Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pandas! Awwww!

Last weekend we debated between heading to the zoo or heading to the aquarium. It ended up being a nice day out, so the zoo won out, saving the aquarium for a rainy day. The zoo again was lots of fun as we got to see monkeys fighting over food, and got to see the lesser pandas being fed. I think Liz liked the lesser pandas best again; she even got to learn a lot about them as the zoo worker that was feeding them told us all sorts of stuff. None of which I was able to understand, of course.

Still, the pandas took their place in Chinese class this week. I frequently have to come up with sentences, so I used pandas twice; most recently, I asked if my classmate knows anywhere near to go see them. I only use panda because I got tired of all of my sentences being about cats, and given that I know the word for cat, it's not too much harder to get the word for panda (literally "bear cat" in Chinese). I just have to keep looking up the Chinese word for 'bear'.

Christmas is coming up soon, and I'm finding that I continue to be confused. The trees are very interesting still, but I still have yet to understand why there's a plexiglass maze set up outside our office building. Even more confusing, though, is that it's never actually usable. It's always got a fence around the entrance and exit preventing anyone from using the pretty red maze, so it just sits there, every day as I pass on the way to or from work, making me wonder what's the point.

We've also submitted our vacation requests for Christmas. Although we're still in Mountain View in the system, so to take the 25th off, we had to request the 27th, but work on the 27th anyway. Oh well, however it works, we don't have to come in and work on Christmas day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

One Lonely Little Present

This past weekend was a relaxing weekend, but also a very Christmas-y weekend. I wandered out to take pictures on Friday of some of the Christmas trees around our apartment. There are a few on the street our apartment overlooks, so after eating some Thai for dinner, I grabbed my camera and headed out. Liz stayed home, so I had to order a strawberry ice cream all by myself. Yay for pointing and grunting.

Saturday morning we got a call saying that our Christmas tree was ready to be delivered, and wanted to know if we were going to be around that afternoon. We'd not ordered a tree, and were somewhat afraid that it was going to attack, but decided we'd just been watching a bit too much Doctor Who (which Liz actually enjoys watching with me very much, thank you).

I'd been thinking that I might want to go out, so we asked for it to be delivered on Sunday morning instead. When the tree arrived shortly before we left for church, Liz and I were pleasantly surprised. Instead of the two-or-maybe-three foot tree I'd been expecting, this one reached the light-switch, and was a gift from (according to the card) "Mon and Dad". Thanks, mon!

As promised, our tree (or, perhaps, Christmas bush) was already decorated. Although there were no lights, so when we ran to the grocery store after church, we made sure to grab some lights and a couple of snowman ornaments.

Our apartment feels very festive now, with the reindeer and tree and ornaments, including the ones we bought already. Then, yesterday, a present appeared on our dining table while we were off at work. We've got to go buy some more to join it underneath the tree!

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's December, so it's finally time to start seeing Christmas stuff up and about (unlike the US, where the stuff starts appearing like magic sometime in mid-July these days it seems). Christmas decorations in Shanghai confuse me somewhat, though.

They put up a huge 'tree' out in front of our building. It's a giant metal cone, covered in silver tinsel and purple and pink ornaments. Very tall, but not enough green. At least it's the right shape. Across the street is the green tree, but it has a mushroom top.

Of the couple dozen or so trees we've seen, I've learned a new rule. If the tree is outside, you can expect that it's going to be as bizarre as possible. My personal favorite is the metal frame tree with presents hanging around inside it.

Then you go and try to find Christmas decorations, since we didn't bring any with us. We managed to find a couple of Christmas ornaments on Saturday, but no good decorations at the store we'd previously seen trying to advertise them. Sunday we headed to the mall to look for some more. A six-story mall, we found one store with any sort of decorations at all.

At least they weren't completely bizarre, and there are no presents hanging around inside of our new wire-frame reindeer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

These Aren't the Thai You're Looking For

Liz was sick for a few days a bit ago, so this weekend was my turn. The differences being that mine wasn't so bad (really just sinus problems leading to me blaming breathing difficulties on Shanghai's smog) and the fact that while I didn't get sick from Liz, she ended up having similar problems to me this weekend.

Hers just weren't quite so bad.

So when she went to her parents for dinner again, I wasn't feeling up to it, having barely slept Friday night. And when she went to play badminton on Friday with coworkers, I didn't feel up to it, so I went home instead. Overall it was a nice relaxing weekend wherein I left the apartment for meals and for church.

