29 April, 2011

A Post That's Not About the Birds...But Does Include a Bird...Sort Of...

Do you ever have one of those moments where you look around and feel like you have stopped on the side of the highway of life and everyone else is flying past you in a shiny new car?  Oh no?  Me neither...

I had one of those moments earlier this week, and Scott and I agreed that I could have 24 hours to wallow ("it's like quicksand," I tried to explain to him, "you have to just be still. if you try to force yourself out of it you'll drown.").  It turns out I needed just about exactly 24 hours.  My rescue came in the form of 3 guys from China - ok, 2 from Hong Kong and 1 from Shanghai - and a strange and fun lunch.

There's a whole van full of the guys in town this week, taking a class from the training manager in my building (whose only connection to me and my job is a shared boss - it's a weird department!).  (guys, I WISH I could spill all about the class...and the classroom... it's so cool I wish I'd studied engineering or electronics or something in school. dang!)  The training manager invited me out to lunch "with the Hong Kong guys," and I figured I might as well go, if for no other reason than to pick on the baby-faced naive intern.  (Fridays are traditionally "Poke the Intern Day," but I had today off)

So I ended up at lunch at a table with the manager, the intern, and 3 guys from the other side of the planet.  The conversation ranged from their love of barbeque and Mexican food to geography and population density.  You know, just your average smalltalk!  Some highlights:

  • In Hong Kong, they use bamboo scaffolding when building high-rise buildings.  25 stories tall!  And there's no OSHA requirements for fall protection harnesses either!
  • The Hong Kong $10 bill isn't paper. It's paper-thin plastic that's sturdier than your average shopping bag, and it has a see-through spot on it.  The other bills are paper.
  • These guys must have learned their English from The Wizard of Oz.  Our conversation about the terrible storms north of us included the word "twisters."
  • China is shaped like a cock. (see the title of this post - I always get there eventually!)  The guy who currently lives in Shanghai was originally from Shandong Province. We asked where that was and he said "China is shaped like a cock. Shandong is in the chest of the cock."  I, thank the Lord, did NOT say "so is Florida!"  And also?  I couldn't remember the name of the province just now, only that it started with S, so I pulled up this map and was able to find it based on his description.  What do you know?!?
  • China has a desert. (this might be the part where I got to be the stereotypical ignorant American.  "there's desert in China?") Apparently it's up near Russia.
  • China has 31 provinces, and has 5 stars on its flag.  This came up because they said that they heard most Americans traveling abroad didn't know how many stars are on the US flag.
Anyway, it was great fun.  I left lunch with foreign money in my pocket (about $2 US) and had forgotten that I was sad.  I thought as a thank-you for the free money that I'd make some cookies for my new friends.  When I asked, one told me that he thinks chocolate chip cookies are too sweet, and I checked to see if they were ok with raisins and decided to make oatmeal-raisin cookies for them.  I dropped those off this afternoon.  I hope they liked 'em...

Also of possible interest to some of you, the 5-year pin from HKDL is the same as the domestic parks, but the opening team pin (they got them for the 5th anniversary celebration this year or last) and the nametag were very new and different to me.  Very cool!

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