Monday, August 23, 2010

Hurrah, a zixing che! 自行车

Yesterday all the stars were aligned. After an 8am (!) soccer rally between mom (that would be me) and Simon -- with Thomas as the flying Dutchmen all across the field --, and a 9-11 am soccer game for Paul, we all went to downtown for a good noodle lunch at a nice hip place called the Noodle Loft. Noodle dough was flying through the kitchen, and the chefs spun, twirled, stretched and twisted an seemingly endless supply of noodles. Long green noodles... noodles made with one chop stick... pasta-like noodles... All the noodles flew straight into the boiling water and minutes later arrived on your plate. You could order a bunch of different types of plain noodles, separately order little bowls of sauce, and then at your table mix and match with them as you pleased. Yummmm! (Or, as the Chinese see: Haochi 好吃, Good Eat!)

But that was not all. After lunch we strolled a bit through the streets in the CBD (Central Business District) area, which is also close to Paul's work. And there we stumbled on a huge outdoor and indoor market, with more kitchen utensils you care to see, as well as meat, fish, spices, door mats, you name it.... and... bikes!

So I got my first Chinese bike (A zixing che, 自行车, which in my feeble brain with still little Chinese appears as a "self OK vehicle", meaning you can move it by yourself (zi 自). Of course my white bike from the U.S. is coming soon in the sea container (arrival date still unknown), but this new bike with a seat in the back and a basket in the front is much better for small shopping trips. Yeah! Paul of course had the dubious honor to bike home with the bike, while the boys and I took a cab. But Paul, being Paul, drastically put the zi (自) in 自行车 to work and --believe it or not -- only arrived about 10 minutes after the taxi had dropped us off.

At home, Thomas and I immediately went on a bike trip to go get some batteries for his new toy: a Chinese "stop" sign with a red light in it. I am sure that you are not interested in knowing that after a big loop around the hood and to the super market, I ended up buying the right battery in our very own neighborhood store. Oh well.

As you can probably tell: I am now (again) a very happy camper who finally can expand her action radius beyond the daily walks to the bus stop. I remember very well my first bike in the U.S., and remember having the same sense of freedom that comes with having a bike. (I also remember my first bike ride in Holland, but that is a more painful experience - open knees and all....).

Time for bed now, but I'll promise to stop back for a few quick post between trips on my new ride!

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