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  • Writer's pictureAnja

Shopping, a new flat and more shopping...



Finally, we are showing signs of life again.

Yes, you have had to wait a long time. We are sorry. BUT so much has happened again that we haven't had time to write.


Here is a short summary:

  • Trips to the surrounding area (again)

  • Shopping in Chinese shopping centres

  • First German party

  • Moving into the new appartment

  • Dinner with Denny's colleagues

Let's start from the beginning:


Moon Lake

Of course we try to explore our new home in every free minute. Most of the time we got a tip: "Have a look at XY" or: "You absolutely have to go there".

The weekend before last, Moon Lake was on the agenda. On the map, it is located southeast of Changchun and is THE most popular recreation area here.

While in Braunschweig it's the Harz Mountains or in Potsdam all the Havel river areas, which are freely accessible to everyone, here it's a park where you have to pay an entrance fee. On the positive side, there's no rubbish lying around like there is back home.

So you scan the QR code, pay by mobile phone, get help from the Chinese security guard again and enjoy yourself.

Moon Lake is a reservoir. The description says it has crystal-clear water, but it was more the muddy version. Like almost everything we have seen here in China so far, the forest around the lake has been artificially created. Over several decades, the Changchun locals have planted trees here. There are supposed to be deer and even arctic foxes there (we didn't see either).

After the entrance, you can rent bicycles. We decided on a tandem. Denny in the front, Anja in the back. And yes, the Chinese are much smaller than we are. Denny's saddle first had to be put all the way up.


A bit wobbly on the first few metres, we later went quickly along the lakeshore, in the best weather with sunshine. The circular route around the lake is about 20 km long. And if you think you can cycle the entire route on your bike... Wrong! At the halfway point, a staff member waves you off your bike and gives you a choice: walk or ride back. We didn't quite understand this procedure, as we had rented the tandem for 2 hours with the option of an extension and the signature of the bike collector, which we couldn't read, didn't exactly inspire confidence. We returned the bike anyway and walked the remaining 10km. We didn't understand the reason for handing in the bike, neither there nor later, despite the translation app: "The route is too steep". We understood the wording, but not the subsequent "inspection" of the route. Gentle hills and shallow slopes... maybe because the bikes don't have gears! Oh, and by the way, the user regulations board said: > Downhill you should dismount and push<

Whether it was a safety issue or a lack of confidence on the part of the operators in the abilities of the visitors, we were unable to clarify once and for all.

Faced with the choice of which path we wanted to take, we of course decided on the fitness path. However, the fitness trail is not a trim trail, but a wooden plank path through the forest with steps.


Shopping Malls

Let's move on to the subject of shopping.

First of all, you have to get rid of the thought: "Is there.... here?" Or, "Can they make XY here?"

Better is, "What is NOT available here?!"

And yes, there is nothing here that is not available. Not to mention the food... but even the shopping centres have just about everything! (Mostly for the better filled wallet or mobile phone).

By German standards, which are already an imposition for most average German men, a large shopping centre has maybe 100-150 shops.

And so that no gender discussion develops here, there are also women for whom this is too much and vice versa, of course.

Here you are not standing in a shopping centre, but in a mall, a shopping mall. You stand about in the middle and can't see the end of the aisles. It's like looking into an infinity mirror...endless.

Looking to the right and to the left:

There are several such shopping malls in Changchun. We went to the Ouya Mall. We don't know how many shops there are.

5 floors, 3 aisles per floor, 2 opposite shops per aisle, and a length of about 600 metres. You do the maths!

On the 5th floor there is a ball paradise like at IKEA. Only bigger. And with more "play options". Parents can spend whole weeks here with their children. Climbing, go-karting, handicrafts, digging, romping... everything a child's heart desires. And what's more: the ambitious military Chinese can do their first shooting exercises on balloons with their little daughter. Advanced child shooters then shoot crossbows at pictures of people and when they've had enough, they can run to the koi pool and feed the fish with a feeding bottle...

China China, what else do you have to offer?


Our first party

The first party (13.11) we were allowed to attend was the 10th anniversary of the German brewery pub including the welcome of the German brewmaster Michael. (he was in Germany for more than 8 months due to corona).

