Monday, July 30, 2007

Silence Falls

So this will be my last entry, at least until we get "settled" in Denver. I head out to Portland on Thursday morning. Yet another 20-something hour flight with Chase - alone. Thankfully, I will be flying business class. So I guess that's good news for me; bad news for all those people who paid extra money to sit up front to get away from toddlers.

I have been running around like mad; picking up silk, ribbons, having pictures framed, packing boxes for short-term, packing boxes for long-term. Packing duffle bags for the next week. Spending a little time each night on, just to see what's new on the Denver market.

Chase has been great. Un-phased by the fact that things are slowly but surely getting put into boxes and getting stacked in our guestroom. She has been a little manic about making sure all of her most important things (3 massive language books, bunny, lola, molly, baba and bear) are all close to her at all times - perhaps in fear they will disappear into one of the boxes when she is not looking.

Chase has also done a lot of spinning - twirling - lately. She loves it. She can entertain herself by twirling for at least 10 minutes.

Flora has been teaching me real Chinese cooking, which is so great. Even though I'm a little tired of Chinese food, I will miss being able to eat real Chinese food when I want it - but now that I know some recipes, I'll be able to whip some up - using organic vegetables and free-range meat!

I am actually quite sad to be leaving. We hope to return after things get cleaned-up a bit here, which should happen in the next 5-10 years, as China is starting to realize just how important it is to clean up their act. They even hired a PR firm recently to do just that (or at least clean up their reputation).

Now there's a wild account. I can just imagine picking up the phone to call a journalist, "Hi, I'm calling on behalf of China."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

No Beach = Good Mom

Just a quick note to report that all of Chase's friends are feeling better. None of my friends seem to know what caused their kids to have such a high fever for three days, but they all came down with it shortly after visiting the beach (a trip we opted out of because it was hot, humid and involved a Chinese beach). So I'm feeling like a pretty good mom today.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Food Allergies And Eating Food In General

I heard on National Public Radio that food allergies are at an all time high - and strangely enough - the allergies are to foods that are quite common within each culture's cuisine. For example, North Americans are getting more and more allergies to eggs and milk, while in the middle east they are seeing more allergies to chickpeas, etc. Very interesting. They recommend broadening what you consume when possible.

The story made me think about the Chinese diet. And why, despite the fact we are eating cooked vegetables and tofu, we are still gaining weight. And then I realized that it's probably the fact that I've only had three salads in the past nine months (thanks to the "consume no raw food" unspoken law here) - and yes, it doesn't help our metabolism is slowing, we are not actually working out hard 5x per week, yada yada. But after taking cooking classes from Flora, I realized that it isn't helping that everything has SO much oil in it. I mean tons of oil. And eggs.

And have I mentioned the Chinese cook with peanut oil all-the-time. Which brings be right back to allergies. I have actually been giving Chase almond butter because I didn't want to give her peanuts until we were back in the US - "just in case." And now I find out she's been eating peanut oil all along - so no peanut allergies here (good thing, because I CRAVED PB&J the entire time I was pregnant).

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting that the Chinese don't worry about peanut allergies. They don't worry about feeding seafood to small children either. I don't think they worry about much of anything, to be honest.

Must be nice.

Chinese Boudoir Photos

Here's a couple pictures from my (very tame) Chinese boudoir photo shoot.
I can't describe how much I LOVED the blue robe.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chase Updates

Chase's favorite books these days include "My First 1,000 Chinese words" book, "My first book of sign" and "My first 1,000 words (English)." She loves these books and hauls them everywhere. Her next favorites are "Meg & Mog," "Corduroy," and "Where The Wild Things Are." She loves rumpusing.

She loves her harmonica; she actually plays it, holding it with her right hand while keeping time to the music (hitting her left knee with her left hand). Definitely goes down in my book as one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

She continues to enjoy Chinese food. She actually won't eat vegetables unless they have garlic and a touch of oyster sauce on them. Then she'll eat the entire bowl and ask for more.

Chase has started forming an attachment to her doll Molly; she drags her around by her hair. I keep trying to show her how to hold her, but she keeps dragging her around by the hair.

She's named her pink bear, Lola, which I think is quite remarkable. Not only because she named her own stuffed animal, but also because she took the name from Kar Kar's kitten that she loved so much.

