Real food again!

Well, after about 2 years of trying to get someone to fix our gas oven, it has now been sorted out and works well again. It all started when they changed the gas supply over to Natural gas, the oven then was the only thing the gas folk didn’t seem to know how to convert and it stayed that way until now. We had people in from the gas company over the time but to no avail. We tried to contact the company we bought the oven off, but they moved along with the folk that installed it from the kitchen company when we had that redone.

At long last we managed to find the kitchen folk at the start of this month, and they, luckily, were able to put is touch with the oven suppliers. We contacted them and one guy arrived last week, he poked and looked around, then said its too old (3yrs) and dangerous (in same condition we bought it in really, only got to use it for about 3 months before the gas change!), so he left saying someone else would come to sort it out.

True to his word (for a change) two guys from the oven company arrived, took it apart, checked all the connections, put it back together and low and behold the damn thing works at last. Test with roast chicken yesterday and apple crumble today confirm that it stays alight when I shut the door (at last)  so it looks like roast beef dinners on the way very soon…

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A little gas and a little storm

The long running saga of my gas oven still lingers on, we at last managed to find the shop we bought it from (it had moved) and they sent one of their ‘little men’ out to do the gas conversion for us, he has now gone stating that its an old oven (3yrs!), dangerous (its still in the state I bought it in!) and he will send someone else to fix it!!! so still no roast dinners in the near future!.

We are also on the edge of a typhoon at the moment, its been pissing down all day and up and down winds which will probably get a bit harder as it gets nearer, luckily  (for us anyway) Hong Kong will take the brunt of whatever comes and the mountains in between us will dampen it down for us as well. Happy is not happy, he hates the wet, well any water really. He moaned at me to take him out so I did, we got out the lift he looked out and saw it all and stood there for a while, but was bursting for the toilet so he had to at least venture out a few feet, we had a quick walk round (he was feeling a little brave) and went straight back to the lift to come home again.

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Shanhai Expo 2010

We are now back home in Shenzhen again, after a tiring 4 days away, we did not get to see what are known as the popular pavilions due to the length of the queues, between 1hr and 4 or 5 for the most popular, and there was no way I was going to queue for that long. As I have mentioned earlier, most of them were just propaganda for the countries telling everyone how eco friendly they are, green as green, and the impression you get from the whole event is that the war with global warming is over really, its all been solved. I got the nearest I am likely to get to North Korea and Iran, they both had sites there, along with Palestine, Israel, Afghanistan and every other "stan" country you could mention or never even heard of. All old enemies side by side… sort of.
I had one slightly embarrassing moment with the ice cream there, they had it in these nice looking fluted cones, only I didn’t realise that as the ice cream started to melt it dripped profusely out of the flutes all over the place, first I noticed was my foot getting cold, I was sitting down at the time and guess where the majority of it went, yep, in my crotch, I had nice white shorts on, and now nice yellow ice cream marks!! great eh. luckily it dried quickly and wasn’t very noticeable, oh the shame!
After our second day we went for a day in Shanghai itself, just for a change of scenery, Shanghai is just a bigger version of Shenzhen, in the walking street they have Noddy trains to take you from one end to the other and every big shop that you already know in between.
The last day at the Expo was also yesterday our day home day, but our flight wasn’t till 10, well ended up nearly 11 and home by 3am, the weather up till then had been hot and sunny and then it poured with rain for a while which had everyone scurrying for an umbrella shelter, and there were a lot of people to scurry!
At the expo they give you these ‘passports’ that you go round the pavilions and collect stamps for each country from, which the locals loved, even Rose would you believe. All the stamping counters were crammed and the folk stamping must have had sore arms by the end of the day.
I’ll post the pictures later, once I have sorted through them.
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Our first day was spent travelling from Shenzhen airport to Shanghai, about a 3hr flight most of which I slept because of the lack of sleep the night before. For some reason dear Rose was unable to sleep and was up and down all night. We left home at 7am and arrived at our hotel here in Shanghai around 3pm. The hotel is only 5 mins walk from the Expo entrance.

By the end of of our first day we were quite knackered as we stayed in the Expo from 4pm to around 11pm that night, we didn’t get into many pavilions due the amount of crowds waiting to get in, much like Disneyland and with the same queue lines as well. After this second day I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as global warming. every single nation here (around 140 of them) all proclaim they are doing their best to reduce their carbon footprints, they are all ecologically friendly, none are polluters any more, so as far as I can see there is no longer a problem…. unless…. some one is telling a few porkies here!! and I suspect more than one is doing that! Getting into the Expo on the first day, we went through the usual security you get everywhere these days, and I had a bottle of orange on me. the lady checking me said, “You should drink some water”, I said, “I prefer orange thank you”, She said, “No, you should drink some water”, I again replied, “Sorry but I prefer this and its about 90% water anyway”, She then gave up, but a man got hold of Rose and he told her to call me back and she explained that they wanted me to drink some of my drink there so they could see it was safe!  Ah the light shines at last!!!

