Monday, July 25, 2016

First Week Observations

And in no particular order......

**City streets are labeled with the appropriate "look left" or "look right" for those of us who fail to remember that cars drive on the left side of the road here. Nice of the city to not cause a game of "flatten the American" as we are out and about.

**Within the city center, there are indoor malls with the same stores seemingly on every corner. I mean really, how do they all stay in business?

**People here love their cell phones. I thought the US was bad. But, nope. Folks walk around FaceTiming each other, watching movies, watching tv, or just reading. And, I mean walk around the crowded streets, the mall, and the MTR (subway). Not just sitting on the train or a taxi. Craziness.

**Speaking of cell phones, trying to get service set up involves having to give up your first born kid. Sorry, Katie. But seriously, it was annoying and full of paperwork. Process made even more fun when the US bank freezes your account, even though they know we are here, which made our cards not work. Happened more than one time.....ugh.

**From the city to our apartment complex involves taking a taxi along curvy, narrow roads over the mountain. Gee, my favorite kind of driving. I can't even ride rollercoasters without feeling nauseous. Geesh. Toss in taxi drivers who are trying to make a NASCAR team, and I'll be popping lots of Dramamine.

**The hot water heater for each bathroom (kitchen) is a separate switch you must turn on before using. To make it more fun, the switch is located in the hallway outside the bathroom door. I've heard many calls for "can someone turn on the hot water?" from wet people in showers. One of these days, I'm not going to hear that cry for help.......fair warning.

**The bathroom does not have an outlet to plug in a hair dryer. But it does have a wall of mirrors right by the toilet. Awesome. I just love the idea of watching myself taking care of business. Oh, there is an outlet in the closet. Maybe I'll just stand in the closet with my dryer. Good grief.

** The washer and dryer can each do one small load at a time. Takes 60 minutes to wash and 80 minutes to dry. I'll be doing laundry Every. Single. Day.

**Groceries here are sold in smaller packages than at home, unless you find US brands. Loaves of bread have about 10 pieces, crackers have one sleeve, meat is sold in half pound packages, ice cream cartons are half the size. Which means you are likely at the grocery store daily. Whoo hoo.

**Getting home with groceries involves hauling bags into a taxi or the apartment complex shuttle bus. If you are only carrying a few small things, it's easy. But, if you are like us crazy Americans, you are hauling multiple bottles of wine, beer, dry goods, and fresh foods. But, we had an Australian guy check out our groceries versus his....he wanted to come home with us. Ha!

**A plus to grocery shopping that I've discovered is that all the stores deliver or offer online shopping. One store already knows us by name and account number. Yep. It's a really small version of Sam's Club. Sells their things in bulk which, of course, makes carrying it with you rather challenging. I mean, have you tried to carry home a 35 pack of water, 12 pack of paper towels. and a 24 pack of toilet paper? All by taxi?

**Very thankful that at the end of the day, we are in a quiet "suburb" of the city, only a mile from the girls school (can't sidewalks), ten minute walk to the beach or grocery store, (or a 3 minute drive). and with an awesome view out our living room window.