Although it is very cold, part of our house during part of the day is warm without turning on the heater. The sun shines through our living room windows. Sometimes I even feel hot by standing by the windows.
I tried the Chinese medicine 鼻通丸 & 金蓮花膠囊 . They relieved my pains a lot. Now I am still coughing and my nose is not completely clear yet, but at least I could breathe. And I can feel my coughing is better now.
I picked the medicine myself. I tried to ask the counter service assistant, but they did not give me the right medicine for my symptons. However they did a good job in helping me finding what I needs.
I did a lot of research in Chinese medicine since in Taiwan, because Winston's allergy bothered me a lot. So I know what to pick for nose, lung and throat. Even for coughing, at least three types of Chinese medicine need to be dinstinguished: cough with or without sputum, cough caused by cold or not. Many times coughing is caused by allergic noses. If you want to get rid of coughing, according to Chinese medicine, you need to cure nose problem at the same time.
The follwoing was prescribed by Dr. Me:
鼻通丸成分: 蒼耳子、辛夷、百芷、鵝不食草、薄荷、黃岑、甘草、蜂蜜 (風寒、熱寒皆宜)
金蓮花 消炎抗菌 乾咳 for throat.
I know I am risking my health by trying the medicines. But who can say the Western prscribed medicine would not hurt our health. As for the side-effects, I have more confident in Chinese medicine.
My nose just bothered me a lot in this weather. I checked the internet for some tips to reduce my discomfort and tried to wash my nose with salty warm water. It did help a bit but half hour later, the symptons all came back again. I would risk my nose to buy some Chinese medicine in the local stores soon. Becase my nose really gave me headaches.
I joined Winston's school trip to Tian-Pin Mountain. The mountain was not very high but got everything a mountain should have. Not many kids and parents climbed to the top but Winston and I did. The view was great. We sweated but the air felt cold. It was like sweating in a big refrigerator. As for the views, just look at the photos.
Tree leaves did not change color completely yet. Maybe visit here again next week.
I took a bus to Guang-Qian Street again. I wanted to find a winter vest for Winston and one pair of boots for myself. I thought it maybe easier to find what I need in the department store so I got in Mei-Ro. I felt my outfit did not match the aura of the store, but who cared so I walked in. Some discounts were offered $150 off every $400. I looked around and checked prices of some items. Oh no, most items cost more than $1,000RMB. Compared with the merchandises on the vendor on the same street, the prices in the department store was 10 times higher. But I really could not find kid's vest everywhere so I still wanted to find it here. So I went to the kids floor. The prices of kid's clothes varied from $300 to $2,000 RMB. I still could not get my money out for this price. I thought I would never visit this place again so I felt I need to buy one thing as a souvenir. I went to kids' shoes. The prices were around $398 to $2,000, still high. Then I saw one pair of boots on special sale-過期+零碼出清, after the discount it was $149, sounded reasonable. I also bought a pair of boots on the second floor for myself. Oh! I guess I forgot the price. The style and the quality of the goods in the department store were great. If not for the prices, it was very easy to find and buy things. I Wonder where were all the wealthy customers from? How could they spent so much? The average workers' wages are just around $1,200. And one kid's boots could cost them a monthly wage. Cheap labor plus Low cost of materials should equal to a low priced product. If not, that means someone in between deprives all the profits. And the gap between the rich and poor would never get closer. So, the rich will always shop in Mei-Ro, and the poor can only shop around the vendors. Then what am I on earth? When I shop in the department stores, I feel mysef poor. When I shop around the vendors, I feel myself rich.We must be one of the middles.
After I walked out of the department store, I shopped in the stores on the street. And everything seemed to be a good bargain. So I spent some money. I could not remember what I just bought.
Next time, if you just get out of the department store, don't shop on the street vendors or stores. Go straight home.
I don't know when it started. I found we woke up earlier than the sun. We can see sunrise everyday from home. It was very difficult for me to do so in Taiwan where whenever we woke up the sun was hot already. Richy said the day was much shorter here in winter. The cold flow will come tomorrow. Temperature will be down to 5 degree. Winston's school will have a field trip to Tai-Ping Mountain this Friday. We won't miss the cold and fun.