Most of the guests were Germans who live and work here in Changchun. We already knew a few of them. The programme included three performances by Chinese dance groups, buffet and music from the DJ. The performances were short but great, the food was very tasty (German food - Anja was pleased) and the DJ ... was possibly a little overwhelmed. Whether it was due to the technology or the music requests, we don't know. It was still a fun evening, which didn't end when Denny accidentally tipped a glass of beer onto Anja's lap. Here is a small excerpt:


And shopping again

One day later, we arranged to visit the fabric market with friends. Stoff Markt is a common name for the North Market here. Why? Because there is fabric and clothes here.

Completely inconspicuous from the outside, you go through a sluice (to keep the heat in) and you're already standing in one of those endlessly big shopping things. There's no end in sight and no way to find your way around, except for the numbers on the stalls. The North Market is also not such a glossy shopping mile. We felt a bit like we were at the Polish market, only with fabrics and not with cigarettes...

What can you do here?

There are two different stands here. 1x tailor and 1x fabric dealer. So first you go to a trustworthy tailor and show her or him a picture or maybe you already have a piece of clothing with you that you would like to have (again). Then the tailor dashes off with you and goes round all the fabric dealers who are suitable for this garment and have the right colours. Once you have decided on one or more fabrics, you are measured on the spot. In the meantime, the question of price is clarified and after about 10 days you have your garment. We can't say anything about the final quality because we haven't ordered anything yet, but our friends have ordered some. We will report back. Two pairs of trousers made from a pattern cost about 800 RMB (about 100 €), a jumpsuit from a picture costs about 900 RMB (about 115 €). All including fabric, of course. Depending on the effort and fabric, a men's suit, 2 pieces, is around 100€.


Our new home

On Sunday, 15 November we moved into our new home. We were picked up punctually at 8:45am from the hotel and driven to Up Up Town with our 6 suitcases. By the way, the Chinese name for this compound is: Rongchuang Shangcheng :)

Our new home has three floors. Actually, it's almost like our place in Braunschweig, except that we added a floor with a garage and a basement.

At the bottom there is a garage and a basement (Anja will use it as a fitness room and there is also room to practice dancing). In the middle (2nd floor) there is a kitchen and a living room and upstairs there is a bedroom and a guest room. Everything is furnished in a very Chinese style. High gloss tile floor, cherry wood kitchen and colonial style bed.

Welcome to our castle ;)

Right now we, or Anja in particular, are in the process of making the hut a real home. The first thing on the to-do list is cleaning. The standards are already different between the cultures... or rather between Anja and the landlady's cleaning lady?

Then we will have to get a truckload from IKEA, because we have no tableware, cutlery and glasses, for example. But since we were clever, we put two plates and 2x cutlery from our picnic backpack into the suitcases. So we don't have to eat from the table.

Now we are still waiting for our container, which is probably hanging at customs right now. It will not be delivered until our long-term visas have been issued. We hope that it will be at the beginning of December. Anja is looking forward to her shoes ;) and Denny to the kites.

Anja's muscles are already sore from all the stair climbing. It will take quite a while until everything is where it should be and you don't have to search for it anymore. One room at a time.


Denny's new colleagues

Yesterday, Thursday, Denny invited his new colleagues to dinner. They were allowed to choose which restaurant they wanted to go to. Surprise: it was a Chinese restaurant!

They ate a wide variety of things, fried on skewers.

The most unusual: duck tongues and chicken feet. Yes, the Chinese really do eat that. But according to Denny, there's not much to eat in chicken feet.


His team is an incredibly nice group. They are all open-minded and curious about how things work in Germany and what they have there.

The Chinese eat sunflower seeds like we eat peanuts or pistachios and were quite surprised when we told them that we usually only eat them in bread or with salads, but that we feed the birds with them in winter.

And what was very important for them: how much beer does a German drink?

So the Germans' reputation as a nation of beer drinkers has reached China.


Everyone may now consider for themselves whether it should be precisely this attribute that they would most like to have presented of themselves in other countries.


And while we are on the subject of stigmas:

From rice-bag and Coronaland, many greetings to the nation of beer-drinkers and sock-in-sandals wearers, we give you our best wishes.


Anja & Denny



PS:

Snow has finally fallen here since yesterday. Before that it rained. Outside our window it looks like this:


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