Maria Holland

Green Trees, Blue Sea, and White Clouds

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 at 2:17 am

It was blazing hot today when I went to class – at 8 in the morning!  Of course, within five minutes of reaching the classroom I was freezing and losing feeling in my extremities.  Apparently the need to overcompensate with air conditioning is not isolated to the American South.  Ugh – I hate it!  It’s so wasteful, first of all, but I if I’m not comfortable at 60 degrees in the winter, why would I want that temperature in the summer??  I don’t want to be cold instead of being hot, I just don’t want to be hot.  But apparently I am alone in this. 

I did laundry after class.  With only 30 days left, I’m hoping to only have to do this two or three more times.  Maybe I’ll just start using Febreze more.  Seriously, the laundry situation here is another facet of the unpleasantness of Chinese dorm life.  I’ve been told by XuLei that the communal washing machines make clothes dirtier actually, and I would believe it.  Coming out the washing machine, my clothes look and smell about the same, only . . . wetter.  Awesome.

Today was the first clear day in ages, which meant Lester and I had plans: riding the cable car!  It’s been on my Xiamen Bucket List since I went to the Botanical Gardens next door, but we were waiting for a day without rain or – praying for a miracle – smog.  Today was that day! 

The cable car is slightly difficult to find (up inconspicuous steps off a busy road immediately next to a tunnel) and pretty expensive (40 kuai, or $6), but I’m glad we did it.  The route goes all the way up and down the mountain (and back!) and it moves at a glacial pace so  you get a good hour of cable-car-riding for your money. 

There wasn’t anything too amazing to see, but I did enjoy the silence and stunning amounts of green surrounding us.  Combined with the colors of the cars themselves, it made for great pictures.


Once we crested the mountain, we had an interesting perspective on the campus and the blue (!) sea and sky beyond.


So all in all, I would say the cable car is worth riding, but wait for a nice day.

This evening, Aleid and I made dinner at her place.  First, we went shopping at the supermarket, where we picked up a pound of ground sausage that was elegantly scooped up by some guy’s bare hands and placed in a plastic baggie.  Just the way I like it.  While we waited in the ridiculous dinner-time checkout line, Aleid and I updated each other on the tiny things that make our life here interesting.  Today, she told me that she just found out the salary that one of her Chinese friends is making working at a coffee shop – 5 or 6 yuan per hour.  This is less than a dollar per hour, but even after turning RMB into USD it’s still below our minimum wage!  Concrete numbers like this are such a wake-up call for me. 

When we got off the bus by her apartment, the sight of blue sea and white clouds nearly took my breath away. 


Let’s not reflect on how sad it was that we were excited to see the land over there, shall we?

Our dinner consisted of pancakes and sausage, with sides of watermelon and lychee.  It was awesome, of course.  After dinner we watched The Wrong Guy, which is the best movie you’ve probably never heard of.  Do yourself and go watch it right now if you haven’t yet – heck, if you have, go watch it again! 

Aleid has two new French roommates, and one of them told me some news of the French World Cup team: apparently they’re on strike.  This is hilarious, right?  I told them that the stereotypes we have of France are good food, a beautiful language, and constant strikes by everyone about everything.  He said it’s pretty much true. 

One other World Cup note: Portugal beat North Korea 7-0.  I’ve apparently assimilated some soccer knowledge, because I remember looking at the scoreboard at one point during the 2-2 US-Slovenia game and thinking “Wow, this is a high-scoring game!”.  But 7-0?  That doesn’t even sound like soccer; you could fool me into thinking it was any other American sport!


As of today, my blog has passed the mark of 10,000 views.  I’m pretty sure it’s not a big deal, but I did want to take this moment to share some of the odd search terms that have led people to my writing:

  • "striving for mediocrity" in liturgical practices
  • minutemen meatpuppets descendents angst
  • ridiculous fruit
  • kristina groves legs
  • pink flame bowling ball bag
  • creepy burger king

Hahaha.  I wonder if these people were disappointed with their search results? 

  1. Glad you had a nice day for the cable car!

  2. i love cable car.. but sometimes it also make me afraid..
    i can’t imagine if the car suddenly stops in the middle of the wire… OMG.

  3. First of all, you are not alone on anything. Usually I’m with you (except the “will-eat-dog-but-not-peas thing”) on your observations because I’ve been known to be opinionated and some might even say ‘picky’ in some things, especially when I was younger and before I mellowed. But I digress…I’m really with you on the “hate bitter cold air conditioning” thing! And the cable car ride sounds nice; wish we had done that. Mom and I looked back through our China trip pictures today, and we sure smiled a lot thinking about it!

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