Although not as famous as Guang-Qian Street (觀前街), Shi-Lu was very much the same like Guang-Qian Street. Except that, the food vendors were gathered in a designated area in Shi-Lu, while they were scattered in Quang-Qian. We roughly walked over the street and shopped around the stores. We did not buy any things because everything was more expensive in this area and we did not find anything attractive to spend our money. We walked into the dinning street (美食街). There were many small vendors and restaurants, and the prices were very local. $3 RMB could get you a bowl of hot soup noodles. But we dare not try them. Winston kept saying hungry again and Richy wanted to take a picture of the BBQ vendors. So, I used what I learned from my past experiences to examine the vendors, and finally found a vendor selling BBQ just baked and stilling baking. The vendor showed the raw meat sticks on the side and it convinced me to buy from it. I also found a vendor selling fresh fruit candy stick. We could not help but buy some to taste. The BBQ lamb meat was OK but at least still warm. The fruit candy tasted great.
I need to take some stomach aid medicine. I had been eating vendor food these two days.
For eating, Shi-Lu is better. For shopping, Guan-Qian is better.
I could not believe my eyes. Today we wanted to show Richy how to take the bus in Su-Zhou, so we decided to visit the Shi-Lu (石路) business district. The bus was crowded, so we walked toward the exit door one stop earlier and waited for our stop to get off. I had to hold the hanger on my top and watched Winston holding the bar beside the door, so my head kept turning. Then I saw a greedy hand moving quietly in one lady's bag. The bag had a clean cut. It must be cut by a sharp knife. I could not believe my eyes and watched it more time. It was real. And I moved my eyes to the greedy hand's owner. Fortunately, he did not look at me, nor did he look at the bag. He stood behind two people and only one hand sneaked to the bag. One of the two people in front of him seemed to be with him. He looked at me and I looked back to him. I could not stand watching someone being rubbed without telling her, so I moved my head closer to the lady and told her: your bag. She did not feel it. Then the bus stopped on the red light, and everyone moved a bit. I saw the hand still crawling inside the bag. He must did not get any thing precious yet. The other man still looked at me. Why did he not try to warn the lady beside him? He saw the hand. The hand was just beside his chest. He must be with the pocket picker. I tried to tell the lady again: your bag, someone is stealing things from your bag. She realized it and moved her bag to her chest. The thief took back his hand slowly and pretended nothing happened. The lady did not scream. And I did not know I should scream or not. The bus stopped and it was our turn to get off the bus. The pocket picker got off the bus, too. Richy still did not know what happened. I graped Winston's hands tightly and walked as fast as I could. I was afraid that the thief would show his knife and revenge. But he walked back to the bus stop and very soon got on another crowded bus to find his next target. What a scary bus trip. It was my second bus trip and I felt like experiencing a thrill movie.
After I was sure of our safety, I told Winston and Richy what just happened. Winston kept asking me what the pocket-picker looked like, why he stole, why he cut other's bag, why the lady did not find out, how ..... I regretted telling him the story already.
Richy did not comment much because he was too dizzy after the bus trip. He told us to be more careful next time. How could he be so calm for my story?
Winston and I took a bus trip to the city Saturday. We wanted to learn how to go around by bus. We took bus 68 to Guan-Qian Street (觀前街), one of the hotest spot in the city. The bus shift was very frequent, about every 10 minutes. It only cost $1 RMB every one-way trip and no charge for Winston. It was our first bus trip in China. We were very excited and curious about what we saw on the way. When we got off the bus, we followed our instinct of direction and the crowd and finally arrived the street. All kinds of stores on the way, it was a big shopping district. Winston wanted to eat McDonald here. It was the only place we knew having McDonad in Su-Zhou. The food in China's McDonald was saltier and spicier but still tasty. We bought some winter hats from the vendors. The prices were cheaper than the ones in supermarket, and the quality was better, but of course not as good as the ones in the department stores. In China, you can finds things very cheap and things very expensive with various quality. And sometimes the prices may not match the quality. Winston kept telling me he was still hungry. I knew he could not resist the temptation of food on the vendors. We bought some BBQ sticks and squids. I reminded the vendor that I wanted something completely cooked and less sauce on the meat. She heard me and kept turning the BBQ sticks on the rack and finally gave my order to me. Winston and I brought the meat to the park nearby and ate. You would not believe this, the meat were cold. That meaned the vendor was playing tricks to cheat. She wanted to save gas and carbon, so she only turned the BBQ sticks around and pretended the the meat was just cooked. Actually, the squids were boiled and the BBQ meat was fried and they were both cold when we bought them. Why I knew it? When I tried the squids I knew how they were cooked. And when I passed by another vendor, I saw vendors frying meat in the pot. Now I doubt I ate mice meat. I always tried to give myself and the local resturant or food providers a chance, but I always failed.