Chase really enjoys drawing, and has gotten quite good at scribbling. Her ability to hold the pen like a grown-up has really surprised me. She also likes painting and playing with colored tablets in the bathtub.

She loves her hula hoop. She likes to stand inside the plastic, blue, sparkly circle. She also likes to stand outside it. She likes to put her doll inside, as well as her books and anything else.

Chase is very good at sharing. Very good at playing with others. She has started to be more aggressive about taking things she wants in crowded kid filled situations, but doesn't mind if another kid gets to a toy first. She knows she's bigger than most of them.

Chase has also started to test us. She has identified three things that we keep saying "no" to, and enjoys pushing us as far as she can. Thing 1: standing on the couch. Thing 2: grabbing a very nice scroll painting on the wall and trying to pull it down. Thing 3: playing with the computer power cord while we use the laptop. She thinks it is so funny when we are serious.

She now enjoys throwing balls. Large puzzles. Blocks. Running. Shaking hands. Saying hello. Blowing kisses at everyone.

Chase also gets bored easily. She loves the outdoors. We've been going on more walks. I've been taking her out at least twice a day. I can't wait until I can enroll her in swimming and a couple morning sessions of Montessori.


Just found out that Mars thing is a hoax. I deleted the original post.

Chinese Boudoir

People often ask me what I do with my days...

Well, today I had Chinese boudoir photos taken.

It took at least an hour and a half for the make-up artist to apply my make-up (aka, cover my face in skin-colored spackle, fill every pore, and then add fake eyelashes and blue eye shadow). For my hair, they used product that made my hair into a helmet (think Clark Kent), and then added four huge flowers, extensions, and various decorative doowaps.

When my hair and make-up was finished, I put on a gorgeous blue silk robe - the kind you see hanging on someone's wall.

I looked in the mirror - and couldn't believe the transformation. The bags under my eyes were gone. I did not have crumbs or spots on me anywhere. I had been transformed. It made me seriously consider spending an hour and a half doing my hair and make-up everyday.

From there, I was handed over to the photographer, a young Chinese guy, who instructed me to pose in various ways, using some lovely Chinese antiques for props. So I posed with a lute. At a desk. In front of a "balcony." At a window. At one point they handed me a Chinese paper and instructed me to appear to be reading it.

It was hilarious; I hope to be able to post a couple pictures soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sickness Spreading

I was relieved to hear that Chase's best little boy friend doesn't have herpes. I must admit, I was a little freaked out when I heard he might have it. It was a day where no matter how many worry bead bracelets I wore, I was still going to worry.

I learned today that he has hand, foot and mouth disease. All of his other little friends have come down with fever and spots.

I, meanwhile, have my fingers and toes crossed; hoping this bug jumps right over Chase.

Education. Education. Education.

And so it begins... The quest to find the "right" school for Chase, and the "right" house in the "right" school district. And yes, I am on every night.

First, I just can't believe we are actually going to have a house again. With our things in it. I am SO tired of furnished apartments. We haven't had our things around us in four years. FOUR YEARS. We have things still in boxes from when we lived in Boston. Unbelievable.

At any rate, in the past we really haven't given much thought to what school district our house was in, but now, I find myself obsessed with the public school system. But the more I research I do, the more interested in private education I become.

For example, there are five Montessori schools, one of which is bilingual (Spanish). Would I be a bad mom to stick her into yet another language (Spanish, Chinese, German)? Will I delay her language? So far, she's doing exceptionally well - with both English and Chinese. (I've also been told by a woman who studied early childhood education that kids compartmentalize languages, so exposing them to multiple languages may be a little confusing at first, but their brains will automatically sort words accordingly.)

I also stumbled across two international schools. The Denver International School, which offers bilingual classes in Mandarin (in grades 1 & 2, up to 80% is taught in Chinese), Spanish and French for kids from age 3, and the Bradley International Elementary School, which seems interesting.

Call me crazy, but I'm seriously considering we enroll her in the Spanish Montessori class M, W, F mornings and then do the Mandarin emersion T, Th and find a weekend playgroup. Or maybe vice versa, as Chinese is more difficult to learn and harder to find in Colorado.

