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Off to Chengdu

In a taxi on my way to the train station to pick up Aiyun. We have to leave my place tomorrow morning around 4:30am to get to the airport for a 7:00am flight to Chengdu. It's my spring break so we're taking advantage of the opportunity to explore another famous part of China. Famous? You bet. Chengdu is the center of the panda universe and sits in the middle of the Sichuan province. I'm not really that into "burn my face off" meals, but I'm confident we'll find something tasty.

The size of China is remarkably similar to the continental United States. The distance to Chengdu from Hangzhou is about 1100 miles. Flight will be approximately three hours.

Aiyun is struggling with a problem in her lower back. Latest report is a bursa issue and not a herniated disc. Going to need to be careful we don't make it worse with too much walking. Each night we talk on the phone she seems more optimistic that it won't be a problem. Perhaps wishful thinking. Patience will be the order of the week. We won't do anything that forces us to be in a hurry. To help with travel she got a new suitcase with wheels, ... and a motor, ... and a seat. Have a look...

Yep. Thats my smily girl. :Heart:

In mom news my buddy Brian bailed me out and picked up my moms tax forms from her old residence. I was able to complete her taxes and Medicaid application all in one day. The plan is for her to be officially on Medicaid by May 1st. If not, bad things. Her monthly bill at her new place will be close to $7000 and she will have an income of about $2300. Add that to her new account balance of $45 and we're facing some serious issues. That's what she has left right now. $45. Her total resources are down to $45. Well it's actually $45.80. I guess it would be fair to round that up to $46. I can't imagine a future where I'm in that same position. Currently my net worth is about $750,000. I plan to have it well over $1 million by the time I retire. Here's to hoping I don't screw this up and become a burden on Moira. I think about it often. I don't want her to have to face a future situation similar to what we're going through with my mom. She made some very poor financial decisions over the past twenty years. I'm trying to be responsible and I keep thinking of Moira. To be fair, I'm thinking of Aiyun too. Yeah, we're to that phase of a relationship.

At the airport I ran face first into a cultural difference. Near our gate I attempted to purchase a large vanilla mocha. It's generally either that or a peppermint mocha. The lady working the counter was a bit older for a barista. The concept of adding a flavor to a mocha was beyond her realm of feasibility. She told Aiyun "but it's already sweet". I happily played dumb and thanked her for helping me to understand. Food and drinks in China are far far less sweet than the states. If you have a slice of pie or cake you'll notice right away. The frosting generally tastes way more bland that what the average American would be used to. It doesn't take long to realize all the extra sugar isn't necessary. It's noticeable in whip cream, soda, and candy too. Taking this one step farther the empirical results are all around. I don't see many obese people in China, and it's not because they're starving. It's a fundamental difference in diet.

Adding onto this idea, there's another factor at work. Strangers aren't the same here in China as they are in the states. This is a giant country of a single family. It's a very foreign concept and it's taken me a long time to really believe. I've heard about it over and over, but it's shows up in several ways. The barista didn't want to put the extra flavor in my mocha because it's unhealthy. She's looking out for me like my aunt Wendy would. It's not like everyone is nicer here in China, I think it's that a higher proportion of people in the states are more afraid of each other. Hmm. Not sure I've properly or accurately expressed my thoughts here. I may need to come back to this at a later date and write a bunch more about it. I've mentioned it before, the lack of diversity plays a big role in this dynamic. I'm confident that the diversity we have in ther states adds some great aspects to our society, but it would be ignorant to believe it doesn't also come with challenges.

We arrived in our hotel and Aiyun did her traditional pose in the lobby.

Tune in tomorrow for a report on a Sichuan hot pot experience. My wips ah on fwire.

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