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July 2nd, 2014:

Chinese whiskey torture

Because Shenyang is a “hardship post”, foreign service officers that are posted here have what is called a consumables allowance. It means that we can order food from various warehouses, and although we have to pay for the food, we don’t have to pay the shipping costs to get it here.

I put in a consumables order a few weeks ago. Part of it came today: the good part. China has a very heavy import tariffs on alcohol: over 48%. That makes all alcohol very expensive here in China.

I have been missing my Irish whiskey ever since I got here. The first part of my consumables shipment was a case of whiskey. It arrived today, and was delivered directly to my apartment. However, it did not come in a very user-friendly packing case. It is in a wooden crate, with a steel strap holding it all together. It is sitting in my apartment, I have no tools to open it, and I feel like it is laughing at me.

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Not funny, guys. Not funny at all.