Richy had a business trip to Hwa-Nan the past two days. He was supposed to come home last night around 12:00 but the flight was delayed and he came home around 2:00am. It was interesting to hear what he said about the delay. He said three flights before his flight were postponed and accumulated to be one "full" flight. The airline company wanted to save money and cheated to make three flights in one. They told passengers there was technical problems in the airplane. The passengers in the airport were mad and the airline company keep distributing food and drinks to calm down the crowd. First, water, then, drinks, and cookies, after the crowd got madder, they provided canned porridge. There has been bad reputation about China's domestic airlines putting several flights passengers into one to save money. So most passengers would not believe what the airline company told them.
Passenger A: Was there really a technical problem in the airplane? I don't dare to take this plane. I am so worried.
Passenger B: It can't be. They let us get on the airplane that meaned the plane it OK, they asked us to get off because of lack of passengers. If there was really a problem, and if they missed the problem after we were on the airplane and the plane took off then we would all die.
An interesting convesation.
I had one experience to get on an airplane and wait for two hours before taking off because of technical problems. I also had one experience to have a delayed flight because of bad weather. The airline company arranged a room in Sheraton hotel for me with buffet dinner and I enjoyed the treat a lot. International flights are expensive but the service is better.
The two fruits for the season are great. But according to Chinese medical advice, Winston and I should not eat tangerines. The later is juicy but tastes so cold in this weather. If not for the economic recession, we would have turned on our heater every day and enjoy our juicy "cold" persimmons at home. Richy told us to cost down in every aspect of our daily life. I think we can start with taking shower once a week. I can be very cooperative on this because it was so cold. Winston would love it because he's never liked showers even in summer. The economy really matters, everyone we asked hasn't started using their heaters yet. The only places I feel warm are the public areas such as offices, shopping centers, and supermarkets. Every one is saving for the colder weather ahead.
Gingo nuts are one of the famous local farm products in Su-Zhou. They are expensive in Taiwan, but very low price here. Fall is the season for Gingo. I checked the info about Gingo leaves and root. It seems that the most valuable part of Gingo trees is on the leaves. But don't eat them raw. I heard that raw gingo nuts and leaves are poisonous. Friends told us how to eat Gingo nuts. We take 10 gingo nuts per person each time.
Here are the easy steps:
1. Put gingo nuts in a paper bag to pop in the microwave for 1 minute, or until you hear some poping noises.
2. Open the shells with hands or teeth.
3. Eat them up. The price: $0.98~$10/kg, depending on the supply.
Other useful info:
银杏葉萃取物 Gingo Leaf extract Physiological functions 1. Improvement of hypoxic tolerance in cerebral tissue. 使血管擴張，促進動脈血液循環 2. Reduction of retinal edema and lesions. 降低視網膜腫脹,紅斑性狼瘡 3. Increased memory performance and learning capacity. 增強記憶力 學習力 4. Improvement of microcirculation. 促進微循環 5. Improvement of the blood rheological properties. 改善血液流變性質，能活化血小板功能，使 血液不會凝結成塊 6. Inactivation of toxic oxygen radicals. 抗氧化作用 7. Neuroprotective effect 認知能力、意智清醒度強
Monday was a sport day in Winston's school. Parents were told to join the event. It was fun to watch kids having fun. Winston kept telling me he liked the sport day. They gave every kid a "paper" gold medal in the end. Every one including me enjoyed the fun, except that it was so cold that my finger tops and toes felt icy cold and a bit painful. The sport activities only lasted for half day. I took Winston home for the afternoon. It was optional to take kids home or let them stay in the school after the sport event. Since Winston chose to come home with me, we went home together.
