Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Go Figure

Of course. It always happens this way. I had no sooner hung up the phone with another mum (after I told her I would skip a play date due to the fact her child was sick), when I noticed Chase's nose had started to run - again. Oh, great, another tooth, I thought to myself.

This morning, however, the poor darling woke up with red cheeks. They were so rosy they looked like they had been painted on.

And so begins quarantine. I called and cancelled everything. Her music and language lessons. My language lesson. I stuffed her full of kiwi fruit this morning (vit. c), passed on the yogurt (to reduce mucus generation) and have been following her with tissues all day. The hardest part is trying to catch what comes out after a sneeze - before she does. Otherwise she wipes it all over her face. Her eyebrows and eyelashes will then stick together or form unusual shapes, much like the hair of a teenage boy who is using gel in his hair for the first time.

And so begins the waiting, watching, monitoring. Is she eating? Is she behaving normally? Does she have a temperature?

And to think I was just thanking my lucky stars that she had not had a runny nose for weeks.

The Car

As mentioned in previous posts, the transportation situation in Dalian is, well, frightening at best. Our best mode of transport is by taxi. The typical taxi does not have seatbelts and reeks of cigarette smoke. You are extremely lucky if the handles, which are used to operate the windows (1) are there, or (2) work.

And then there's the fact that taxis view red lights as decorative objects, pedestrians as nuisances, and sidewalks as elevated highways.

This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to actually leave my apartment. The fact is, I have to get Chase to/from appointments, I have to go shopping, and I have to do this all without a car seat. It makes me ill just thinking about it. So I try really hard not to.

The good news, is that hubs is working on securing a car and driver, which will actually provide safe transport (yes, we have a car seat that is ready to go!). He has been working with an agent to determine which cars are in our price range - but they must include a driver, as we have heard that Western drivers are often targets. You end up in court, and of course you can't understand a thing, and are taken for everything. Not fun. Plus all signs are in Chinese. Sure, we navigated through Europe, but reading characters on a map is, well, beyond difficult. (I can just see me saying to Hubs, "look for the exit with a sign that has a box with a couple dashes coming from the center, one dash from the right and it has what looks to be a hat on the top.")

So Hubs had four cars pull up in front of his office yesterday. With two representatives from each car company. He sat in the back of each, determined how much leg room/head room each offered, etc. Sadly, the one I was rooting for ended up being the one with the least headroom (he couldn't even sit up straight in it!).

After a thorough investigation of each, with a huge party of car representatives taking note of his every move, he almost decided on one. But it wasn't the car he wanted. So, he contacted another party to see if he could get a better deal on the car he wanted, and presto, change-o, it looks like we can get the car he wants - and it is within our price range. Fab-U.

So come Febbie, we'll have a safe mode of transport. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that - although I must say, I won't miss the driving on the sidewalk, the move to outrun a trolley in a lane with oncoming traffic, making a right across oncoming traffic from a far left lane ... I wish I could get some good action photos, but really you must be in the car as it can only be enjoyed if you are in a zen state.