shop; obviously saying "xie, xie" to her. 

After that we came home. It was windy, and cold. I wonder how weird the seasons in foreign countries are. In India, summer is a summer; neither monsoon, nor winter. But here it is completely different. I had never thought that it would only be cold here. I would never call this season a summer one; no way! If they think this is summer, they should definitely visit Mumbai in summer season. 

So after reaching home, we had lunch, and started watching news on Sahara Samay. It was cold. After a while, when the coldness had increased, I asked mom if she wanted coffee; she said yes. So I made coffee in two large cups. And yes, I crushed some cocoa wafers into mine! 

My mom took a nice nap after that, and I was writing the blog. It was 6 till then, and dad came. At around 6 to 6:30, it seems all the locals here start preparing their dinner. The smell of non-vegetarian food is spread throughout the house. And it is not the smell of chicken (I don't know if it smells) or fish; it is something very different! I want to know which smell it is. It even comes from the public toilets sometimes. Today it was unbearable. I literally felt I would throw up anytime. I was about to cry. And as there is no ventilation (the house doesn't need any), I felt suffocated, not knowing why. So I went out for a walk, in the cold rain, towards the pond. After I felt better, I came back home.

The great thing about today was the visit of my dad's colleague and the colleague's wife at home. It felt as if we were in India. And it felt great to meet Indians abroad. We had a chat with the couple, and gave them orange juice. After they went, we had dinner, and then went in my room. We chatted with my brother on Skype, and it was clear by his face that he missed us. 

And now, I'm sitting in the living room, with laptop, and TV switched on in front of me. Today it is Arsenal vs. Hull City FA Cup Final, and no way I am missing it. I seriously hope they telecast it on one of the channels I have here. 
There's my cellphone here, and three remotes. I'm in my dad's thermal pant, a red Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt (for Arsenal), and a black hoodie. It is cold. It is serene. I hope Arsenal wins.

xoxo