It was cold now. The indoor and outdoor temperature was about 16 and 10 degree C. Winston and I stayed home after school. We used to go downstair to the garden to skate or play and run, but in this cold weather, we could only stay home in the evening. Winston started to play too much Mario these days. He started the game two weeks ago and liked it a lot. I tried to tell him to control himself not to play too much of it. He got mad many times, and so did I. But every time when he calmed down, I would tell him how important it was to learn to control himself . He kind of understood but frequently forgot. Yesterday he turned off Mario right after I remind him of the time. I felt happy that he made a progress in controlling himself. He was very proud of himself, too. He told me he was growing up.
Last weekend, we did not visit places because Richy had to attend the training class and it was chilly cold. I am still adapting myself to the cold weather. I hope to survive my first Winter here.
Wow! What a foggy city! The buildings just sprout from the mist. It was hard to see afar and find the ground. I should feel romantic to wake up in the foggy morning like this. Living here, sometimes it feels like a paradise, but sometimes like a hell. And this morning I got both feelings.
Last night we were disturbed by the construction noises again. The noise started at 2:00 am and did not stop until 5:00 am in the morning. What a torture! If your nerves are big, you will not feel the noise. But I happen to be the one with sensitive nerves. Our windows must be made of bad quality, I closed all the windows and still hear the clear noises. I could not believe this. I added one more set of windows on the balcony and still could not block the disturbances. This is another case of something made in C...
I always feel better if I write my feelings out. Now, the fog is fading, and so is my anger.
About the Town Mudu, a historic cultural town, is located at the foot between Linyan mountain and Tien-Ping Mountain in the west of Suzhou. Its waterways are connected to the Taihu Lake. According to the tour guide, many gardens have been renovated and open to the public. Among them, Yan Family's residence, which used to be the residence of the former Taiwan's politician YanJiagan (嚴家淦), is the most famous garden in Mu-Du. China's Emperor Qianlong (乾隆) in Qing Dynasty liked to stop by the gardens here whenever he visited Su-Zhou.
Our visit Our plan for the day was to climb Tien-Ping Mountain first and visit Mu-Du town on the way back. But when we stopped at Mu-Du, we saw the mountain leaves did not change to orange and brown color yet, so we decided to visit Mu-Du and go home rest. Since Winston coughed a lot the night before, we all did not get enough sleep, and the weather seemed cloudy, so our visit to this old town was short and brief.
According to the visitor center's instructions, there were only 3 gardens open to the public and the ticket was $60 RMB each, a bit expensive (Ton-Li, $80 for eight Gardens) . Based on our experiences, some free entry gardens were good and some paid gardens might not be as good, but most of the gardens were generally great. It was free to enter the old town but if we wanted to visit a specific garden we had to pay.
The entrance of the town was pleasant and clean, and was a bit mixed with modern architectures. But after we enter the small town, the streets and waterways were dirty. Some motorcycles were running on the narrow walkways. The wind brought some bad smell from the filthy waterway once in a while. The buildings on the streets still kept their ancient faces but some looked abandoned and damaged. It was sad that the government did not put enough efforts to restore the old picture and hire some workers to clean and maintain this area.
We walked over the small town and the weather was a bit cloudy and raining, So we decided to go home. We plan to see the autumn leaves of the mountain 2 weeks later and will visit Yan's Garden here on the way back.
Notes The special part of Mu-Du was its natural landscape of mountains. Water and Mountains were the two musts in ancient Chinese Gardens. The hills in other gardens we visited before were tiny and artificial. Nevertheless, Mu-Du did not feel as good because its lack of proper maintaining. We did not see any foreigners visiting Mu-Du. Maybe it was the signal of "not as good". I hope the travel bureau will soon restore this area and keep the environment in good condition while it is still recoverable. It is too much of a treasure to be missed.
Our Saturday home-made pizza was a success. Richy said it tasted better than the ones made in Pizza stores and Restaurants. But I forgot to add black olives. Next time will be perfect if I add olives in. Winston had 4 pieces. I made three 9-inch pizzas. We ate two for dinner and saved one for tomorrow's breakfast.
Ingredients: Bacon, ground pork seasoned with Italian seasonings, Shrimp, Squid, Onions, Green paper, Tomato, Katchup, Black olives. Shredded Cheese.