Beneath this bowl of stars...

toddler activites, food, photos, and other orbital occurrences

Today was Dave's first day back at work since our big move to China. So, that means it was Amber and I's first day on our own. Unfortunately we spent the morning waiting for our Ayi (maid) to arrive and attempt to explain to her using charades what we wanted done and that we didnt have any cleaning supplies, here is some money and do what you can and then go shopping. Next we had a few hours to kill before our Ikea delivery was supposed to arrive.

We set out to have a nice relaxing lunch of Mcyd's. McDonalds is not the same here. Not only do the fries taste funny (just as funny as france/europe) b/c they still use animal fat, but my quarter pounder had cucumbers instead of pickles. And with happy meals they serve fries or corn kernels in a little cup (not like a cooked corn, more of a finger food) it was very odd. I will try to remember to take a picture next time.

We continued on our walk (destination Goodbaby, to see what kinds of things they carry). We soon remembered just how difficult it is to have a stroller in Shanghai. Not only are the sidewalks extremely bumps and sometimes non-existent, but in many places there are major roads that do not have cross walks (there is a gate thing down the middle), so they have nice overhead crossing bridges.... nice if you have legs rather than wheels. We ended up reaching our destination, but only after walking many many blocks out of the way to finally find a crosswalk.

On our way home, I stopped to buy some water (we dont have a delivery set up yet for big jugs). I got a large 1.5 liter bottle for 2.5rmb and a .5L bottle of dark beer for 4.6rmb. Thats a total of $1.10. I cannot even imagine anything cheaper.

Ikea on the other hand is not at all cheap. I have been wondering for a few days now (and on our previous trip), how come all the made in china stuff is more expensive here than in the US. In China everything that is imported has a big sticker stuck on it that outlines (in chinese) all sorts of stuff about the item. Everything from an apple, to a toy, to a sofa. Turns out, China has a very hefty import tax. So for example, a very cheap coffee maker that you might pay $19.99 for in a walgreens, is about $40 here. Same with much of the stuff at Ikea. The reason is that the item is first exported out of China to whomever the ordering company is. Then it is imported back into China, and gets the import tax pounded on it. Finally, since the pool of people who can afford these type of luxury items (yes shopping at Ikea is a huge luxury here), is so small, there is not a very high turn over, or demand, so for a store to carry an item, they are paying rent on it most likely for a long while and their order size is small, so no bulk discounts.

Back to our day, and the next thing i learned about Ikea..... we now came home to wait for Ikea. First they called us, and of course they only spoke mandarin and I did not. Luckily Dave was working from home in his little office, so I was able to disturb him enough to answer their questions. Everything arrived and I began assembling and putting things away. We put the mattress we bought for our bed up on it, and sure enough (i had my guesses from seeing it on the floor), it was way too small!!! We thought we had a king size bed. So we went to Ikea and purchased a king size mattress. (oh first let me tell you that we have a mattress, but its harder than the floor and that is no exaggeration, its really more of a box spring). I did some research and it turns out that there are about 6 different sizes of King beds. (I think I sort of knew this, but not to this extreme). Our bed is a Super California King (or something like that). The Ikea mattress (labeld King) is about the same size as a UK Super King, but its much shorter (maybe its an asian king?). In the US the exact same mattress, also labeled King is a normal US king size. Our bed that we currently have is about the same size as a california king, but its the same width as a regular US king, so its actually a HUGE bed, bigger than any other bed on wikipedia, our guest bed, is a european/uk super king. so eventually, we will hire a car and return the odd size mattress.

Now for the good part. We got Amber a "big girl bed" and a "little doll bed". She was so excited she put the animals that she used to sleep with in her little bed, to bed in the new little bed and climbed in her new big bed. I laid with her until she fell asleep, and she's still there!
I will post pictures of her new room soon.