The second day was a lot better than the first as we managed a reasonable nights sleep on the usual hard as nails beds in the hotels here. Most of the exhibits were all on the same theme, mostly telling everyone how well they are doing with the environment and preaching to everyone else how to as well. See, I told you there wasn’t a problem. We went into the Canadian exhibit and Rose by this time had a paper Canadian flag in her hair, the bloke said to her, “Are you Canadian?” she said “Yes, Half!” not questioning her any more the bloke promptly gave us 2 VIP tickets to the Canada show that was on later that evening, which was quite good by the way. A couple of groups playing other bits of music, a quite good idiot performer and the circus solei, (I don’t actually know how to spell that!)

Unlike the first day today I actually got food to eat, yesterday every restaurant we went in, whatever I ordered they had runout!

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Little men and Shanghai

This week we have had the ‘little men’ in once again, this time to change our windows changed due to the fact that the old ones were starting to fall off their hinges and posed a bit of a danger to life below us. I also put a fan into the toilet area, that as anyone knows who has been here, normally has a window that opens to the kitchen, well now the window is shut and the toilet air now goes to the outside where is should go, The little men put the fan in the window for me and used a good excess of silicone sealer to do it most of which I have now trimmed off and I also installed the piping for the air duct, this involved taking the ceiling panels down and put them up again afterwords.
Today We had a trip to IKEA which we have here now, we took a friend that Rose neglected to tell me wanted to buy most of the shop, I had to be a little firm in telling them to stop buying as it wouldn’t actually fit into the car!! Luckily that worked and everything only just went in. She was buy chairs and tables etc for her school that Rose now teaches at. As usual we got misdirected on the roads again, so the journey as usual took longer than necessary, but hey ho.
We are off to Shanghai Expo for 4 days from tomorrow, so if I can get on line you will get a blog from there if not it will have to wait till we get back. Wish me luck….
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Life in a lift

Yesterday we went to visit a new shopping mall nearby, we got to the underground car park but couldn’t see the way in to the store, we asked a cleaning lady who pointed us to a couple of lifts which turned out to be freight lifts. Anyway, we got in and pressed 3 for our floor and up we went, but it went very, very, very slowly, I thought, "Maybe something is a little wrong with this lift", someone had just gotten out of it before we got in and didn’t say anything. The lift slowly ground to a halt and all the floor indicator lights then went out and the lift buttons refused to work.
I pulled the inner door open and found we were stuck between two floors. Rose then got on the intercom and told a girl what had happened. We were there for around half an hour and by this time Rose was just about screaming at the girl on the intercom despite my efforts to calm her down. Eventually the lift slowly started to go down and we ended up back in the car park again but at least we were out of the lift in one piece. I thought it was amusing but Rose seemed to disagree with me!. We found the right lifts which were just round the corner from where we were! All’s well that ends well…. maybe….
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We just spent the weekend in Ottawa, staying at an apartment building where Jas’s friend lives and we had the guest suite, it was ok, just a short walk from just about all the main attractions that Ottawa has. The best of which was a nightly light show on the Parliament building, it was rather cool, in that the lighting effects at one stage made it look like parts of the building were moving, very clever.

We had a trip on the river the next day, then a look inside the national gallery, first floor not impressed, lines of bricks and piles of rope etc as art! along with out of focus out of exposure photos that I would have thrown away! This was followed by a trip inside the parliament building itself, very nice building, the main part looks old but is only about 40 yrs older than I am! (don’t say a word!) the original wooden structure burnt down and they rebuilt it to look older and it does.

The rest of the time was spent in restaurants and wandering round the town. We then had the 4hr trip back again as we went by car with Jas driving, he was well knackered when we got back here to Toronto, the boy did good. I am now sitting here waiting for everyone to return and finish packing as we leave for home at just after midnight tonight. Next blog will be from China again.

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I forgot to mention, the first thing I saw after we passed through the border to the US was a guy in an SUV driving along at around 60mph eating his dinner!, no hands on the wheel, both hands eating his dinner from a paper wrapper that was in his lap, on hand eating the other drinking!!!!, I was glad i was in a big bus!

