It’s A Team Sport

21 04 2011

I was in the supermarket waiting at the checkout when I spotted this gem written on a pack of condoms. 


I think it’s even more hilarious because it’s printed on the extra free condoms.  Just how many people are taking part in this “team sport”?


Spring Festival Aftermath?

18 02 2011

Yesterday I popped into Carrefour to purchase some bits and pieces.  I’m disappointed that they didn’t have any chocolate finger biscuits, which they haven’t had for about a month (not a good sign for future imported foodstuffs if you ask me), real cheese (though of course they had the “plastic” sliced stuff), butter or hamburger buns.  In fact the bread section is pretty lacklustre and expensive, so I tend to buy my bread elsewhere.  In fact it hasn’t been a great few weeks at the supermarkets, especially annoyed at my trip to Metro last week when they were out of stock of most of the things I wanted.  Let’s hope this is just a temporary setback due to the Spring Festival.  My favourite restaurant on campus is also out of my favourite dishes at the moment.  Why can’t these places plan in advance for post-spring festival demand?

Anyway, whilst I was browsing the shelves, I did notice this boo-boo caught my eye:


If you can’t read it (sorry for the poor quality photo), it’s “Brown Sugar with Cane”.  I don’t think so…

Making Roses

15 02 2011

Last week I ventured out into Xiamen to buy some baking supplies.  I wanted to buy a pastry bag and icing tips to decorate the cupcakes I so love to make.  I searched on taobao, and after making an ill-advised trip to Metro to see if they sold what I was looking for, and it turned out they did but were out of stock.  They were also out of stock of most of the other things I wanted to buy.  When I got back from Metro, I remembered that you can search by location on taobao, and found some places in Xiamen that sold baking supplies.  So off I went, and eventually found one of the places that was based in an apartment block which was not so easy to find.  In fact one guard I asked at another apartment block said he couldn’t understand, despite having the address written in Chinese which the other two guards I asked had no problem understanding; I guess he just wasn’t feeling helpful.  Anyway, I managed to buy a pastry bag, 24 icing tips and a tip adapter (so you can easily switch the tips mid-icing).  I have however discovered I’m going to need a bigger tip adapter for some of the tips (they didn’t have any at the place I went to), and probably another pastry bag for the large adapter. 

I made some cakes, and since it was valentines day I decided to ice them as roses.  Here’s how they came out.


It was my first time at trying this, and I think they’re not bad.  There’s definitely room for improvement, which just means I’ll have to make more delicious cupcakes.  Oh no!

Carrefour II

17 12 2010

Last night I went to Zhongshan Road to try and buy some Christmas wrapping paper for some gifts I want to give.  I noticed the new Carrefour supermarket, Xiamen’s second, had opened, so I went in for a look.


I wasn’t able to find any Christmas wrapping paper (or any other Christmas stuff, missed opportunity there…) in there amongst the throngs of shoppers, but they do have a very impressive imported food section, second only to Metro’s, and putting the recently opened Tesco to shame.  Not only do they have a large amount of imported food from many different places, they also have a wide selection of imported alcohol, especially red wine, though they were lacking in spirits such as vodka and whisky.  In fact I don’t think I saw any. 


As you can see, they have Stella, Boddingtons, Newcastle Brown Ale, Leffe and more.  Quite the selection for the beer drinkers out there.



As for the food, they had a good selection of cereals, biscuits, pasta and sauces, tinned goods, chocolate and more.  It’s definitely the best selection in any supermarket in the Siming area of Xiamen.  The main thing I thought they were lacking was proper cheese; they only sold the sliced cheese which you can get anywhere.  I didn’t buy much, only some baked beans, chocolate fingers and some pasta, but these will tide me over until my next trip to Metro for the best imported food selection in Xiamen, but I think I’ll make this Carrefour my new regular supermarket to shop at.

Chinese Handwriting

30 11 2010

On Saturday I ordered some nice woolly, thick socks from a taobao seller to take with me when I go to Harbin so my feet don’t freeze.  When I emptied the parcel I was sent, the seller had included this note:


Apart from my name, I can’t be sure of any of the Chinese characters.  I think the final one is 欢, and maybe the first two are 尊敬.  Anyone care to put me out of my misery?  If this is readable by your average Chinese Joe, then it seems my ability to read handwriting is going to come very very late in my Chinese studies.

No Japanese For You!

2 03 2010

Ah, Tuesday. One of the days I don’t have any classes. A lie in is a sure thing. That is until some guy is using a pneumatic drill outside your building at 8:30a.m. Yes, that’s right, 8:30a.m. doing construction (or should that be destruction) work. Anyway, he didn’t stop so I had to get up. Since I ordered my fan for my Macbook last night from taobao, and having some annoying experiences before with that particular website, I checked to see if I’d had any messages, fortunately there weren’t any, so it looked like my order was going smoothly.

After whiling away the morning, I decided I would go and have a listen to the “Japanese as a Second Foreign Language” class. I entered an extremely busy classroom (more on this in a moment…) and found myself a seat at the back since that’s where the only free seats were. Eventually all the seats were full and there were many students standing. The teacher arrived and informed us we were moving to a bigger classroom. So out everybody went, and into another classroom which was barely bigger than the one we were just in. However as I was at the back of classroom 1 and thus one of the last to leave, I was now without a seat in classroom 2. The solution? Obviously everyone who didn’t have a seat must be kicked out of the class. Not really an optimal solution though. With regards to arranging a classroom, had the teacher/anyone involved in organizing this class looked at the class selection system, it is pretty clear it’s a popular class, with the number of students who want to take it about 110/80. Yes, that’s right, the system has an allocation for each class, though still allows more students to enroll. So they should really arrange a classroom big enough for 110 students, or split the class. Anyway, I’m now reconsidering choosing this class unless they can organize something better.

After I was kicked out of the class, I received a text message informing me that my computer fan would be arriving later in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised by this since I ordered it about 6:30p.m. last night, so wasn’t honestly expecting it until Thursday or Friday at the earliest. I was so happy I decided to go through the trouble of confirming the receipt of the fan immediately after I’d installed it and confirmed it was working so the seller could get their cash straight away (when you use taobao the money goes into an escrow service) and gave positive ratings. After two annoyances my day turned out pretty good.

My Treasure Arrived

13 12 2009

Today I went on my final ‘really long’ run before the marathon.  I was supposed to run 20 miles, but after 3 hours of running I made it to 18 miles and I was completely knackered (not a good sign since that’s 8 miles short of a marathon).  I’ll just make sure I eat lots of high-carb food the week before the marathon to keep my energy levels up.

Also, today my order from Taobao finally came, though it was much later than I’d have liked.  In fact, I ended up having to order from a different seller because the original seller was out of stock, however I didn’t find this out until about 4 days after I placed my order since taobao has the worst notification system (it’s pretty much non-existent) I’ve come across.  Anyway, despite the new seller changing the order status to ‘sent’ about 1 hour after I ordered, it was not until 2 days after that the product was actually sent.  Then for some reason the EMS express delivery took 2 days to deliver it.  I’m not impressed.  When I chose EMS delivery, the most expensive option, there is a clear reason for that, and that is that I want the goods ASAP (i.e within 1 or 2 days, not 5!).  So my first experience of trying to buy something from taobao did not go so smoothly.  Unfortunately some things are very hard to find on other websites/in shops, so I think taobao is going to be the ‘go-to guy’ when I need to buy certain hard to find products.