Saturday, March 12, 2011

McTucky Fried Chicken and our new places.

If you know anything about me, it's that I love getting up after staying up late. Last night was no exception. I stayed awake for the ACC Tournament which started at 1am our time and ended around 3:15 in the am. It was totally worth it, watching Carolina pull off the greatest postseason comeback in our storied history. With Harrison gone to the north this weekend, my even more unbridled yelling during games was heightened that much more. So for the first 30 minutes of the game there was a lot of new vocabulary I'm sure my neighbors two floors above me learned in English. The last ten minutes were, if you watched it, incredible, as we turned it on and left all the Miami players we didn't recruit from North Carolina laying on the floor in the fetal position.

So after the game, a couple phone calls to my brother Matt and another couple failed explanatory YouTube videos sent between us later, its 4am and I send a text to Jarred telling him I'm not gonna be able to meet up with him to go look for new apartments the next morning.

But somehow, I can't sleep past 8:30 am (like every day now...) and end up meeting he, Shelley and Lindsey over at the massive (and empty) apartment complexes that are near the schools we all frequent on a daily basis.

Where we live now is about 5-7km away from where we do work, take class, and meet Chinese students. It's a pain to have to ride our scooters 20 minutes each way every day, not to mention the danger involved with poorly made Chinese trucks, our low powered scooters, u
nfinished roads and of course, the water trucks that spray the roads daily to the tune of "It's a Small World." We plan to move next to campus sometime in the summer, which means we have to start now so that we can have landlords BEGIN work on the insides.

I wish I had some pictures, but there are about 30-50 buildings (my guessing skills arent good so that's why I gave a large range...) in the middle of nowhere, each about 25 stories tall. Each school in the University City is no more than a 5 minute scooter ride away, with some in walking distance. No one really lives there yet, but there is lots of construction and people finishing the insides of places. Most rooms are still just concrete shells, often with standing water in the bathrooms. All of them have non-sensical designs for power outlets and plumbing stuff. And normally are accompanied by a nervous landlord, eager to make us foreigners think that they know what they're doing.

My three friends showed me 3 different places and told me all the advantages of each place. I had no idea and would've maybe thought about 10% of the stuff they mentioned on m
y own. I think I'm gonna get a place next to Jarred and Shelley's so that we can make a zipline that attaches to each of our balconies. They are really long balconies, so I think my top priority is being able to glide over, Flight of the Gibbon style to the Jungs to play cornhole 15 stories up in the air.
After about 3 hours of looking, considering new things, looking some more, texting to pass the time, looking at more concrete shells, and thinking about how to actually construct a zipline, hunger overtook us and we went down to the only restaurant that looked like it was really open for service, DangMaiJi.

DangMaiJi is a bootleg restaurant. Like most things in China, there aren't many copyright laws. So what they did was fuse McDonald's (called MaiDangLao) and KFC (called KenDeJi) in an unholy marriage of illegal fast food. Sometimes (like in GuiYang) there are bootlegs of places that aren't even popular among foreigners. Dico's, a KFC knockoff, was copied and became VBico's, possibly because the marketing expert couldn't type in English or had Tourrette's.

But by 3:30pm, lunch at DangMaiJi sounded pretty good, so we got some "Mexican" wraps, made with sweet and sour sauce, chicken wings, fries and Pepsi and ended our day of apartment hunting. We raved on and on about how glad we were that it was there near our soon-to-be new places, often mentioning the low prices (13RMB or about 2 dollars for a combo meal). The menu was 4 times larger than a normal Mickey D's in the states, including things like Shrimp Burgers, chicken on a stick, soft serve ice cream, egg custard, Cornish Game Hens (next Thanksgiving? Only 18RMB a piece...), and of course, jelly drinks.

Overall, it was a pretty good Saturday. And a nice look into the future here at the University City.