Jonny took part of the day off yesterday and we left the kids with our Ayi, Xiou Yang for a few hours while we did a little exploring. I have done little exploring since we have arrived. I figure I will be here for a couple years, so I will take my time and needed some rest from my crazy life back in AZ.
We decided to head over to a bookstore that had English books. We were hoping to find a Mandarin phrase book written in the Roman alphabet versus Chinese characters. (One thing I didn't even think of before we moved: Not only will there be a language barrier, I won't be able to read anything.) After having no success except find most of the classics written in English, we decided to hit another bookstore later. Boy, do I miss Changing Hands!
We dropped by a place that specializes in bus tours and different types of classes like Maj Jong and Sichuan cooking classes. I definitely am going to try the cooking class! I am also going to have a go at maj jong as I have wanted to play for years! A lady from the International Woman's Club has offered to teach me for free!
After a little bit of exploring I took Jonny to this very nice restaurant called Del Mar Mediterranean Restaurant. It has a great menu, mostly Italian and the food was fabulous. I had risotto and Jonny had their chicken. We did start with a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad with pesto, but fresh was not what the mozzarella was. It was like regular mozzarella cut in circles like you would see on a caprese salad or sandwich. I guess I was hoping for Pane Bianco type mozzarella...oh well you can dream or I can have my friend Kelly eat an extra mozarella sandwich for me!
We went back to the hotel and picked up the kids to do a little more exploring. We found another book shop that had English books and Jonny was able to find an English-Mandarin dictionary. We went to another supermarket across town that was recommended to me by a French couple who have recently relocated here from Paris. Auchan is a French supermarket with quite a few Western type foods along with the local live seafood, fish, and turtles! It was an absolute zoo! I have never seen so many people in a supermarket at one time! The funny thing is only about half of them appeared to be shopping. It was like going to the supermarket was a day out. Gemma was pretty happy because she was able to get a kiddie cart. We tried to make it through the place, but the kids were getting droopy and there were just too many people.
We headed to dinner at our favorite Western restaurant Peter's Tex-Mex Grill and had dinner. While we were sitting waiting for our dinner hoards of Caucasian people started to show up. It was amazing! I haven't seen so many westerners since we arrived and it seemed like everyone was showing up at Peters. I saw a woman who I had met at Starbuck's and she said they were having their ice hockey kick-off party. Ice hockey in China, fabulous! I exchanged phone numbers with the woman and we are going to get together for coffee sometime. I have to tell you, it is so nice to see people who are similar to you even if you don't know them. There is just some kind of comfort in it. I think we will be alright here.
Today we are heading out for another date day. We are going for our first massage! Whoopee!!!!