Church did bring another adventure, though. I was feeling well enough to go, so I figured I felt well enough to walk around some. Thus, we decided we'd try to visit a Thai place for the second time. Take the subway two stops, head south, then east, and then we should be there within half a block.

A dozen blocks later we hit the other Thai place instead.

Sadly, no days off for Thanksgiving here, but vacation's over back in the US anyway, so we didn't miss all that much, except of course for the good food and good company. Or the trip to Disneyland, as we'd previously planned our Thanksgiving to again be.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

He's a Live One

We visited the aquarium this weekend again. It was much nicer this time, being a regular weekend instead of a holiday. When we went in October we got annual passes, but they had to have time to print them, so we didn't get our passes until this weekend, and found that they'd misprinted mine. The solution is apparently to use whiteout and a pen. I wonder if I could do that to change the picture too.

We also went to a performance by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra this weekend, which was very nice. We got to go to an actual music performance hall, instead of to a sports stadium, and may have ended up on live TV at some point in the two-hour concert. We weren't the only people excited to be there, either.

The conductor himself seemed pretty excited. He was jumping around all over the place, waving so vigorously at the violin section that he almost lost his pants. I still wonder what a conductor is for, as they seemed able to play along just fine while he held his baton in his mouth, using both hands to adjust his pants and keep them from falling off.

Or maybe losing one's pants is so common among conductors that they teach the "conducting with the baton in your mouth" skill at conductor school.

I think crab season is supposed to be ending soon. But Liz got to eat more crabs last night, and discovered that she learned a bit too much information when we went to Lu Zhi a bit ago. She still ate the crabs, though. I just had McDonalds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Table for One

I've been on my own this week, and it's been quite interesting. I've managed to get my own food, mostly by a lot of grunting and pointing. Monday was easy. I went to a place that had samples sitting out, so I could just point at the one that I wanted. She asked me something in return, but I hadn't a clue what it was. I assumed she was giving its name to see if that's what I was wanting. I just nodded, and ended up with the food I'd been expecting. Yum.

Dinner was even easier. Stop by the bread place, put some stuff on my tray, and then hand them much-too-large a bill, expecting correct change. I'm not positive, but it was at least close enough to count.

I then opted for an actual sit-down restaurant yesterday, but at a place with the menu translated in English, knowing I could again just point and get by with something I could eat. Of course, they sent a waiter that spoke English over to take my order, but I was already in the spirit of pointing and grunting, so I didn't have to do anything more than confirm my order. Paying my bill was fun, though, as I first had to find someone willing to take my money.

I'm not sure why a writing motion is a universal sign for "Check, please!", but it seems to work. Of course, after I got my change and thanked her (in Chinese), she told me "you're welcome" (in English). Why am I slowly learning Chinese again? Oh, right, so I can order ice cream, where there isn't a nicely-situated menu. No ice cream for me so far this week.

I'm starting to understand my numbers, and we've counted from 1 to 99 for the last couple of days in class. Who needs numbers greater than 100, anyway? There can't be more than that many things in the world, honestly.

I get to do lunch by myself again today, but Liz is feeling well enough that she should hopefully be able to join me again tomorrow. And I can go back to grunting and pointing in response to her questions instead of the waiter's.

In other news, I've added some images from the last couple of weeks to my web page, and a link to the gallery from here. None of our apartment or the view out our window or anything are up yet, but there are at least some pictures to look at.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Busy Week

I don't think there's ever nothing to do. Even before we got our shipment of DVDs and whatnot, we still ended up going out quite a bit to see shows and visit family. But this past Tuesday, we did end up getting our shipment (finally). Combined with the DVDs we got from Amazon on Monday, there may even be too much to do.

We found out late Monday that we were getting our shipment on Tuesday, and that they'd call back around 5 to let us know what time. This being after we'd previously been told that we'd be able to schedule any time we wanted, evenings, weekends, whenever. But I was fine with them picking the time as long as we got our stuff, finally (since it's getting chilly here, and I'm glad to have my winter coat).

Mid-morning Tuesday, they finally called us back, and scheduled the drop-off for 5 that evening. Not too bad a time, we'd have to leave work a bit early, but weren't going to have to waste half a day sitting around our apartment waiting for movers that refuse to show up on time. So we even had pizza delivered to our desks allowing us to work through lunch.

I was happy to see there wasn't any surprise shrimp on the pizza.