I firmly believe language is one of the most important life skills a person can learn, alongside how to pick a lock and hotwire a car (kidding!). But in all seriousness, language opens so many doors, on so many levels. It connects you to the rest of the world, in a way that only knowing English never will.

And if you can speak three languages, there is a seriously cool summer job at the UN in Geneva you can apply for... no pressure, Chase!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


One of the things I love about China.

Every morning employees line-up outside. They are then inspected, lectured and then made to excercise.

The photos below are from a restaurant around the corner from where we live.


This man sells clams from a cart, attached to his bicycle.

Chase and Chin Shoo Shoo (our driver, who we now call Uncle Chin), went in for a closer look. Chase wanted nothing to do with the clams. She was giving me the "get me outta here, Mama" look the whole time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Small Wonder

Chase continues to surprise and delight us.

She is running now. At full speed.
Everywhere she goes, she needs to get there fast.
I wonder where she got this from (Hubs!)?

She is also growing out of her shoes at lightening speed.

She can't seem to consume enough yogurt in the day. So I have started loading it up with supplements. Sometimes almond butter. Sometimes a lemon-tasting cod liver oil. Sometimes blue green algae. Sometimes wheat germ or brewers yeast. At this point I could put anything in it, and she would eat it right up.

We've also moved her up to level 4 at Gymboree, so she's playing with the "big kids" now - four times a week. It's amazing to watch her learning from them.

I, meanwhile, am starting to have dreams about Jimbo the Clown - and he's scary!

What to say?

Not much to say these days. It's a little stressful here at the moment. But I'm not worrying. I have my Chinese worry beads bracelet, which is supposed to take my worries away. I think it works. Most days, anyway.

So it's a beautiful day in Dalian, today. Warm, but windy. Blue skies. No haze, or as Hubs puts it, "marine layer." We've had an ongoing discussion about this supposed "marine layer," ever since we arrived. I think that as it is thick enough to eat, it can't just be fog. Hubs believes what our Dutch maritime friend said - it really is harmless.

I simply can't believe that if San Francisco is feeling the effects of Beijing's smog - way at the other end of the ocean - that Dalian, which lies just an hour East, has "clean air and a harmless marine layer."

But enough about that.

I just know Chase will miss being the center of attention e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e she goes. And although I grumble at times, I will certainly miss a lot of things about China. I think China changes a person. Or maybe having a baby and then moving to China changes a person. I'm not sure exactly how, but I feel like I've changed since I've been here - moreso than when we were living in London or Zurich.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hello America!

Not many small updates this time. One big one. We're moving again. This time to Denver!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weekend Fun

We spent Saturday afternoon with our German friends. They are so great.
I will really miss them!



BEIJING — While visiting relatives a year ago, Du Haipeng, 5, came down with a sore throat. Doctors prescribed a Chinese antibiotic, Xinfu. The boy’s reaction to the drug was so violent, he had to be taken to a nearby hospital.

“I remember clearly that I was shearing sheep when I got a call from my sister and her husband,” said Du Xinglong, 36, Haipeng’s father. “When I rushed to the hospital my son had already fallen into a coma.”

A week later, regulators banned Xinfu. Authorities eventually determined that the State Food and Drug Administration had granted the drug’s maker a seal of approval, even though Xinfu was not properly produced or sterilized.

The scandal was just one symptom of an ailing regulatory regime. Last year, the government uncovered 167,000 examples of illegal production and trade in medicine and medical equipment. In some cases, illegal factories are fined or closed; but their owners rarely face prosecution, and the problem persists.

Because of the public furor Xinfu set off, its producer, the Anhui Huayuan Worldbest Biology Company, was an exception. Several senior executives at the company were dismissed; its production license was revoked; and last November, according to state-run media, the company’s general manager committed suicide.

That was too late for a 6-year-old named Liu Sichen. She had been given Xinfu for a tonsil infection. Soon she fell into a coma, and after several days she died.

“She was about to go to elementary school,” said Sichen’s mother, Guo Ping. “Her father bought her a new pink backpack.”

In the end, at least 14 people died after taking Xinfu, and perhaps hundreds more were severely sickened. Du Haipeng woke from his coma after 22 days of emergency treatment. But he wasn’t himself. “He didn’t recognize us,” said his mother, Fu Liguang, 38. “Over the next two and a half months, he didn’t say a single word.”