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New York trip

What can I say about New York, well it had the hottest day on record while we were there so walking around turned out to be a bit of a chore, and we were quite knackered by the end of the day. It took around 10 hours to get from Toronto to New York but we at least had stops every two hours or so, one was to the Corning Glass museum in of all places, Corning, would you believe. We started the day with a bit of a disaster really, we had to meet the subway to get to the bus meeting place by 6.15am, I awoke suddenly to find that the clock said 6.15am so it was then a quick bolt out of bed, throw what we thought we need in the bag that we couldn’t pack the day before and ordered a taxi, luckily it got us there in time. I had a second disaster in that while in one of the shopping precincts we visited, I went to the toilet and the zip on my shorts promptly disintegrated and left me with shorts I couldn’t zip up! So I then pulled my shirt down as far as I could and ‘casually’ strolled back to the rest area where I could sit down without embarrassing myself and had to wait till Rose came by so she could go to the bus and retrieve my spare shorts, Unfortunately the bus had moved and we had to wait till it came back again, all was well in the end when they were replaced! AND disaster No.3 (they all come in threes! We got to the hotel, The Heldrich which is in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and went to open the door to our room, well, the room unlocked but the door refused to open, something was jamming it shut. We called for help which took over half an hour to come and this large black guy then appeared and forced the door open. The door had apparently swollen so much the door didn’t close properly and when it was shut it was very difficult to open, I wasn’t about to force it open in case I broke it and that of course would mean that I would end up paying for it! We eventually managed to get another room and everything settled back down again.

We were up at 6.30am each day, the first trip was just an around the town affair, stopping at places like Times Square, Central Park and other locations, where we got off the bus and more or less fast walked to where we were going. We had one stop at Grand Central Station for dinner, where I lost Rose, We were sitting in the rest area and Rose went to the bookstall and then disappeared, I waited for around half an hour and No Rose, it was now 10 minutes till the bus left again, so I went over the Police kiosk and asked them to page her, they said they didn’t do it from there and I had to go upstairs to do it, I said that I was a little loathed to leave where I was just in case she found her way back again, anyway, the police and I then began searching for her, and after a few minutes one of them said does she wear glasses, she had turned up and was behind me! She had been to the toilet and couldn’t find her way back again, her lack of sense of direction is now legendary.

At 3pm we were dropped off at Macy;s dept store (we did this on both days) where we were then free to roam around by ourselves, I have to say by this time our feet were killing us due to the heat, it was in the 90’s. The second day it was over 100. It was actually hotter than when we left China. The bus picked us up again at 8pm for our return to the hotel.

The next day was very similar, except instead of the ‘downtown’ area we went south to the lesser parts of the town including Little Italy and Chinatown etc. (Yes China again!) We ate near the Brooklyn bridge and afterwards they dropped us near a subway in Chinatown,  We took the subway to The Empire State Building, The subway was crammed and the carriages are a lot smaller than the ones we have in China and a lot dingier.

To get inside the Empire State takes a lot of queuing, and I mean a lot, you go through 3 queues to get in, one for security, one for the ticket and another when you get to the 80th floor to get in the next lift up to the 84th floor Observation deck. I, as a few of you may know, am not the greatest fan of heights, but I had no problem here, I don’t really know why that is, maybe it was the brick wall and high fence all round that made it seem more secure. We spend the afternoon up there taking photo’s etc, Rose wanted to stay till sunset but we had to catch the bus at 8pm and sunset wasn’t till then so we were unable to stay, or it would have been a bit of a pain getting back to the hotel if we missed the bus at Macy’s. I wanted to have a look inside the Chrysler building to photograph it as I had heard it was a bit special, but we unfortunately ran out of time.

The next day (yesterday) was our return home trip, much like the one coming to NY, except at the border the Canadians were more friendly that the young stroppy git we had on the way into the States and it costs 6 dollars to get in!! I was very tempted to ask for the 6 dollars back when we left, but I didn’t want to push my luck, we got back here around 9pm.

The trip on the whole was a ladies trip as 90% of it was shopping, shopping, shopping, All i bought was an IPod Nano and a bag of liquorice, I learnt that if I ever go back again it wont be on a tour! and I’ll book a hotel in the centre of Manhattan to save all the travel and rushing about.

I’ll post the pictures when I get back home.

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The folk you meet

Before our trip to New York, I met a couple of ‘odd’ folk, the first was a little old lady of 90 who we met on the way from the shops, she had her streaked died hair, blonde, red, green and yellow, She kept telling us she was very famous in her day in New York, on the stage and TV etc, and if she wanted she could get a job entertaining again at any time!, she is currently in one of the flats near here being looked after by a maid she hires. The maid was with her when we met and got a little embarrassed the longer we chatted to the old girl, who invited us round etc. We will see if we meet again.

The second odd person was on the train when we went to see Rain, on the way back this big well built guy got on the train in his workman’s outfit and started to tell me how good my sandals were, then went on to describe in detail the different types that were like mine that may be better etc. I began to think he was one of the Village People!! luckily we got off after a couple of stops and he stayed on!!!

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