This phrase seems to be summing up my experience in northeastern China.

I can’t get a map in English - they appear not to exist, or at least, no one seems to be able to give me one - and getting one on the internet always yields one in Chinese. (ETA that I went out yesterday and navigated by taking photos of every street corner and landmark I passed, like a little breadcrumb trail of pics in my phone.)

The nearest shops and restaurants are an hour’s walk away and it’s -4 Celsius with a stiff breeze.

I went out of my hotel today to try to buy stuff anyway today, but my host insisted on coming along, and kind of set her own agenda and we didn’t get much done. I tried to buy some warm tights so I could go for longer exploration walks without freezing like I have been, but because the shop she took me to was kind of... I dunno, cheapish?, it only had warm tights for very short women. I am too tall. Also, they don’t make shoes for my size in China.

I also tried to buy stuff with my card. Couldn’t do it, had to go to the bank again. Seems to be the way.


Got back with some milk for my coffee, went to plug in my room refrigerator and put the milk in it, fridge started making a howl-growl. I called the front desk. Guy comes up, unplugs the fridge, announces, “It’s ok now.” Sigh.

Things that are broken/not working in my room: the shower drain, the towel rack, the shower door frame, the heater (works a little), two light bulbs, the hair dryer.


They rang my room bell at 8 a.m. this morning (Saturday) to see if I wanted my room cleaned. I was still asleep and not decent.

They’ve started bringing me food cold when I go to the restaurant, which appears to be my only option given that, again, the nearest cafes are an hour away. (WOULD HAPPILY WALK THAT IF I HAD CLOTHING MRRRRRRGHHHHH.) I’ve had them microwave six different things for me but they don’t seem to have gotten the point. Not sure what’s up there, but I feel like if there’s a Chinese version of Behind Closed Ovens, I am now featured in it.


So to recap, it sucks to hang out in my hotel, but there’s nowhere else to really go either. I’ve finished the work I came here to do and all the people I would ostensibly have hung out with have now headed home for spring break. Here till Wednesday afternoon.