Today, the boy rarely speaks. He wets his pants, and his doctors say he may have permanent brain damage.

His father has no sympathy for Zheng Xiaoyu, the State Food and Drug Administration’s former chief, executed on Tuesday.

“If he hadn’t approved that company our family wouldn’t be shattered,” Mr. Du said. “He should have been killed a long time ago.”

Rujun Shen contributed reporting.

Yet Another News Story...

BEIJING, China (AP) -- Chopped cardboard, softened with an industrial chemical and flavored with fatty pork and powdered seasoning, is a main ingredient in batches of steamed buns sold in one Beijing neighborhood, state television said.

The report, aired late Wednesday on China Central Television, highlights the country's problems with food safety despite government efforts to improve the situation.
Countless small, often illegally run operations exist across China and make money cutting corners by using inexpensive ingredients or unsavory substitutes. They are almost impossible to regulate.

State TV's undercover investigation features the shirtless, shorts-clad maker of the buns, called baozi, explaining the contents of the product sold in Beijing's sprawling Chaoyang district.
Baozi are a common snack in China, with an outer skin made from wheat or rice flour and a filling of sliced pork. Cooked by steaming in immense bamboo baskets, they are similar to but usually much bigger than the dumplings found on dim sum menus familiar to many Americans.
The hidden camera follows the man, whose face is not shown, into a ramshackle building where steamers are filled with the fluffy white buns, traditionally stuffed with minced pork.

The surroundings are filthy, with water puddles and piles of old furniture and cardboard on the ground.

"What's in the recipe?" the reporter asks. "Six to four," the man says.

"You mean 60 percent cardboard? What is the other 40 percent?" asks the reporter. "Fatty meat," the man replies.

The bun maker and his assistants then give a demonstration on how the product is made.
Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda -- a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap -- then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in.
Soon, steaming servings of the buns appear on the screen. The reporter takes a bite.

"This baozi filling is kind of tough. Not much taste," he says. "Can other people taste the difference?"

"Most people can't. It fools the average person," the maker says. "I don't eat them myself."

The police eventually showed up and shut down the operation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Latest News From The US Embassy

July 05, 2007
Subject: How To Deescalate Conflicts

The Embassy has seen more and more cases of minor confrontations
involving American citizens escalating into serious altercations. In a
few cases arguments over as little as 10 RMB have led to injuries,
property damage, police involvement and restitution. Identifying
potential confrontations before they become physical and extracting you
from the situation before blows are exchanged is the wisest course of
action. Becoming involved in a physical confrontation over 10 RMB just
isn't worth it.

While more easily said than done, this approach could require taking a
non-confrontational attitude even when you are in the right, and backing
down to someone in the wrong when the circumstances require it to avoid
physical contact.

The fact is that getting involved in a "fight" with someone anywhere is
a dangerous undertaking, but it is made even more dangerous by the
willingness of bystanders to get involved without warning.

To avoid situations that might lead to a physical confrontation we ask
that you please consider the following:

- If you become the target of attention of a drunken group or
individual, leave the area immediately. Do not try to talk to them,
reason with them, or argue with them. Once targeted, staying in the
same area and "ignoring" them normally makes matters worse. Get away
from them as soon as possible.

- Avoid situations involving individuals who are intoxicated,
arguing, and/or causing a disturbance. Leave the area before they
involve you in "their" problem.

- If you find yourself in a challenged situation, it is far better
to disengage immediately and leave the area. Fighting over a bump, a
perceived slight, a parking spot, 10 RMB, or a stare just isn't worth

- Avoid putting others into a situation where they feel challenged
and required to act. Be apologetic if the situation warrants, and do
what you can to indicate that no offense was intended.

- If someone tries to engage you in a fight, back away and remove
yourself from the area immediately. Should a confrontational situation
occur involving someone in your party, companions should, if the
situation permits, immediately step in and extract any would-be
combatants as quickly as possible. Once disengaged, leave the area

- If you are out with friends or acquaintances who drink to excess
urge them to return home as soon as possible. Many of the
confrontational situations reported to us involve those who have
consumed so much alcohol that their judgment is impaired.

