T - 2: Wednesday - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

May 25, 2022

T - 2: Wednesday

This is an Aperol Fizz. It's made from an Italian sour orange liqueur and Prosecco. Basically, you need to imagine Fanta, only it tastes good and is alcoholic
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Today was a substantially fuller day than it had any right to be. This is primarily because some idiot¹ left her keys inside her apartment and needed to run to the other side of the city to get the spare from a friend because having a spare set in every backpack she owns is only helpful if all of said backpacks are not also inside her apartment².

It's not like I hadn't planned to find some way to have a last evening out with said friend, nor is it like my having to leave early because I needed my landlord's Dad³ to let me in the outside door really affected the amount of hangout time as it's a school night and she has to go to bed early.

Still, it was a massive nuisance.

Cheers, darling!
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The day started with my discovering that although I had sent three pair of shoes to the cobblers for my lift, I'd gotten four pair back. Luckily, the fourth pair (which, other than the size, are far too girly to have ever been mine) hadn't also been modified. I left the bonus shoes in my hallway for my assistant to take care of next to the bottles of cherry wine that she's been getting for me from a farmhouse brewer discovered near the end of the last tour. 

The shoes will be returned to the cobbler and the wine will be delivered to a friend so at least I got that part right, even if my taking stuff out to put in the hall is part of how I ended up stuck in the hall⁴.

Since I now found myself completely unable to do anything else in my apartment, I got an early head start on my trip to the fancy mall for the most linguistically confusing meal I have ever had. 

To add to this confusion, there was beer
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Although I would put it higher depending on the topic, Jaime—whose native language is obviously Spanish—rates his own English at about 70% fluency. For the past 30 years, he hasn't had any need to speak Japanese with anyone other than his wife and he grades his use of that language at around 30%. 

Because she's married to an Argentinian, his Japanese wife's Spanish is obviously better than her English. 

The Japanese restaurant owner spoke poor Chinese and poorer English. 

Lokcee, my friend from the Provincial International Economic Development Bureau, is a native Chinese speaker with near native Japanese and very good English; but, his English comprehension goes way down when talking to non-native English speakers (i.e. Jaime). 

Only the mall Leasing Manager and myself had the limitation of merely speaking two languages but at least we two are completely fluent in both of our languages.

The food was excellent
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Finding that Jaime couldn't understand something he was trying to say in Japanese, the restaurant owner–having grown used to needing to use Chinese while in China–would immediately switch to Chinese. Of course, Jaime doesn't speak Chinese.

Jaime kept code-switching back into Spanish when talking with myself and Lokcee. However, the only person at the table who spoke Spanish is his wife, and she was having conversations in her native language with the restaurant owner.

Lokcee would periodically find himself stymied by his inability to come up with a relevant English word and rather than switch into his native language (which I'm fluent in), would switch into Japanese, except that Jaime's Japanese—despite being better than his nearly non-existent Chinese—is not exactly what you'd call good enough for discussions about sister city agreements or tariff waivers.

The majority of these beans are actually for Sarah. I also want to point out the coffee table book in the background (On Location in Hainan: The Most Beautiful Sites for Filming) which was translated by me for the Provincial TV station.
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After lunch, after a quick stop at the Lenovo store to buy another charger + cable (because even though I'm relatively sure one is in the luggage already on its way to Tangshan, I couldn't be completely certain and I didn't want to risk traveling with just one supercharger when my laptop, both phones, and the big powerbank all take the same charger), I ran off to my preferred microroastery for my favorite drink⁵ and a pound of the beans of life.

Randomly running into an old client while at my d̶r̶u̶g̶ ̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶d̶e̶a̶l̶e̶r̶ supplier's place put me behind schedule for being able to both get my spare keys from Sarah after she got home from work and being able to get to the Malaysian restaurant I was supposed to try to meet someone at before leaving. 

Fortunately, as I was getting ready to try to make it there anyways, I got a call inviting me to a stunning new coffee shop that not only has an interest in advertising on my WeChat Official Account⁶ but also was halfway between my current location and Sarah's place. 

A vintage Sino-Russian gas powered moped on the patio in their inner courtyard
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Stunning, isn't it?
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Malaysian will therefore either have to be done tomorrow or wait until September.

A mango pudding with mint yogurt, a cappuccino in a dark chocolate lined oatmeal cookie cup, and an Americano (from the sexiest espresso machine I've ever seen) later, I had to grab a taxi to Sarah's as otherwise she would literally only have enough time for me to pick up my keys before she had to go to sleep.

So, yeah.... even though I was expecting a full day today, I wasn't expecting anything like this.

They grow the mint themselves
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Although I've seen these online before, this was my first time actually having one.
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¹ I'm not naming names but her initials are M.D.R.

² Technically, there is a spare set of keys not in my apartment. It's in the panniers I already shipped to Tangshan.

³ He lives in the apartment below me

⁴ Only a little bit stuck though. The first floor shopfront let me out through their door.

⁵ Called a "Little White" it's frozen balls of cold brew concentrate in sweet milk.

⁶ The best description I can give you is "newsletter". It's not a very good way of describing an Official Account but it's the best I can manage. I've got around 1,500 subscribers and average 300 views per article.

Today's ride: 20 km (12 miles)
Total: 55 km (34 miles)

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