And then, when we got home, the movers were actually very prompt, and spent about five minutes hauling our boxes in the door. We could have had them unpack things for us, but we had little enough, it took little time to do it on our own. The only problem was figuring out what to do with the used boxes. We kept two. The magical used-shipping-material fairy came and carted the remaining boxes away from outside our apartment door sometime Thursday evening.

Other activities this last week: Wednesday we finished our unpacking, Thursday we ran to Best Buy (the one in Shanghai) to get some speakers, since I forgot to check the voltage on the speakers I shipped, we had dinner with Liz's parents on Friday and Saturday both. Saturday's dinner was preceeded by a day out with her cousin, walking around a park, and was followed by a magic show. And then yesterday, Liz had apparently had too much to do this week, and fell ill so she could remain home today.

Not that I'd have seen much of her anyway, as she no longer sits in the desk next to me.

We'd been debating going to see animals, but ended up opting for the gardens instead on Saturday. The park was nice, and I took lots of pictures, but still have yet to manage to upload any. They'll get here sometime. I just need to shrink them down a bit first. And the magic show was a lot of fun, being a magic competition, with nine different magicians performing, and the 90-minute show lasting nearly two and a half hours.

It's been a busy week. I want a weekend.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Not a Lot of Tuba

Two weeks, and it's not that nothing's happened. That's not why I've not been posted for the last couple of weeks. Rather, too much has been going on, and I've been distracted.

Work's been going well, getting lots and lots of stuff done. Nothing particularly interesting with typing on a computer all day, though, even when it is nice and things work out well. Meetings are required, but not worth talking about. But unexpected traveling certainly is. We hadn't thought we'd be able to go along last week when the rest of the office went for a trip to eat crab and see an old town. Since the office trip required staying overnight, we really needed our passports, and mine was still tied up in trying to get our shipment delivered. The trip left at four last Thursday, we got my passport back with little warning about one. So we ran to lunch, ran home, and made it onto the bus.

I, of course, didn't eat any crab. But that's ok, as Liz got to have an extra. I did enjoy the old town, and took lots of pictures, but still haven't really managed to get them onto the computer yet, so imaginations will have to be used instead. Until I manage to make some time.

Sadly, our delivery isn't yet here, although we're hopeful for this week. Just the last run through customs, and we should get it right to our doorstep.

Otherwise, in the last couple of weeks, I've had a few new foods, some interesting, some with yet more unexpected bits of shrimp. I've really got to learn the symbol for 'shrimp' so I can double and triple check and really, really, really make sure that neither what I order, nor anything else on the page, has anything even vaguely related to shrimp in it.

We also went to the zoo on the 27th. Without Liz's boots here yet, we didn't manage to walk around everywhere before feet began to hurt. So we completely missed the "Tiger Panda" and the "Wolf Panda", but we did get to see the pandas, one of whom was actually awake, and the lesser pandas, also whom had one awake. The difference then being that the big pandas slept on the ground, while we had to struggle to see the lesser pandas, which were hiding in the trees.

I must have played too hard, though, for the next day I felt unwell and stayed home while Liz visited her family. I made up for it yesterday, though, and spent the evening eating really good Chinese food and watching people play a card game I'm going to manage to understand the rules to sometime before we move back to the States.

We also made it to a symphony on Saturday. After getting confused and ending up at the wrong stadium (Liz pointed out that the symphony we were going to probably wasn't the one they were selling all of the glo-sticks for, but when we got there, I did see a couple of them wielded by two children sharing a seat), we finally made it. Several seats for our row/seat combination, but we managed to get to the right section (I hope. At least nobody tried to claim our seats out from under us), and greatly enjoyed the show.

That was a lot of violin. But I didn't notice all that much tuba.

Oh, and in other news, my Chinese class started last week. I hope I will have pronunciation well enough to not cause people to fall over laughing in a couple months, and may even learn a word or two while I'm here!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Um... This Dish Isn't Vegetarian

It was just pointed out to me that I learned more at IMSA than I thought. For see, we went out for lunch yesterday. It took me a while to choose, but finally I decided on a noodle dish, for the picture looked pretty good.

We'd both forgotten that we were at a curry place. Pictures don't convey spiciness. But that's not where I had learned. That's something I am sure I've known for a long time.

When my noodles finally got delivered, I was dismayed to find shrimp perched prominently atop my food. There had been no shrimp in the picture. There had been no shrimp in the (English) description of the dish. There had been no shrimp anywhere related to this dish. So I hadn't been expecting shrimp.