Should you find yourself engaged in an altercation despite your best
efforts, do your best to defuse the situation as quickly as possible and
leave the area as soon as the situation allows. If the Police are
called to the scene, "fight" participants are normally taken to the
local police station to determine fault or work out a settlement. If
injuries are claimed the police may require the claimant to go to a
hospital to determine the severity of injuries. The severity of
injuries will determine the seriousness of any crime committed.

Cry Baby

I caught Chase practicing her fake cry the other day.
She was standing in front of a mirror, pretending to cry.
When I said, "Chase, what are you doing?"
She gave me a little coy look and then laughed.
I have to say, I wonder where this behavior originated.
It's not like Hubs and I stand in front of the mirror and pretend to cry.

All I can say is watch out boys!
This one is going to be able to turn the tears on without a problem.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pick Of The Day

I came across a new (well not so new) singer, Brandi Carlile.
Kind of a cross between the Indigo Girls and Cowboy Junkies.

I especially like The Story (lyrics below) and Wasted (written by her about her brother wasting his talent).

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
Yeah you do and I was made for you

You see the smile that's on my mouth
Is hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess
No, they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what I've been through but you do
And I was made for you...

She's sort of tough, but her voice cracks (which makes her more real to me) and she has been known to yodel on occasion. Gotta love her.

Jet lag, night terrors, tantrums before bed...

Chase has had a hard time readjusting to life in China. The time change really zapped her. Last night was the first night that we slept through the night in over a month.

Chase has had a really tough time getting to bed recently; she has actually started throwing tantrums - and then, an hour after she has fallen asleep, she wakes up screaming (even though she's not really awake).

Night terrors are one of the strangest, scarriest things I've encountered in child rearing. Our little darling isn't awake (we can't actually wake her no matter how hard we try). Her eyes are open but she doesn't see us.

It's like a scary movie, but worse, it's real. She's somewhere else and we can't seem to reach her or help her. The good news is that she settles down after about five minutes, but during that time we are so helpless. All we can do is hold her close and whisper "it's okay, you're okay, wake up, wake up...." We've tried turning on the lights, and using a cold, wet washcloth on her face. Nothing works.

I just can't imagine what is so big and bad and scary - what terrifies her beyond reason. What could possibly be so bad? She has never, ever, cried like that while awake.

So I read a book about night terrors. It recommended waking the child 15 minutes before the night terrors begin. But Chase's don't happen at the same time every night, so there is no way for me to do this.

Any tips? Anyone?

Nicholaas: Chase's Best Friend

Have you ever wondered how green tastes?
Chase did. So into her mouth went a green marker.
As a result, she has a slightly vampy look in the photo below.
The rose was a gift from Nicolaas.
His parents are hopeful they will marry soon so he can get his green card (joke!).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Our Chinese Dinner Party

I tried to prepare the meatballs ahead of time. Good thing I did, because they were horrible. I mean really bad. I'm sure they tasted just fine, but they didn't want to be balls.

So I begged Flora to cook a beef dish, over the weekend, as I figured it would probably be a good idea to have one meat dish that was Chinese - to ensure our guests didn't starve to death.

I consulted with my friend Kathy again - I needed a pep talk after failing miserably at meatballs. After our conversation, I realized I had to make yet another trip out to the store, to pick up pickled things and boiled peanuts for appetizers, rice bowls, soup bowls, soup spoons (I forgot the chopstick holders), beer, and egg custard tarts for dessert.

The rest of the dinner preparation was comical at best - the bell peppers I bought (to make a bell pepper salad - my second veggie dish, because you have to have two veggie dishes) were rotten on the bottom (so out they went). We made camponata instead. The rice had bugs in it (GROSS!), so off Hubs went at the last minute to find some new rice - he ended up returning with the rice, and our guests. Chase was going wild the whole time, taking everything that we were trying to put away - out again - until she finally fell asleep, just five minutes before everyone appeared.

I'm happy to report that the dinner went well. We had WAY too much food (which is what you strive for, otherwise you are rude), because neither of the wives came, which brought the count down to 4, from 6 - and I cooked for 8, to be safe.

Perhaps the hardest part of the evening was the fact that one of the guests did not speak English, so trying to include him on things was difficult. They ended up not eating much rice, not using the rice bowls, or the soup bowls, or drinking any beer.

