Trouble. I went to try and buy a ticket for Beijing yesterday but they were all sold out. Sold out for Saturday. I guess the minute I get to a town I should buy the ticket out! For some reason I was very tired when we went down to the train station. I spent too many hours working on the site. It is a never ending obsession and I spend too much time on a computer. I find myself in a foul mood after too much time with computers. There has been a bit of bad news of late as well. North Korea being canceled for the second time and it looks like Antarctica won't work out this year AGAIN.
I'm sitting in a random park in Haerbin. It reminds me of parks in Korea. Old people are using various exercise equipment and practicing tai chi. In Haerbin the flowers have just come out and it feels like I have stepped back a month or two. I have just been unsuccessful in my search for an internet café once again. Monday was pretty relaxing. Xu Jie just showed me around a bit and I cooked dinner, then she found me an internet café and place to sleep in her neighborhood. I was planning to catch up with things and begin another website overhaul. The net café as it turned out wasn't really suitable for this. I've got most of my files on a USB stick and this café had all the computers completely inaccessible. So I went off wandering the city with my eyes open for another net café. After some time I came across another one that was similarly locked down, and then later found myself at the giant mall, the one that appears to be a air ship factory. I decided to do a little bit of shopping, on Monday I found at the carrefour, deodorant! Koreans don't use deodorant and so I had a hard time finding it in Korea. I did see some overpriced sticks in a foreign market but nothing else. So on Tuesday I bought a couple things I had been meaning to get before my trip and others I forgot to bring, like a flashlight. On seeing how much everything was priced I rather think I should have done all my shopping in China. Most of the things I bought before hand are made in China anyway. Then I wandered the open section of the mall. Apparently the grand opening is next week but one level is already functioning. I met a Canadian English teacher who after asking about my religion immediately concluded I was working for the “other side”. Beyond that Bill was nice enough and he was heading for an net café so I tagged along. I imagine he has a hard time living in China with his particular brand of Christianity. The net café he showed me was perfect for my needs so I did some work there before meeting Xu Jie once again.
Tuesday afternoon I spent at Xu Jie's grandmother, and met her little brother. Her grandmother was nice even if we couldn't talk at all, and her brother reminded me of those kids in Korea I have left behind. They cooked me a nice vegetarian meal, and finally someone in China understands that no meat means no meat. Last time I was in Haerbin Xu Jie didn't really get it but now she does. They insisted I have a little egg, which I don't like and am allergic to but it is better to try and be polite. In general I've found northern Chinese cuisine to be quite nice, it isn't as oily as food further south.
On Wednesday Xu Jie collected me early and we wandered the town once again. After I tried without success to fix her computer and in the end made things worse. The difficulty for me is everything on it is in Chinese and Xu Jie doesn't know much about computers so the translations are difficult. After giving up on that we went to see the Russian church and the river, and then relaxed for the afternoon. This time Xu Jie cooked dinner and it was absolutely delicious. I have really been spoiled lately with food. When I moved out of my flat the last week of April and took my main bag to my friend Yerang she made me delicious Korean food. Then I lived my last week in Korea with my friend Jade and she is also a wonderful cook with a style similar to Alice. I suspect it is something to do with New England since that is where Alice has been living for the last couple years and she has changed a bit. Jade says it isn't but oh well. I like what I cook simple as it is. But all this incredible food that others are cooking for me is even better!
My plan this morning was to do some more work on the internet but the café I used on Tuesday doesn't open until 8 as it turns out. So I came here to the park for a bit. Now I see eight o'clock has rolled around and so I am off.