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August 26th 2009
Published: August 26th 2009
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Today is my second full day in China, yay! I had a real Chinese breakfast this morning: noodles and fried rice with warm water. They have water coolers here, except the two temperatures are Hot and Lukewarm. I'm so glad to have had the prior knowledge of snacks to bring. I could honestly live off of trail mix and goldfish for a week, but I think the balance of snack and Chinese food is helping my stomach to adjust.

Yesterday, Christian took me on a tour of the town (because Kunshan, though a population of 1 million, is considered a "town") and I got to see a bunch of really awesome architecture and landmarks. I didn't take my camera because we were on an electric scooter. Apparently, the most convenient travel is by scooter, so that will be a not-to-distant purchase. I may get to see my apartment today, maybe move in if I'm lucky. They said I can do anything i'd like, except for tear down walls. So I think redecoration may be in my future.

There's a Tesco here; how awesome is that? I'm thinking about walking there today, though I have no idea how far away it really is. I purchased a couple of movies and tv series from a shop in town for about a dollar a piece (about 7-yuan). So far, the quality has been excellent. The boys really want me to get a xbox 360 so we can all game together on a network. I'm not sure if that's an investment I'm willing to make yet. It's about $10-20 above the US price, so we'll see. Plus most of the games I like are in Japanese. The main benefit would be to a) socalize and b) play guitar hero. Right now, the money outweighs the positives, but we'll see in a month or so.

So, the "time off" in my contract (by government regulation) is subject to school holidays. The first is an 8 day break in October. Every school holiday involves massive congestion (with the exception of out-of-country travel), so travelling may not be as easy as I'd hoped. The good news is that Suzhou, Nanjing, and Shanghai are all super close. Shanghai is only 18 minutes by train, 30 by shuttle bus. Shanghai is THE western connection/hub for China. If anyone says they've been to China and you find out it was only to Shanghai, they have not truly been to China.

Yesterday for lunch/dinner, I had duck. It was like duck bacon. It was really strange, but so very tasty. It wasn't greasy, just crispy, but still meaty. There are some industrial factories and rural farms nearby. I'm not sure on my directional orientation, but to the right a ways from the hotel there are two factories. If you go straight in front or behind the hotel there are some farms; the ones behind (which are closest to inner Kunshan) are relatively small, and the others are a bit larger. I'm really enjoying the amount of water (rivers and streams) that Kunshan has.

All of the buildings around the hotel and school have been built in the last three years or so. When Christian arrived, he recalls a much more rural scene. The expansion in Kunshan is remarkable and most of the people here are very friendly. I'm very lucky to have this down-time and I'm really looking forward to moving in!


27th August 2009

Population Update
There are about 1.5-1.6 million people in Kunshan.

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