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j_luc_pitard
31 May 2008 @ 01:20 pm
Long post.  I'll add links later (kids need lunch) but I wanted to get something up since I've been back a week. 

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I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
25 May 2008 @ 10:38 am
Got up yesterday around 0620 in Chengdu and went to bed around 2130 in Maryland.  Same day.  Damn was that a long day!  I think it was the first night since I left that I got a full night's sleep, however.  Couldn't find the melatonin, but I didn't seem to need it.  Woke up when the family got back from Chestertown and again around 0800.  Very nice.  I don't have to be back at work until Tuesday, so I'll see the local friends at the Federally Mandated BBQ. 

I have so much to tell you guys about, like my new best friend, the day in the life post that lj ate, getting used to aftershocks, being on TV/asking questions at the first press conf, how amazingly good the food was, etc.  I would do that all now, but I've got a million things to do now that I'm home.  For starters, there's hugging these kids for hours on end, then gardening, cleaning, washing my few clothes (I packed light... did I tell you about that?), and the like.

More to come, but for now... c'mere you cute kids... 
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
20 May 2008 @ 10:13 am

My beloved father has always said I'm a leftist commie pinko, but here I am in the belly of the beast and I find that... um, no.  I can't say I grok this governing style.  The central government here has been pretty wise in it's handling of this crisis versus say Burma, but it's still miles away from open.  The leaders were flown out here and soon after the tragedy were seen speaking with soldiers, survivors and volunteers.  The images were all over their media, except on CNN which was being jammed for offensive comments.  They are back on the air, following some kowtowing of course.  Monday started three days of official mourning that was intended to help people get back into some form of normalcy here, but a report that was broadcast on local TV has changed that, at least in this area.  It was an almost instant panic that set in after the broadcast.  

Today we thought it had died down some, but it had become more of a paranoia than panic.  People went home after camping out in their cars on the roads outside of the city for example, but only to get more blankets that they'd fled without.  The sale of tents went through the roof.  Military surplus tents that should've sold for 60 yuan were going for 400 this morning and you had to get a ticket because "it would be illegal to price gouge", so you had to go somewhere else to exchange it for the actual tent.  Later in the day tents were going for 600 and 650 yuan.  Mind you, they were better than the 400 yuan ones, but still!  Just a day earlier they would've been normal priced, not 100% inflated.  I had seen tents for sale at camping supply places and it seemed like they were going well, but not in a crazed way like today.  Tarps were sold out, according to one of our reporters.  I saw very long lines in front of sports stores with closed front.  On the way back from the closed bookstore (closed due to the three days of mourning) the metal sheeting rolled up for lines of happy campers who came out with space blankets and tents in hand.  We didn't ask how much they spent.  A shorter line of people waited to get in.

We went to a department store to get a whiteboard and maybe 80% (unscientific, but you get what you pay for) of the people were there for blankets, tents or padding.  In fact, you know those foam children's blocks?  I saw at least 15 of them in the 2 hours I was outside this afternoon.  I think the stores ran out of proper foam sleeping pads and people were either making do or figuring they could use them for the kids later anyway.

Well, that's all from the street.  And, no Dad, I'm not a commie (even if I was given a nationalistic t-shirt the other day...)

 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
18 May 2008 @ 11:53 am
 Had a really nice post about my day, but it was eaten.  Sorry.  It was an awesome day.  So awesome in fact, that it's left me too tired to try and recreate the post.  More tomorrow (which is only 5 minutes away here, but 12 hours and 5 minutes back home) when I get up.

