The exchange rate was bad enough to figure out when we were in the States, and now it is even more difficult because it’s in a different language. I know money is money and numbers are numbers and it is quite easy when it’s divided by 5 (not 1.3, or whatever it was when we were there). But this is difficult. Seems so easy when you are in elementary school learning the times tables and it’s only 5s and zeros but there is a lot of thinking to do whenever we get a drink, eat out, or like me today, go clothes shopping. Although the biggest shock was when we looked at a ball gown last weekend (we have a fancy ball next month and yes I do need a ball gown) and the dress was 5,000 Yuan, well it was more like 4,796.00 which didn’t make sense to me but Joel informed me it was $1,000. We were offered a discount which was about 5% but as if I was going to fit into there one dress sitting on the rack (another fun problem I am going to have here I think). When shopping for food or clothes I spend an extra 15 minutes in each shop working out the exchange rate. I have to figure out if it’s reasonable to spend $6 on goldfish crackers or $3 on a Redhook beer. We also learned that produce is per 500 grams, not per kg. Not that it matters, I just buy the produce I need.
I’ve done really well getting to and from the few supermarkets nearby. Challenges, however, include having to get the fruit and veg weighed after you pick it out (and are force to put it into plastic bags, which I hate). We made that mistake the first time, and last time I brought my lemons to get weighed and apparently they were priced per lemon. Silly Westerner. Can’t read Chinese. So I made it through the grocery shopping pretty smoothly. Getting all my supplies for normal cooking is tough but I will persevere and have my old kitchen again.
After my full day out yesterday I figured I could hole myself up in the apartment and watch Netflix all day, that, however, did not work out so well and I was out and about my 1030. I decided that I needed to add to my wardrobe (patterns, of course) and there is an H&M in the nearby mall. This was actually more straight forward then I expected so it was a success. Not very exciting, and neither was the trip to the grocery store (other than the extra 15 minutes deciphering prices). I managed to snap a few pics of the prices because it’s pretty amazing how much the basics (in the US) are here.
Today was also the first day of terrible air quality. I walked outside for all of 4 minutes to go from one building to another and I was huffing and puffing the whole time. It is grey and gross and hazy out there and it finally feels like China. But I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It made staying indoors a lot more enticing. We’ll see how much the grey haze keeps me indoors tomorrow.