I'm so glad we had this opportunity, and they were good guests, but there are a lot of cultural differences. For example, they went to take off their shoes to come in, and hubs said "don't worry, you can leave them on." It was pretty clear they were torn and that keeping their shoes on went against everything that was right in the world. I'm sure it's considered rude, and probably dirty, to keep shoes on in the home.

Hubs also noticed that they were having a hard time eating with our chopsticks because there are little blue knobs at the top, which makes it almost impossible to put the chopsticks together.

I'm sure they left thinking, "those silly Americans."

It's a good thing they didn't know we actually bought those chopsticks in Thailand, which is silly in itself, as the Thais do not use chopsticks.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dinner Party

On Saturday, we are expecting two couples (both Chinese) for dinner.
One couple speaks English; the other does not.
I must make them dinner.

Now I'm stressing.

Why? Because I want to make a dinner that they will like, which is actually quite difficult given (a) the Chinese palate - they enjoy pickled, salted and soyed dishes, (b) there needs to be excessive amounts of food, with many options - to showcase our greatfulness to them and (c) the fact I only have a tiny oven and two burners on my stove-top.

So I consulted a friend who has lived here for two years and she told me:
(a) Make spagetthi and meatballs
(b) Don't serve bread, they won't eat it
(c) Consider serving cold pork roast as well - there should be at least two meat dishes
(d) Serve a hot vegetable
(e) Do not serve Western-style salad (uncooked veggies are not really consumed here)
(f) Serve fruit and egg custard pies for dessert
(g) Make sure there are many different dishes - lots of food - as it is VERY bad if you offer small portions or if you (G-forbid) run out of food. There should be lots left over.

So I had a quick chat when I got home with Flora. She confirmed it all - especially the part about having a lot of food on the table. She said to make sure I had at least two vegetable and two meat dishes. Egads.

So here's the plan:
-Spaghetti with meatballs
-Roasted carrots and leeks
-Cold, cooked vegetable salad
-Some kind of chicken dish

Dessert: fruit

Anyone know a good one pot, Italian, crock pot, chicken dish? Maybe I should roast a chicken with vegetables, but I'm afraid it won't fit into my easy-bake oven.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dearest Daughter: 16 Months

Dear Chase,

You would not believe how much happiness you bring to your father, myself - not to mention everyone you meet. You're like magic. You actually sparkle. People can't help themselves when they are near you. They love your smile, your eyes, your fearlessness, your adventurous spirit, how happy you are, how sweet you are, how clever you are and your sense of humor.

I can only hope that as you travel through life that you retain these qualities. That you approach all challenges in life as you have in the past 16-months. Nothing phases you. If you fall, you stand up, brush yourself off, and continue what you were doing. You are already proving to be so resiliant.

You travel as if you were born to see the world. And while we are scaling down on our trips, you have already been to four cities in China, Thailand and Singapore in the last 8 months.

Your father and I just celebrated 12 years of knowing each other (8.5 years of marriage) - and of the things we've seen and done, we are most in awe and the proudest of you, my dear.

We love you so.

And Another Report...

Jul 04, 2007 - The Straits Times - BEIJING engineered the removal of nearly a third of a World Bank report on pollution in China due to concern that findings on premature deaths could provoke 'social unrest'.

The report, produced in cooperation with Chinese government ministries over several years, found that about 750,000 people die prematurely in China each year, mainly from air pollution.

China's State Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and Health Ministry asked the World Bank to cut the calculations of premature deaths from the report when a draft was finished last year, according to World Bank advisers and Chinese officials.

Advisers to the research team said ministries told this information, including a detailed map showing which parts of the country saw the most deaths, was too sensitive.

'The World Bank was told that it could not publish this information. It was too sensitive and could cause social unrest,' one adviser to the study told the Financial Times.

Sixteen of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China, according to previous World Bank research.

Mr Guo Xiaomin, a retired Sepa official who coordinated the Chinese research team, said some material was omitted from the pollution report due to concern that the methodology was unreliable.

But he also said such information on premature deaths 'could cause misunderstanding'.

'We did not announce these figures. We did not want to make this report too thick,' he said in an interview.

The pared-down report, titled Cost Of Pollution In China, has yet to be officially launched but a version, which can be downloaded from the Internet, was released at a conference in Beijing in March.

Missing from this report are the research project's findings that high air pollution levels in Chinese cities are leading to the premature deaths of 350,000 to 400,000 people each year.