This is what I had learned at IMSA, though. It's fine to add shrimp to a dish that is otherwise vegetarian. Doing so leaves you with a dish which is still vegetarian. For at IMSA, between all of the maths and sciences, and somewhere around learning how to stack trays, we learned that this is fine.

We learned that shrimp isn't an animal, it's a mammal.

Thus, adding shrimp in as an afterthought should be expected. I'm so glad I'm not a vegetarian, so I don't have to eat shrimp.

Well.. It Doesn't Look Greek

I thought I was going to get to start taking Chinese classes today. It felt like it was set up pretty last-minute, since as of Sunday I still didn't know when they were going to start and yesterday they asked... "Well, how about tomorrow?"

Ok, the sooner the better I figured. It didn't give much time to figure out when and where I was going and to go buy the books and all. Thankfully there were no books to buy, so it made that go by much more quickly. But I still had to try to figure out how to get there. Again, should be fairly easy, with the building being right across the street.

So I'm asked for my contact number and given a name and a time and told that she'll meet me and take me to my first class.

Time to leave for class rolls around, and I still don't know where to meet, but she's got my number, so I'm not too worried. Time for class rolls around and I start to worry, so I send an email, being my only form of communication, asking... 'uh.. where do I go?'.

I'm given the name and told to go to reception.

Five minutes after class is supposed to start, I'm waiting for the one person working at reception to finish helping the people in front of me. A bit after that, I'm trying to figure out why reception has no clue who the person I've been told to meet even is.

Fifteen minutes after class is supposed to start I'm back at the office and finally get the call. "Oh, sorry, class is delayed. It'll start on Monday of next week."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Day in Shanghai

We did some sightseeing yesterday. Nothing major, no amazingly scenic trips or journeys to far-off places. Just a quick trip to the science and tech museum. But first, lunch at the Bund.

Eating at small restaurants is always an experience, and this one proved to not break the mold. We had some potatoes and green peppers (which aren't the nice sweet bells, but rather the really spicy green peppers), some vegetable that I don't know the name of, and some shrimp dumplings that I, of course, didn't touch. The food was good, but I'm not sure it's healthy to have potatoes drenched in that much butter. That's probably why the food was so good.

We'd thought we'd take the subway across the river to get to the tech museum, but on our way we found the 'sightseeing tunnel' across the river instead. We were being all touristy and everything (I even brought my camera for the day), so we figured we might as well go all-out. We've decided that our tour book was right. It certainly leaves you speechless. But at least there're lots of pretty lights. Otherwise, there's not much I can say. Something you have to see to believe, but have problems believing even then.

The tech museum itself was nice, although too large for us to completely see in a single afternoon. We saw the animal exhibit, with fake animals from all over the world. Looked at all sorts of life, and found that fake caves inside of buildings aren't nearly as scary as real caves. Even if they are filled with (fake) bats. We shrank to the size of viruses. And then we got to look at some spiders.

Sadly, the moon walk was 'in maintenance', but we did get to ride along on a strawberry going through a giant digestive system. (That guy really needs to see someone, though. Jaws shouldn't squeak so badly.) We saw a robot shoot a bow, another play a piano, and Liz lost a game to yet another. It didn't help that the robot was playing Connect Four while Liz tried to play Go.

We also remembered yet again that taxis are really good, and a few bucks isn't a bad price to save aching feet. Subways are fun and all, but it can be quite a walk from the station to the apartment.

We should be getting our paperwork done sometime really soon-like, so maybe we can start some real traveling in a couple more weeks.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Forgotten Drum

We went out to see a show last night. It was the opening of the 9th China Shanghai International Arts Festival, a dance show entitled "Dragon's Song". This after running around in the afternoon to get various bits of paperwork taken care of, so we didn't quite manage to get dinner prior to the show.

I didn't know what to expect. Which is probably good, as I certainly wouldn't have expected this. I didn't know it was the opening of a fairly big festival until after we got there, or else I may have been less surprised to have the half-hour of speeches. And may have even been less surprised to see all of the TV cameras.

But probably not. I really wasn't expecting to be at a show that was being broadcast live on TV.

I also wasn't expecting there to be a drum in a gift bag at my seat. Which I got to play around with a bit before the show, as we were instructed on how to appropriately use the drum and still keep from injuring the people sitting near you.

