Sunday. December 6, 2009.  Got up feeling sluggish from the greasy duck I ate last night. Hopefully a walk in the cool air will revive me.

On my way back from Starbucks this afternoon I met a Canadian man. His name is Roger and it turns out he lives in my neighborhood. We are about 8 blocks apart. I’m surprised we hadn’t run into each other before. We traded email addresses and said we’d meet for dinner one night. Don’t know if that will ever happen.

Monday. December 7, 2009. It was 66 and cloudy this morning. Great sleeping weather, and if the sun comes out, it will be a great afternoon.

LATER

The sun didn’t come out. Instead it started raining. Fortunately I have gotten in the habit of always carrying an umbrella in my bag. It rained off and on all day. I bought some fruit and veggie filled pancakes on my way home then settled in for the evening.

Here are some pics of what has become my favorite café. The food is good, but the main reason I like it is the large tiled sidewalk on two of its sides. One side is on a very busy street. Great for people watching. The picture in the center below is of my waitress at 16:00. I was the only customer in the place.

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Tuesday. December 8, 2009. More of the same weather. Cloudy and cool with intermittent drizzles.

After chess I stopped by my barbecue place on the way home. Ordered 2 chicken legs and 3 skewers of mutton. As always, I pointed to the picture on the menu and held up the number of fingers that I wanted of each item. I have done it that way dozens of times. Tonight they brought me 15 skewers of mutton. I protested, but quickly gave in because of language difficulties. I am sure the error was theirs because I could not possibly hold up 15 fingers. 15 skewers might sound like a lot, but it isn’t. I would guess it was less than 3 ounces total. I ate 6 or 8 of them and gave the rest to a beggar who came through the parking lot. The 15 skewers cost a total of 15 Yuan (about $2.15 USD).

Wednesday. December 9, 2009. Nice day. Cloudy and a little cool.

There was an article in the paper today that said the rain yesterday was caused by cloud seeding.

I had dinner in a little café about 5 blocks from my house. I had stopped there before and looked at the menu, but it was all in Chinese and only had a handful of pictures. Since I am trying to try new places, I decided to take a chance. I went in and sat down. It was a nice place with about 6 or 8 tables, a rack of magazines and newspapers for customers to read, and a nice view of the sidewalk.

I pointed to the picture of steamed dumplings on the menu. The waiter pointed to 2 columns of Chinese characters, one was marked 12 at the top, the other was marked 15. I guess the columns listed the types of fillings for the dumplings. I pointed to the top item in the 12 column, thinking it might be first because it was the most popular. I Also ordered a bottle of beer.

The dumplings turned out to have some sort of fish and veggie filling. I didn’t like them very much, and only ate about half of the dozen they served me. When I went to pay, the bill was 30 Yuan (about $4.25 USD). Of course it wasn’t broken down, so I have no idea what cost what. And no one spoke English. So I paid and left. I won’t go back there again.

This is the little street where the café is located. It is on the right with the blue sign. The street is too quiet for good people watching.

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Thursday. December 10, 2009. The weather remains the same. Cloudy and cool, but not uncomfortably cool.

This afternoon I went to a store called Ole to get a sub sandwich like the one someone gave me a few days ago. It was in a shopping mall that I had passed numerous times, but never entered. It turned out to be a very high-end mall with all the big name store, like Armani, Cartier, LV, Rolex, etc. It even had an ice skating rink. The place was decorated for Christmas, but there were few people shopping. Maybe because it was 15:30 in the afternoon. I walked about an hour before going for my sandwich.

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I had no interest in eating a Wang Steak.

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They had a little exhibit of photos of Shenzhen from the early 1980s. This is a picture of a picture of Shenzhen in 1982.

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Ole was an interesting place. It was fairly large for a specialty food store. I noticed a huge wine department with several thousand different brands. They even had $2000.++ bottles of saké. But by this time I had to use the bathroom, so I bought my sandwich and caught the bus home. I will go back to Ole soon and explore it more thoroughly.

I had my sub for dinner. It was ham and roast beef. It was very good.

Friday. December 11, 2009. They don’t have Daylight Saving Time here, so it is still pitch black at 06:00 when I get up.

Someone told me today that the Shenzhen Daily is owned by the government. That makes some of the stories I read in it make sense. Not logically, but it tells me why they were run.

I forgot to mention that the reason I went to the mall yesterday, in addition to getting the sub sandwich, was I have been invited to dinner in the same neighborhood tonight. Since getting around is such a pain, I thought I would try to find the restaurant ahead of time so it wouldn’t be a problem tonight.

My friend Mike threw the party. It was in a private room on the fourth floor of the restaurant. These are the fish and shell fish tanks outside the restaurant.

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I didn’t realize it, but it was Mike’s birthday. I didn’t bring him a gift, though others did. There were three large round tables in the room. I guess there were 30 or so people in attendance. The food was great. Here are some pics from the party.

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After dinner 5 of us piled into a cab and went to hear Ace Disgrace and his band at a little club in a basement.

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After Ace’s set I got a taxi home. It was about 02:00 when I fell into bed. A very nice day.

Saturday. December 12, 2009. I slept until almost 08:00, then I took a walk in the park. It was sunny and very comfortable. I realize I need to take advantage of this nice weather while it lasts.

Played chess at La Casa this afternoon. Came home early. My barbecue place had not opened, so I got a couple of veggie filled pancakes at the market, then went home for the evening.

The Goodyear blimp flew over this evening. I have no idea why it is here. There must be something going on, but I don’t know what.

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Badminton is very popular here. They never use a net, they just hit the birdie back and forth.

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