Wednesday/ wǔ jiào

In China, most workers take a ‘siesta’ after lunch (I thought it was only the Spanish, but no) – it is called wǔ jiào and they really have cots here at work on which they sleep for an hour after lunch!  Then they troop back in here and work with us. Not fair!  I want  some wǔ jiào too!

Tuesday/ green tea mug

Green tea is very popular among my Chinese colleagues here at work.
The mugs have lids on, to keep the tea hot a little longer.

My company-issued green tea mug. The crane is part of the logo of the company. The Chinese characters 中国广东核电 Zhōngguó guǎngdōng hédiàn translates to China Guangdong Nuclear Power.

Monday’s done

Back at the apartment, Monday at work behind me.   Today I saw an SAP screen in Chinese alongside the English version.  The English is flawlessly lucid – and the Chinese unfathomably foreign! 🙂   Here is how Chinese characters are entered into any system : a Chinese computer keyboard is very close to a Western style keyboard, but the user types in syllables or English phonetic equivalents of Chinese characters. Embedded software interprets the keystrokes and pops the Chinese character into the application. Even more fascinating is to see a Chinese person actually writing these squiggly spidery characters on a piece of paper or on the whiteboard.  How did you ever learn to do that? I wanted to ask them. (Answer: 15 years of education, at home and in school).


Tuesday/ entrance 入口, and exit 出口

I’m learning a little bit more about the written Chinese language, a language of pictographs.  Many basic Chinese characters are in fact, highly stylized pictures of what they present.
Around 9 out of 10 characters is a combination of a ‘meaning’ element and a ‘sound’ element.
A contemporary Chinese person might know and use between 6,000 and 8,000 characters – but one can get by with as few as 2,000 or 3,000.

The two characters 入口 rù kǒu on the sign below stand for ‘entrance’. A depiction of a person that goes through a door, opening, gate.

‘Exit’ looks like this 出口 chū kǒu. That first character is a foot, coming out from an enclosure! The foot is leaving through a door, or gate.


Saturday/ Walmart in Shenzhen

Well – what can I say? I was Alice, and Walmart was a wonderland of Chinese culture and department store marketing of food, houseware, electronics and clothing.  There we were, 15 of us dropped off with a little bus, looking for household items and food for our apartments in Dameisha.  And did we load up that bus!

Walmart being what it is, the choices were cheap and enormous – and of course, they had Kraft branded food products and Coke & Pepsi, but there were still some surprises.  Dinner plates were hard to find. Chinese food is served up in bowls. T-shirts were not plentiful at all.

The food was the most fascinating, from the ‘wet area’ where one could catch one’s own super-fresh seafood (yes, right there in the store, the way the staff did at the restaurant the other night), to teas of all kinds, milk tea, a limited selection of good coffee, candy, but relatively few chocolate products, noodles of all kinds, root vegetables, fresh ginger, eggplant and durian.

Entrance to the Walmart Supercenter at 2001 Xiangmei Road in the Futian District in Shenzhen. The Chinese characters say Wò’ērmǎ (‘Walmart’) Shopping Plaza 沃尔玛购物广场 Wò’ērmǎ gòuwù guǎngchǎng.
Hazeline shampoo for lovely luscious black hair. The Chinese characters at the bottom says something like ‘Say goodbye to tangled hair’.
Dragon flies on this vest. I could not tell if the fabric is silk; I assume it is.
Cutie-pie characters are built into these humidifiers. That’s a tiger on the far left, since 2010 is the Year of the Tiger.
The signage on the aisles offer a little language lesson for both English and Chinese speakers.
Instant noodles 方便面 (say Fāng biàn miàn) and Chinese noodles 中式面条 (say Zhōng shì miàn tiáo).
Coffee 咖啡 (say Kā fēi) and tea , which has its standalone character 茶 (say Chá).
Alright. The tagline translation is cute ‘The Respectable of Choice’, and that is why I took the picture of this organic boxed milk. But later on I looked Guiyi online. Guiyi is a town further up along the coast from Shenzhen in Guangdong province, and until recently at least, Guiyu was best known in the global environmentalist community for its reception of all kinds of electronic waste, resulting in terrible pollution levels in its surrounding air, water and soil. So is it possible to produce pure and organic dairy products there?
The little guy on the lid is licking his lips for this product, which I suspect is hot or spicey. The characters at the bottom say ‘Famous brand foods from Sichuan province’ 四川省名牌食品 (say Sìchuān shěng míng pái shí pǐn). Sichuan province in southwestern China is famous for Sichuan peppercorns with their tingling, numbing effect on the tongue.
Ah, fruity chew candy from my childhood in South Africa (sugus), and chewing gums from Wrigley company, where I had done work for all of 2005 in Chicago. All of this in a traditional bowl held by two happy little tigers that represent the Year of the Tiger.
Two whole chickens (completely all of the chicken, that is), for ¥ 9 which is the equivalent of US$ 1.37.
These are freshwater eels, I believe.
These are durian, in some Asian countries called the “king of fruits“. The durian grows on trees and is distinctive for its large size, strong odor, and thorn-covered skin. The strong odor has prompted authorities in Singapore to ban eating durian in many outdoor spaces throughout Singapore and to prohibit it on public transport.

It’s Friday ..

.. so we’re getting out of the office! Woo hoo !

There are plans afoot to visit Walmart in the city of Shenzhen on Saturday, so that we can get pots and pans, knives, forks, extra towels & what have yous. My internet access at the apartment is not up and running yet, nor is the central heating working.

We have made a start to our project, though; met dozens of colleagues and client team members, and it was not a bad week at all.

Push is denoted by the character 推 tuī. Does the character show someone pushing against a door, or is that my imagination?