Thursday, June 5, 2014

First week in China

So mom and dad have been in China for a week already and since the internet security is so tight there, mom hasn't been able to update her blog, so she asked me to post a few photos.  They flew out on the evening of Wednesday the 28th, and arrived in Beijing late on the 29th.  After a day and a half in Beijing they caught another flight to Inner Mongolia, where they will be living and working for the next 8 months or so. (With a trip home for a few days at Christmas.)
So here they are, on the plane.

These were taken at night, flying over Alaska.  We're in that time of year where it doesn't get dark that far north.  Mom said it was gorgeous.

I think the rest of these were from Beijing.  I don't think she's sent me any photos from Kangbashi yet. Although they did have a funny experience in Ordos the other day and I've copied the text of mom's email at the end of the pictures so you can read about their adventures.

So here's the email I received from mom regarding some of their adventures thus far.  I did get to speak with them briefly earlier tonight and they see to be enjoying themselves immensely.  Even dad has been impressed and says the town is really something to see.

"In China foreigners are required by law to register within 24 hours after entering the country. If you are staying at a hotel the hotel does it for you. If you are not staying at a hotel or you leave your hotel for an apartment, you must go to the local police station to register within 24 hours. (side note: They give you 72 hours if you are in a rural area or staying in a yurt.)
About 6 weeks ago Eric, our Chinese translator, and Daren Wheeler were in Ordos looking for crew housing. They signed up for at a nice apartment development, but 10 days later the manager said he didn't have the proper government clearance to house foreigners. He suggested an apartment development a short distance away. This second choice is where we have rented and paid for 3 apartments and plan to rent two more.
Yesterday in the late morning the first developer called to tell Eric that he had his government clearance and he was ready to rent to us. Eric explained to him that we had already secured apartments and we were moving belongings in and would be registering with the police on the morrow. The first manager was not happy and called up the police and told them that unregistered Americans were staying at the Shifu St. apartments (I am not making that up, that's what street our apartment building is on). The police showed up at the apartments about an hour after we had left demanding to be taken to us and wanting to know why they let unregistered Americans live there and telling them they weren't allowed to rent to us. They explained to the cops that we hadn't moved in yet and were still at a hotel and then they called Eric to inform him of what was going on, explaining that the original developer/manager had complained and he and the deputy chief knew each other.
Today we went to the police station with our apartment manager to register since we will be moving in tomorrow. When we asked to register the deputy chief said "I won't register you." He then told the apartment manager "I need to speak with you alone". Alone, in this instance, meant outside of the  building and in the parking lot right in front of the open window where we were waiting. After a much heated debate Eric went out and took our "Entry Card" receipt to the Dep. Chief that states the requirements for registration. The Dep. Chief  then told our Manager that he didn't want us staying in his apartments. After it was explained that we had already paid a years rent in advance he said the manager wasn't allowed to rent any more apartments to us. Daren and Eric kept explaining that we were just following the law in trying to register, we were invited by the Chinese Government to come to the country at the invitation of China Coal (Very Big in the "Party"). The Deputy Chief finally called the Big Chief and we were told to come back in 2 hours.
Two hours later we walked into the police station, filled out the forms and left. It took 10 minutes. It's just more fun in the city on the Wulan Mulun River.
Eric and Daren left today so dad and I are on our own. I downloaded a Chinese/English translation app on my phone. It helps a little. We walked around town this evening looking for a place to eat. We chose a very clean looking restaurant with a green "happy cow" sign. We figured they would have beef. Well what do you know. It was a modern "Hot Pot" (You are now singing "Hot Pockets" in your head) Restaurant. Sunday we ate at a traditional Hot Pot Restaurant. I will text you pictures of the two.
Everywhere we go people are taking pictures of dad and I. Some discretely, some stop, stare and take them and a couple have asked for a picture. We have only seen two or three other Caucasians since we have been here, so people do stare. It's quite fun really."