This the view from atop the Headwall run at Schweitzer Mountain. Around the middle of the image is the village. Further out is Lake Pend O'reille. The skiing wasn't great, but there was several inches of new snow covering some crusty stuff. While the snow was fresh, the skiing was great.
Unit 731, as very few Americans, and very few others but the Chinese, was a unit of the Japanese occupation force in what used to be known as Manchuria, now the area of Heilongjiang Province in northeast China, within the city of Harbin. Unit 731 is infamous for their focus on bacterial, biological and ecological warfare studies. Unit 731 experimented on primarily Chinese peasants and prisoners of war, but some English and quite possibly American prisoners as well. There is little doubt that these experiments were as despicable as those conducted by the Germans during the war. So, how does this fit with American exceptionalism? Click the "read more" link beneath the picture of me standing in front of what remains of the complex.
My summer reading indicates something of a "man crush," but on a country. Having spent nearly a month in Harbin, Heilongjiang province in northeast China, the area that it seems is no longer referred to as Manchuria. I went to China for two reasons, maybe more. What became the first was initially the second reason, and that was to teach at the English Summer Camp at Harbin Institute of Technology. What was initially the first reason was to learn about China in order to revise a class with an international focus, thanks to a small grant from the Northwest International Education Association, part of the Association of International Educators, otherwise known as NAFSA. So, here's what I read:
Bacon, Ursula. Shanghai Diary: A Young Girls Journey from Hitler's Hate to War-Torn China. Milwaukie, Oregon: Milestone, 2004.
As the title indicates, the story of a Jewish girl and her parents escape from Nazi Germany and their life in Shanghai during World War II.
I probably shouldn't be so irreverant, but what the heck. Some of the best stuff I've bought in China is what we've come to call "dollar store crap." But much of it is "only in China" dollar store crap. What I'm most happy with is three decks of playing cards. One is the "Ten Marshalls." The other decks are "The Great Leader" (Mao) and "Red Age." Each deck of cards comes in a nice outer box and inside is a plastic case. The cards are wrapped inside the plastic case, so I'm reluctant to open them. I suspect these cannot be found in America, though maybe I'm wrong.
Perhaps I could start importing them and make a bundle. These, so my thinking goes now, are bound to be White Elephant gifts at the family Christmas eve celebration. I have no doubt these will be a hit, the "must have" gift that sparks fights. The perfect white elephant gift. As I have time to shop some more, I hope to find more of this sort of thing. By Chinese standards, I paid too much, Y40 for three packs of cards. That's about $6.50 total.
For the traveller from America to China, perhaps little will be more disconcerting than the stomach's ability to adjust to the new diet. It's not something most will consider before travelling. Nonetheless, I can report that it took my stomach about two weeks to make the transition from my standard diet (which is probably not as healthy as it could be given that I don't eat meat (fish being the exception). As of a few days ago, my stomach has settled down. I no longer fear what has been called "Beijing Belly" (never mind that I am far north of there in Harbin) though that is more likely something that occurs should one drink the water, something I have not done, and still guard against. So, if you plan on staying in China more than two weeks, your stomach should come around by then.
One of the downsides of blogging in drupal is hitting the wrong key or clicking the wrong spot on the screen and losing one's work. That just happened. It wasn't a lot of work, but it irks me nonetheless. Because of that, I'm not going to try to replicate what I've lost and I will just go straight to my breakthrough for today.
I ordered an iced latte in Chinese! I didn't do a great job of it. First, one orders a coffee latte.The coffee part was easy. Coffee, but pronounced as one might pronounce it as would a European. Rather than caw-fee, it's cah-fay. Still, easy enough for an American. The latte was a bit harder. I was pronouncing it "nitesche," like the philosopher. It's more like nah-tay, or naughty in English. Ice or cold is "bing." Easy again. Iced, though, is bing-shen. pronounced somewhat like it sounds, And it only took two weeks!
I'm getting more comfortable in and around HIT, but not so much Harbin itself because, at something approaching 10 million people, I think, that seems all but impossible. Yesterday, Saturday, July 21, we stood in line in the bowel's of the university stadium in order to get swim passes.
For all that it's worth, I had one of the worst travelling experiences of my life yesterday, but it all worked out. It started on the wrong foot in Seattle when an accident closed our main route to the airport. We got there okay, but it was good that the first leg of my flight was domestic because I missed, by just minutes, the one hour cut off to check in for international flights. The drive to the airport was stressful enough, and the time in line to get checked in was also stressful, made more so by the lack of a baggage agreement between United and China Southern airlines.
I learned the other day that I didn't fully pass my United States Soccer Federation 'D' level licensing class. Rather than earning the National D, I earned a State D, which means I partially passed, which is better than failing all together. To tell the truth, after the class, I didn't expect to earn the national license. I have too much to learn and came in to the class inadequately prepared in a number of ways. I don't know that it's wholly my fault, but that doesn't much matter. I can re-take the class and re-test in three months, but will probably wait longer.