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Leaving Qingdao

Clint Eastwood's expression "make my day" applies very well to my feelings every time I see this image again. A student at the school in Qingdao, China, presented it to me when I was leaving.
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2011/08/14 Walking and shopping

Day 2 of a poor introduction to a year in China.

As I did not have a phone or a watch I did not know the time and as I had gone to sleep on the bare bed well before sunset I woke up a couple of times but I know not when. Once was with a very bad cramp in my left leg that eventually went. Then in the early morning I was awake but finally I arose and realised that I could turn on the computer and get the time. It was before 8am. Across the road people were getting breakfast at an outdoor BBQ like place but as I had no idea what was there I ate another apple and drank some Coke Cola. Resolved to ensure that I got a device to heat water so I can make coffee. I still have not turned on the air conditioner as I have no sheet or cover and I do not want to get cold. I am just a bit warm.

I spent a while writing the epistle of Maxwell about his adventures on Saturday. I did not want to forget details of it as I think the mob running this program needs to know how bad their Qing Dao school is. I have all her emails on Yahoo so I do not understand why she thinks she can get away with lying.

Anyway after a shower and finding that my trousers that were tight now fit I went for a walk to find a kettle. I also needed some food by way of lunch come breakfast come dinner last night. I went the opposite way to the small supermarket I visited yesterday and did not see anything that was useful. Ended up back at a crossroads near the apartment that I knew where I was and looked at the map they sent. Found a street name and then determined I was not far from a bigger supermarket. Got there and found a MacDonalds under it but did not want to regain inches so I just went looking in the shop. With some help I found a person to put a new battery in my watch for 25 RMB. I found the electric jugs and decided I would get one after a good browse around the shop. Not much was in English and I think one counter had SIM cards but English was not on hand so I left it for Monday.

Went back and got my Jug except the one I wanted was all sold so the girl suggested another one that was on sale at I presumably a good price. It was 79 RMB.

Needed food so went to the food hall outside the supermarket and looked at each stall. The last one had mock ups of the meals so I chose one of those. Bought a bottle of cold Coke but she did not understand cold and it wasn’t. Luckily the meal came with a small glass of Coke. I had lots of noodles and some cabbage and meat and onion to eat with a spoon and chopsticks and managed without any trouble. Thought about going to the toilet but I have been severely deprived of liquid since leaving and did not think I would need to and I didn’t. Dropped in at the fruit shop for some more apples and also got a bunch of grapes. Altogether 23 RMB.

Came back here and got the kettle working and have just finished my first coffee since getting here. It is a reflection on the ridiculously poor help given to newly arrived staff.

I am sitting here in just my underpants as it is a bit warm. Walking was quite pleasant.

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2000 MEKONG MART

In 2000 I put www.mekongmart.com website on the Internet. It had products and services from Nong Khai in Thailand.

This image is a promotion page from the website and it indicates some of what we offered.

MEKONG MART
For more information      Email

HURRY UP AND DIG IN THAT OAR

Paddle our boat right into the store

For beautiful gifts and bargains galore

We'll find a huge selection aft and fore

 

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Silk

Silk shirts

Silk dresses

Investments

Places to rent

Houses to buy

Silver jewellery

Wedding dresses from Laos

Transport for your purchases of all sizes

Hand woven cotton cloth produced in Nong Khai

Ceramics - Bronze Age replicas produced in Ban Chiang

WELCOME TO THE NONG KHAI MARKET ON THE INTERNET

MEKONG MART   MEKONG MART   MEKONG MART

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2011/08/13 On arrival

I arrived in Qingdao in China to teach Physics. As you can see my introduction to China was extremely poor.

I talked with a chap from Sydney who was in Qing Dao to look for products to sell in Australia. When my two bags came out together I put them on my trolley, told him I would email him, and went to the exit where my bag tags were checked against my two dockets. A large sign saying MAXWELL greeted me waiting at the barrier. I said hullo to its carrier to discover he had no English. He took me and my trolley to his car and headed into town. The pollution amazed me. I thought it was supposed to have got better since I was in Beijing in 1998. He drove to a police station. I wanted the 4 ss.