After the drum instruction and the speeches, the show actually started. And for dance, it was quite good. The music was a bit loud, but I got used to it. My stomach was hungry, and I didn't get used to that. So even though there was no intermission (being broadcast live, there were instead 'commercial breaks', and we got to see the commercials), we ended up leaving early and going out for Thai.

I was fairly sad to leave early. The dancing was pretty good, even though I wasn't really sure what was going on. And had I stayed, I could say that I'd played drums live on TV. But we didn't stick around long enough for the drum playing. And I was so concerned with not disturbing everyone else that as I snuck out of my seat, I forgot my gift bag.

Of course, being at a show meant we had to turn the cell phone off. And didn't realize it was still off until after the taxi called this morning, so we got to walk to work for a change.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Missing Stuff

Moving countries can cause some difficulties. Some of them one might expect--not being used to the food and not knowing the languages. These big difficulties can end up taking your mind off of all the little difficulties that may crop up. Especially the little difficulties that you think aren't going to be your problem because someone else is taking care of them for you.

Or so you think, until your stuff is all boxed up and shipped, until your stuff is already supposed to be being delivered. You think it's not your problem until you get that email that says that there's the limit on media that they didn't tell you about previously, and that some of your DVDs may be confiscated, or your entire shipment may be sent back.

Then it becomes a not-so-little problem. And very, very much your problem.

But that's ok, you think, since you still have people that are taking care of it for you. There have got to be ways to get these things worked out. There's going to be some sort of solution. And you find out you're right, there is. You find out a couple days later when they email you to let you know that you shouldn't have to worry about DVDs being confiscated or your shipment being sent back. You find out even later, when things should have arrived already.

You don't have to worry about things any more. Except the solution. That has to be worried about, because it means it's going to take at least another 2-3 weeks before you get your stuff. And you packed expecting it now, you're out of books, out of movies, the weather's starting to get cold and your winter coat is sitting in a storage facility somewhere that is not your closet, but somewhere close by.

Now it's an even less-small problem. And even more so your own personal problem, as you start to think that maybe these people aren't going to be able to work things out for you.

We can manage with what we've got here now. If it gets too cold, we can go buy clothes. If we need books, we can go buy them. DVDs may be harder to come by for me--we tried to look for some yesterday, but I decided I wasn't interested in either (a) educational BBC shows, or (b) anything else, as they were only available in Chinese (or maybe Japanese, but that's even less helpful to me). And computer games don't seem likely until I get my computer.

Oh well, maybe it's a good time to catch up on my sleep. Or possibly it's time to write the latest great American novel. And when we go back, perhaps we should think about shipping by postal service. Or pure teleportation. I'll probably have worked that out before our stuff arrives anyway.

Or I guess would have, were I to have my computer.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Week 2 In Review

It's turning out to be another interesting week. We had to go get medical exams on Wednesday to allow us to work here for the full year. The exam process went pretty quickly--they had a whole assembly line setup thing going. But then we got to ride another cab back to work.

Taxis in this country are quite an interesting experience. This one being moreso than most so far. Ignoring signs, driving on the wrong side of the road, it was quite an exciting ride. Similar to being on a roller-coaster, but not having the security of knowing that there are safety inspectors making sure the car isn't going to go careening off the track.

We did manage to stay on the road, though, so maybe there are safety inspectors after all.

We also got to continue with the saga of the stolen credit cards, as it's apparently very difficult to pay off a canceled credit card if you're nowhere you can really get a paper bill in a reasonable time-frame. Oh well, her cards can only be stolen once before we don't have them any more. Now we just have to get her a new license.

Then for the rest of the week we've been dealing with the lovely news that the rest of the stuff we shipped may be delayed, or may require paperwork we don't have, or may not be able to completely make it through customs. Some of it may be confiscated, or it may all be sent back.

So it's been quite an interesting week. But work's going well, and we've found a few good places to eat so I don't have to live on rice and noodles for the rest of the year. I don't care that one of them does happen to be Pizza Hut. I just avoid the fish pizzas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

New Desk

Yay, I have a nice desk at work now. And I didn't even have to fight for it, I just had to ask nicely. So now I get to sit by the window and get a nice view of the city. Or yesterday, of the very large amounts of rain blowing in a very large variety of very interesting directions. Somehow none of those directions seemed to be 'down'.

