Den's Blog Rotating Header Image

September 1st, 2014:

Nice Labor Day Hike

The CLO (community liaison officer) organized a Labor Day outing to the National Forest Park in Shenyang. Because it wasn’t a Chinese holiday, there were very, very few people in the park. We mostly had the whole park to ourselves.

The park contains several mountains, including the highest point in Shenyang, appropriately called the “top peak of Shenyang.”

The weather was perfect, the air was clean, and there were no city noises.

Walking up to the highest point in Shenyang

Walking up to the highest point in Shenyang

Proof that I went on the hike

Proof that I went on the hike

The peak is 441 meters above sea level, the highest point in Shenyang.

The peak is 441 meters above sea level, the highest point in Shenyang.

Panorama from the peak

Panorama from the peak

On the trail

On the trail

Nice rock formations, and I don't mean my flabby abs.

Nice rock formations, and I don’t mean my flabby abs.

This part of the climb was a little dicey

This part of the climb was a little dicey

Another stopping point, the Southern Gate. According to legend, it lines up with the old northern gate of Shenyang.

Another stopping point, the Southern Gate. According to legend, it lines up with the old northern gate of Shenyang.

The first and last legs of the trail were on the main road in the park.

The first and last legs of the trail were on the main road in the park.

Now that Labor Day is behind us, I guess summer is officially over. The weather is still hot, though, and the leaves don’t show any sign of changing color. I will enjoy this weather while it lasts, and try to remember it when winter hits.

 

The disappointing papaya

I, like all sane human beings, love papayas. They are expensive in the US, relatively cheaper in Taiwan, and I thought that they were unavailable in northeast China.

So I was delighted to see them in the grocery store.

IMG_1460.JPG

Fruit and vegetables are sold by weight. The way it works is that you choose your produce, then bring it to a weighing station.

I picked out a nice papaya and got in line. Of course, the woman that was in front of me was buying one of everything, so I had to wait a long time. But no worries. I anticipated eating my delicious papaya while I waited for the grocery store employee to weigh and label everything in the woman’s cart.

Finally it was my turn. I handed my precious papaya to the person at the weighing station. She looked at it, then looked at me with an expression like I had handed her a cow turd. She rolled her eyes and said: “This is the weigh station for vegetables. The fruit weighing station is over there!”

So, even though “over there” was five steps from where we were standing, the machine “over there” looked exactly like the one over here, and there was no one waiting in line behind me, I was kicked out of that weigh station and banished to “over there” with my cow turd papaya.

But that’s OK, I told myself. A little inconvenience and grocery story bureaucracy is a fair price to pay for a delicious papaya.

The fruit weighing lady didn’t give me any grief about my papaya, she just weighed it and slapped a price tag on it: ¥7.23, or $1.20.

IMG_1459.JPG

The only thing better than delicious papaya is delicious and cheap papaya!

Took it home, washed it, and cut it open. Looked like a great papaya!

IMG_1461-0.JPG

Scooped out the seeds, grabbed a spoon, and started to eat my delicious papaya.

IMG_1462.JPG

My delicious but not completely ripe papaya.

The layer of ripe papaya was about 1/2 inch deep, then it was hard, bitter, unripe papaya flesh.

So I ate the part that I could, and comforted myself that I probably got $1.20 worth of papaya enjoyment out of the experience.

Progress!

They are finally putting the “convenience” into “convenience store” here in Shenyang. This is the first one that I have seen in town that is open 24 hours a day.

IMG_1465.JPG

The store doesn’t sell hot dogs, baozi or microwaveable lunches like 7-11 does in Taiwan, but you have to start somewhere.

Apparently OSHA doesn’t operate in China

But the Darwin Awards should apply here.

IMG_1464.JPG

There will probably come a day when seeing stuff like this in China doesn’t surprise me. I’m not there yet, though.