Another 300,000 people die prematurely each year from exposure to poor air indoors, according to advisers.

In addition, around 60,000 premature deaths were attributable to poor-quality water that caused severe diarrhoea as well as stomach, liver and bladder cancer.

The mortality information was 'reluctantly' excised by the World Bank from the published report, according to advisers to the research project.

Sepa and the Health Ministry declined to comment.

The World Bank said the findings of the report were still being discussed with the government.

A World Bank spokesman said: 'The conference version of the report did not include some of the issues still under discussion.'

She said the findings of the report were due to be released as a series of papers soon.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007


So it looks as though bathing Chase in mosquito repellant, using the mosquito zapper and the mosquito tent will keep the pests away from our little sweetheart.

Unfortunately, it was I, who was bitten last night. Three times. The bumps are huge.

Monday, July 02, 2007

2 a.m.

Chase made the time zone transition from China to the US without a problem, but she is having a hard time making the adjustment back.

I foolishly believed we kicked it yesterday. She was doing really well - and then fell into a deep slumber from 4:30 p.m. and slept until 2 a.m. Hubs and I couldn't wake her. We even tried the ole, "look, there's Santa!" routine. Not even a flicker of the eye lashes. She clearly needed the rest.

And so, at 2 a.m. when she awoke, we did some dishes, re*organized* the cabinets, colored, and I tried my hardest to bore her to sleep, which finally happened at 4:30 a.m. She proceeded to sleep for another hour and a half, and as I could not drag my sorry, sleepy body off the bed, Hubs took the 6 a.m.-7:30 a.m. shift, at which point he woke me as he needed to go to work.

It was about this time when I noticed she had four new mosquito bites on her legs, which means she now has a total of about NINE bites (at least). After seeing (the day before) she had been bitten, I went out and bought an electric mosquito killer, one of those thingies that kills mosquitoes using high frequency. Unfortunately it wasn't on all night - or maybe one of those mosquitoes was immune to the pitch (although I did find two dead mosquitoes on the window sill this morning). So now I have mosquito repellant (to soak her in before putting her to bed) and a full blown mosquito net that is set up like a tent over her bed.

I remember thinking a while back how "cool" those nets are - (I've always seen them in movies so there is something in my brain that links them to hot, romantic nights) and now that we actually need them, I'm not loving them so much. In fact, they now create more problems, because I have to zip Chase into her bed at night - not something that is easy to do - and I know it will drive her NUTS if she wakes up and is suddenly stuck in her bed.

At any rate, Chase managed to get through the morning without a nap and then fell asleep when the clock struck noon. She slept poorly for about 30 minutes and is now running around, trying so hard to keep her eyes open. We have a play date at 3 p.m. with Ho Di - and frankly, I feel as though I'm going to fall asleep before she does.

Seems odds are very high she'll crash at 4 p.m. today, too.

So the question becomes - do I wake her after an hour or let her sleep?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Back To Dalian

After flying for what felt like f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and a very long, unexpected delay in Korea, we finally rolled into Dalian around 9 p.m. last night.

Chase, unfortunately, had no intention of sleeping (having slept quite a bit on the plane, unlike her parents). She wanted to play with all of her toys- at least twice. She was wound up like a top. Spinning out of control until almost 2 a.m.

Finally she crashed. But woke up screaming about 20 minutes later. After a little snuggle, she slept again until about 3 a.m. Waking up once again by screaming. I ran to her room and found her standing up, in the corner of her room (I'm pretty sure she sleepwalks). She fell asleep once again and then woke up for good at about 4:30 a.m.

I was so tired I was completely disoriented when I woke up.
Hubs confided in me that he was too.

Returning to Dalian filled me with mixed emotions (strong perhaps due to sheer exhaustion). This city is great. The people are wonderful. Our lifestyle is outrageous. But I miss the US. I miss how easy everything is there; how safe everything feels (latest news here is the FDA has banned the purchase of fish and shrimp from China, which just happens to be what we have been living on for the past 6 months).

I feel more confident, now that I am armed with hydrogene peroxide (for removing pesticides from vegetables) and a heavy-duty water filter, which I have already put to use -- we found green algae growing in our *drinking* water bottle this morning.

Calgon, take me away.