Thursday, August 29, 2013

McDonald's in China

Never fear my McDonald's loving friends they have plenty of McDonald's in China. I'm guessing most of the 2,000 locations by the end of 2013 are located in the major cities, but you can find your Big Mac and french fries if that's what you desire. They even deliver within the city, 24 hours a day on bicycles.

bicycle McDonald's delivery in Beijing
Artistic blur shot I did for a photography class
McDonald's delivery by bike
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the hamburger meat in McDonald's in China so I stick with chicken McNuggets, french fries and hot chocolate sundaes.  

I also think it is really odd that they sell Coke Zero instead of Diet Coke in the stores. I don't like the sweetener used here so I don't drink local pop.

black and white burger at mcDonald's
One thing about McDonald's around the world is they are always having niche market foods.  This is one the latest advertisements around Beijing.  I think this looks disgusting, but obviously they aren't marketing to me, so I'm not a good judge. 15RMB is about $2.50, so I think they are offering the meal for that price, probably only during their happy hour pricing though, which is during lunch. I can't tell for sure since I can't read it. Anyone know what it says?

pink, and yellow mcdonald's drink
Straight from McDonald's China website
There is also a really interesting looking light brown, pink and yellow drink that I'm too scared to try after asking for a cherry pie at a McDonald's in Northern ShunYi last year and ending up with a red bean pie, super yuck!  I have no idea if it is sweet, coffee, beans? I'm just not adventurous enough!

VIP McDonald's
What I REALLY want to know though, is how to get one of these! I wanna be a McDonald's VIP. What do you think I'd get???

  • doubt it is a discount
  • free pop with purchase?
  • they know your order by heart?
  • you're just there often?
I'm clueless, but sometime, I'm going to have ask a local.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beautiful Weather!

We have had some beautiful weather over the past few weeks, with low AQI (Air Quality Index), although it has been really hot.  I'll take hot and clear air over nothing! We haven't worn our masks (worn if the AQI is over 200) once since we've been back.

The weather has even been nice enough for a few days for fun outside, including kiddo running the track at school and today kiddo and daddy even went to the outdoor pool. That may not seem like a big deal for most of you but to have the AQI at a level for the PE teacher to even take PE outside, let alone allow the kids to run outside is a first since I've lived here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Translation Funny

A friend saw this in our neighborhood this afternoon.

Wet Paint

The sign says "WET PAINT," I guess they are worried about the wet paint, just ignore the open manhole!! :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Batcave on Top of a Building?

So it looks like Superman has taken over a penthouse in Haidian, deciding he would rather be on top of the world versus underneath it.

Check out this place which has been ordered by the Haidian local government, in Beijing, to be torn down.  I guess the guy who built it is the owner of a huge traditional Chinese medicine chain and maybe the Chinese medicine has made him lose his mind?

See my red circle, yep that guys is a 800 meter squared penthouse made up of rocks, trees and goodness knows what else that is this man's batcave.  I just hope the place doesn't fall down and crush all the people underneath before they deal with the crazy guy and his insane idea.  If nothing else, he is damn creative!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jet lag and Flooding

We are back in Beijing for 2013-2014 school year and school is in full swing. Jet lag is rough going this time around for some reason but we are getting back into the groove slowly.

Four days into coming home the mother of all storms broke loose in Beijing. It was raining so hard and the thunder and lightning was incredible. Last year, in July, Beijing had horrible flooding, I believe over 20 Chinese were killed in the Beijing area, mainly because there doesn't seem to be any type of city infrastructure to deal with water, snow...well just about anything to be honest.

 Fast forward to 4pm on Sunday and I'm in the basement checking sewer drains, bathrooms and such, worried that all hell was going to break loose and it does. I hear the sound of water rushing, go back to our mechanical room and we have what looks like a fire-hose stream of water rushing from the side of the house, near the 10' ceiling, into our mechanical room. I quickly grab a bucket and scream for my hubby. He starts on a two bucket brigade, filling, replacing, emptying and repeat every 30 seconds, while I run up the stairs to try to contact the management company. I call, they barely speak English and I could tell didn't understand just how much water we had rushing into our basement. Luckily, friends of our were home and offered to bring buckets and come help. Sadly, were were in emergency mode and I didn't get a picture or video of how much water was rushing in, I swear it was unbelievable.

Right at the top corner on the left is where the water was coming in!
See the electrical box too?
Yeah that was also all wet!

After three frantic calls to the property management company, the blue smurfs, as we call the property management workers show up with their toolbox (looks like a tackle box and you're lucky if it has a screwdriver in it) and immediately start scratching their heads. Fast forward, they come back with a water pump, set it up on the West side of the house, turn it on and NOTHING happens. Did I mention the water is pouring in at the NorthEast corner of the house at a rate of a bucket every 30 seconds?

Here is a picture of the flood of our side yard.

So all that water, and more is pouring into our basement and the blue smurfs, lovely called that because of their bright blue attire can't get their pump to work, or even get it within 30' of the problem for that matter. 

Praise God because the same neighbors that came to help us had brought with them, to China, a North American pump, we had a transformer to allow it to work with the 220V power supply here, and after an hour and a half, and a lot of struggles we had the water being pumped away from the hole where all the water was coming into the basement.

Now you ask, why was there a huge hole in our wall from the outside? Well it looks like the plumbing lines for the A/C were coming from the A/C units into the house and someone just left the big ASS hole open, without closing it.  Worse part, it was supposed to pour cats and dogs for the rest of the night and next day and we still had a hole in our basement wall.

Bring in the blue smurfs who have done NOTHING, by the way, it terms of help yet.  They bring some cement and proceed to put wet cement in the hole from the inside. For anyone who doesn't know physics realize that if we would have had another flood of water, said cement would have just fallen into our basement with a rush of water like some wet poop. It was a band-aid when we needed a cast.  

Luckily for us, we didn't get any more large rains that night and the next afternoon the workers came and did something out back. Last night it rained and we didn't have rain in the basement.  Problem fixed? I'd love to go see what they did, but I have a mud wrestling pit in my backyard right now.  Check this out:

We are so lucky that a) we were home when this happened, b) we were in the basement and I heard it within 2 minutes of it happening, c) we had buckets and friends with a pump.  I shutter to think how long hubby would have continued emptying buckets if our neighbors wouldn't have come to the rescue with a working pump and if the rain had continued.

The moral of this LONG story, the expat community rocks, we take care of our own, and in China expect the unexpected, ALWAYS.  It truly feels like the Twilight Zone over here. Nothing goes as planned, we are very lucky that our basement full of stuff didn't get trashed and ruined in the flood.