Love to all 

[edit 5/19- I lied about reposting the long post today.  It looks like another great day, however.  If I do get some downtime, I'll try to write up a post in Word or something.  That way it won't die when the computer goes to sleep!]
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
15 May 2008 @ 11:27 pm
It's hard to access livejournal.  Looks like it's on the banned list so I have to jump through hoops a little.  I haven't gotten outside much, but went out to eat last night.  Chinese food, of course!  The food here is good.  I'd expected to see more of the impact of a 7+ earthquake on daily life, but it looks like Chengdu is going about life normally with a few important exceptions.  There's a high number of forced out into tents due to damage to their buildings.  The airport looked more like a bus terminal with groups of people camping out to wait for flights.  There are also people here who've come in from the damaged areas, but mainly the people seem to be staying in their villages to deal with the rescue and recovery.  Some question whether the government will rebuild the villages or move the people to the cities.  The central government is getting high marks from the affected people, but their local government is getting low marks.  The Red Cross exists here, but is an arm of the government and hasn't been the sort of help that it was for us during Katrina, for example.  Another notable exception to the norm here is the lack of traffic.  To me, there's plenty of it, but I'm assured that it is a ghost town compared with regular life.  Pollution is also lower due to the recent rain as well as the lack of intense traffic.

That's all I have for now.

Love and Peas to all.
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
 
j_luc_pitard
So, despite the horror of a 7+ earthquake devastating the province I'm flying to tomorrow, the good news is I'm all packed and ready for the gig.  Got a call today from work asking me to take 2 more cases of equipment (on top of the 3 I already have- 2 heavy, 1 not heavy ) and was moaning about that when my daughter asked if anyone was hurt in the disaster.  Once I cashed my reality check, I told her that yes, many people were and my having to carry too many boxes was nothing compared with pulling rocks off of  a loved one's body.   (No, I didn't say it that bluntly to her, she's only 10.)

None of our people who are in Chengdu were hurt, though three were stranded in Beijing since the Chinese blocked flights to the province for the time being.  It should be cleared up before I arrive, but we'll see.  I hadn't planned any sight seeing time in Beijing, but fate could have other plans for me.  At least sight seeing in the terminal at the airport, maybe.  I once saw France that way (heading toward a cholera epidemic maybe I shouldn't travel internationally?)
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
08 May 2008 @ 03:55 pm
Black shirt today (but not in a fascist way)

*snap* *snap* for the beat poet
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
07 May 2008 @ 05:55 pm
Don't be too shocked, but I'm trying to plan ahead this week.  We're going out to see Iron Man at the Uptown Friday night if anyone's interested.  We're leaving the kids behind (hopefully we'll find a sitter in time) and going out to play.  In my book, there's no better theater to see superhero movies at!

In other news... I'm trying to get stuff organized for the family and get packed at work.  I've read the TSA's dos and don't info, so now I'm thinking of getting a solid bar conditioner to go with my solid shampoo (avoid the 3 ounce rule!).  The shampoo also works well as soap, but the hotel will probably have some of that.  I might get some Dr. Bronner's soap so I can do laundry in the sink, though.  Mother's Day is Sunday and then I leave Tuesday.  Little bits has a chorus performance that night as well, but I'll miss it.  She can use some of my overtime to pay for therapy, says I!
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
06 May 2008 @ 08:22 pm
I'm feeling so excited about my upcoming trip!  I've got the carnet sent in (of course someone after the fact caused me to change one peice of gear for another but it won't _really_ matter... I hope) and most of the gear packed.  I'm reading manuals for a few of the new technologies I'm bringing and  now I'm (finally) starting to think about the language.  They speak Mandarin, although  their own dialect of it.  Basically what this means is that I've got zero chance of surviving without a translator holding my hand.  Still, good fun to try.
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper
 
 
j_luc_pitard
05 May 2008 @ 05:53 am
"The Lord Honors Your Heart's Intentions"  Huh?  That was the message greeting me at the Chevron on my way to work.  I've mentioned this place before (or intended to... heh) but I get a kick out of either arguing with them or (rarely) agreeing to the things they post on their sign.  These one sided arguments occur at about 0320 and 35 miles per hour so no one else gets to hear them, but they keep me amused.  They have the right to post what they like and I have the right to vehemently disagree.  I wouldn't get gas there anyway since their prices are insanely high.  There are about 2 or 3 places in our neighborhood that have decent gas prices and then there are places where you can be ripped off by any one of four gas stations along two blocks.  The "inspirational" Chevron is from the latter grouping.

Here's where they may have come up with the idea, but does x=y?   I don't think so.
 
 
I feel: chipperchipper