The wind was pretty amazing, and the howling past my window made my day that much better. But even without the nice window view and quiet work area, I think I'd still be pretty happy here. The environment is much smaller and closer than I'm used to, but it's also somehow much less crowded. I'm a very big fan of less crowded. We'll see how long that manages to keep up.

It rained on us all day yesterday. But I didn't melt or anything, even after we ended up heading the wrong direction for a couple blocks after getting off of the subway. A couple of blocks wouldn't seem too bad, but our walk from the subway was supposed to only be a couple of blocks anyway. And it was raining. A lot. Still.

It's better today. But still cloudy. At least we know how to use the subway. Or today, maybe I'll manage to just walk home.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lighter Load

It's been quite an interesting and busy week. Lots to do, and it's nice to have a holiday to do a bunch of it. We've moved into our new apartment, although we don't yet have all of our stuff delivered. Our place is fairly nice and large, and has a nice view of the city.

Tuesday brought us to the aquarium--quite an adventure, taking the subway in Shanghai. Getting on and transfered wasn't a problem, but you have to swipe your card again when you leave the subway. And for some reason it didn't like mine. I'm not sure why, or what went on. I just know the people that apparently were working there tried swiping it themselves, but then gave up and brought it to the desk, having them swipe it for me. They tried a couple of times, shrugged, and waved me through.

The aquarium itself was pretty nice. They had a lot of underwater viewing with a really, really long underwater tunnel. The only downsides to the aquarium were that it was so crowded, and that it was set up much too linearly, so you had to view the exhibits in the order they set, and had to view them all. No fair picking a favorite one and just going to see it.

Wednesday then we relaxed for much of the day, before heading out to see fireworks in the evening. A great dinner followed by borrowing someone's apartment balcony to get a similar view, comfortable seating, free drinks, and no cost compared to the people that had to pay in the park. And it was quite a long fireworks show, lasting about an hour. And I thought the four song show in Mountain View was long this year.

Thursday we again got to relax... for a couple of hours. Out for lunch, and then down to visit some of my wife's family all afternoon, and out to dinner with them in the evening. I still think it's quite interesting having meals with people that I still can't talk to. I'm trying to learn Chinese, but don't have much yet.

But that brings us to today. I used some Chinese for the first time, after ordering ice cream for myself (at McDonalds)--I gave exact change for ice cream at the ice cream window, so it was obvious what I wanted. That was the easy part. But I managed to thank her in Chinese. I'm proud of myself, and managed to make my wife laugh. It was good to get her laughing. We'd gone shopping earlier today, and as we were looking at puzzles, she realized that someone had stolen her wallet.

It takes quite a while to call credit card companies to get cards canceled. But at least with the time zone difference, there isn't particularly much of a wait. I suppose either thieves in the states need to sleep too, or at least their victims are still asleep at the time.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

China: Arrival

We made it safely to China. I woke up at 7:30am on Saturday and didn't get to sleep until about 9:00pm Sunday night. Seems like a long time to be awake. Perhaps that explains why I felt so very, very tired for the whole evening.

The plane ride wasn't too bad. Got a bit bumpy a couple of times, and contrary to what the announcement on the airplane said, we did not get to see either "Superman 3" or "Rise of the Fabulous Four", instead being shown "Spiderman 3" and the second Fantastic Four movie. And here I was really hoping to see "Rise of the Fabulous Four", so I could see what it was about. Although I was somewhat afraid it was going to be a shopping move. That would have been fabulous. Really.

After four movies (also watching Fracture and Ocean's Thirteen instead of the stated Surf's Up!) and much too long in-flight, we landed, missed our exit, and drove around an obstacle course of pedestrians for a couple hours.

I'm so glad I don't have to do any driving here.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Today's the day, we're leaving for our flight in a couple of hours. It's been quite a bit of work making sure that everything's ready to go. We've done quite a bit of shopping in the last week--too much for my tastes, but getting a new game makes me happy, and things like shampoo may come in fairly handy, so we've got it done.

Getting to this point already has been an adventure, with passports and moving and a wedding and honeymoon. But now, here we are, and it's about time for this new adventure to begin. We're quite excited to be going, although I can't say that I'm particlarly looking forward to this airplane ride. Oh well, at least part of my shopping got me some puzzle books, and I've always got reading material. We'll see if I end up regretting not getting a portable DVD player--battery life on those simply didn't seem significant enough to merit the cost and effort.

I've entertained myself with pencil and paper for years. One more day, I should be able to manage. And if not, I can always just keep asking "are we there yet?"