I got him to phone Christine as before I had left Australia I had printed out the contacts. I pointed out I had been travelling for 24 hours and wanted to get to the apartment. It turned out the driver would not be available to do anything for me the next day as it was Sunday and his day off, as was this day. My email about delaying my arrival had not been responded to correctly. The police were not available until 2pm. We travelled on past the Ocean Hotel to the apartment. Like entering a robbers cave. The room was not what was agreed to. It was a studio. It was not clean in the cooking area. The balcony door was not lockable. I have emails on my Yahoo site indicating I needed suitable accommodation when my wife and daughter came to visit. Meaning the two bedroom apartment. This was just not acceptable.

Christine was not answering her phone. She knew what I was going to be saying. We got the assistant. She was not helpful. All she could say was that she could not make any decisions as I wanted the company to send me to the Ocean Hotel while they got the apartment business sorted out as they had all the other company people staying there and I was not accommodated in Qing Dao so I could not be called local. Eventually the driver got Christine. No she would not pay for the hotel. Responsibility for my problem was not going to be taken by her even though the attempted provision of substandard accommodation was all her fault. I got David. He could only say that all new teachers so far had problems an arrival. I said I was going to a hotel and would pursue getting the money from the company on Monday. I had been led to believe that on arrival I would be given sufficient money for the first month. I had foolishly been told arriving on Saturday was suitable. It was obviously not. David arrived with 2000 RMB. Got the driver to drop me at the Ocean Hotel. They were helpful, particularly one of the porters who spoke some English and the only staff member who could. They did not know what I was talking about with the conference. They rang Christine. She did not recognise the number and answered. I told her I would be getting a room and the company needed to pay for it. She disagreed. Obviously her ploy was to have me stay for Saturday and Sunday in the apartment and then refuse to shift me. I did not want that.

Unfortunately today was the start of the Beer Festival. No rooms.

No rooms next door either.

The porter was very good trying to get me a taxi to take me to a hotel with possible room. No luck. Got them to phone Christine as by now I was desperate for a room to rest in, get food and 4 ss. Asked her to find me a hotel room. When she got back it cost 1,300 something RMB for that night and the company would not pay it. I acknowledged defeat in this battle and asked for the driver to return and take me to the apartment. The porter took my bags off his trolley at the front door and I waited. And waited. I tried phoning David at the Business Centre but he was not answering. This treatment of a newly arrived staff member was witnessed by all the front counter staff at the hotel. I got them to phone Christine again and asked her to get the driver there as I had now been waiting outside over an hour. She said she would. When he turned up he took me to register at the police station and I tried to tell him what I needed to buy most urgently. No success. So I got him to drop me at the apartment and I walked around the corner to the supermarket his girlfriend who was in the car pointed out as we arrived at the apartment.

I got some Coke Cola and coffee and creamer etc. but the electric jug had no cord so it was just Coke. Luckily I had bought some apples so I was able to start my apple diet again.

During the trying confrontation with inappropriate arrival processes I tried several times to find out whether China Southern Airlines had a seat back to Australia for me. Unfortunately, or we might see fortunately, I could not get anyone to interpret what I wanted. The arrival meeting chap had no English, and the staff at the Ocean Hotel had so little they did not understand what I wanted. So I am still here, albeit perhaps temporarily.

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2008 Robbers with guns

Well things are not as safe here as we were led to believe they were going to be. I was awake typing on my computer a bit after 2am when I thought I heard a noise like a shot from a pistol. I discounted it as having been caused by some other agent. Shortly after there was a knocking at the window which I ignored as I assumed the security man was just moving around outside.

When I left for school at 7am the security man said the Vice Principal’s house had been invaded by 5 armed men and he had tried getting my attention. This was what the noises were all about. They had robbed her and knocked her teenager son on the head and fired a gun while in the house but just at the wall. Terrifying for them all.

I suggested to Grape she got on a plane the next day but she does not want to leave.

It turns out the robbers also attacked a house on the other side of us before they attacked the VP’s house. The police drove around in their vehicles later in the day.

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