Apartment of Horrors: The Bad and Ugly

My landlord has had the apartment for ten years, and it pretty much seems like it hasn’t been cleaned in all that time. A lot of my free time has been spent making the place clean and liveable, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. So aside from the dirt and the washing machine flooding, there are a few things I’m not so happy about.

I don’t think the stove vent grease catcher has ever been cleaned. Yes, that’s about 12 cubic inches of grease. mmmm….

Before Jeff arrived, I went a little crazy getting ready for his birthday celebration. I bought a ton of pastries and fruit and was really excited to have them for his birthday. When I got home, I put them in the logical place — a drawer with pictures of fruit and veggies on it. Apparently in China, that means it’s the freezer, so a few days later all the fruit was pretty much ruined. Boo.

This is the worst of all. A few days ago while cleaning the kitchen, I decided to tackle the layer of grease that has coated all the pipes and levers in the kitchen. I have to turn the gas on and off when I want to cook or have hot water, and it was getting old that my fingers would get coated in sticky black grease every time. Just as I was really getting into it, I discovered this on a nearby pipe and let out a shriek. Please only click on it if you’re sure you want to know. It’s not for the faint of heart, or those who have eaten recently.

So I freaked out, because obviously that is worse than cockroaches. I hopped around the kitchen for a while going “ew ew ew” and then begged Jeff to take care of it. After a discussion that ended in him threatening to throw the thing at me, I ran into my bedroom and proceeded to hide under the covers for a while.

It’s been a few days, and we still haven’t disposed of it, although I have faith that Jeff will do that soon. Every time I turn the gas on I have to avert my eyes so I don’t see it perched up there just six inches away from my hand.

In sum:

1. things will get better after I get everything more or less clean.

2. bleach is a wonderful thing.

3. Cockroaches aren’t so bad. Plus ever since the first night I haven’t seen any more of them, so I guess they must hate foreigners.

Olympic (birthday) baseball

On Tuesday, I “surprised” Jeff with tickets to the Olympic Korea vs. Cuba baseball game. Sadly, Jeff doesn’t like baseball, but these were the best tickets I could get to celebrate his 22nd birthday. The game was pretty much like any minor league game in the US, meaning that most of the fans didn’t really care who won, the game was poorly attended and the outcome more or less meaningless to me.

It was about 2 billion degrees out (scientific measurements were taken by proper authorities, I assure you). Because of these dumb pollution-reduction measures, the sun was fully visible and directly shown down on us. In addition, the stadium radiated heat, creating a miserable setting for the game. The family behind us lasted exactly one inning before succumbing to heat and leaving.

Of course, we all had to suffer because obviously the shaded seats were completely full.

Probably the best part of the game was watching the fans. Our section was mostly Koreans, who did actually care about the game. They had a lot of songs and organized cheers, which were fun to watch.

The Chinese reaction to the Koreans was also entertaining:

Jeff and I ended up leaving around the seventh inning because we were too hot and miserable. Neither of us being baseball fans, it seemed logical. Please don’t be mad.

Viva la Internet!

As you may know, China likes to block websites. Some websites, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights in China, are banned for fairly obvious reasons. Others, such as Youtube and WordPress, are inexplicably banned.

The way that websites are blocked is fairly sneaky. Instead of telling you a site is blocked, sites just don’t load. For example:

Almost all Youtube clips look like this, regardless of content:

Amnesty International’s China site, along with most other banned websites, looks like this:

As for Wikipedia articles, sometimes pages will exist, but chunks of undesirable content will be missing. A few weeks ago, this Tiananmen Square protests article contained only the events and background, but all the information about politics and death had been removed. Now, I assume because of international pressure around the Olympics, it has been restored.

Today while stalking my boyfriend, I discovered that WordPress has been unblocked! Halleluah!

Now I can catch on missed hijinks, hunt puppies and Internet stalk various other persons of interest. Totally awesome.

Engrish of the Week: 4, Mongolia Special Edition

As you may have heard, due to the Olympics authorities in Beijing have been cleaning up a lot of the really bad Engrish. However, their iron grip of logic, grammar and spelling has not quite reached Inner Mongolia.

A sign in the train lavatory:

The sign at the top of the gondola out to the sand dunes:

Perhaps the best Engrish I’ve ever seen:

Ok, technically this isn’t Engrish, since the Chinese and English match up. But it’s creepy as hell in both languages, so I’m posting it anyway.