|Diary May 2007|
We have joined a fitness club a few weeks ago and we go swimming 2 to 3 times per week now. The atmosphere at the club is very different to the clubs in Holland. No fashion statements and a facility that is being used by everyone from very young to very old. It is open 7 days a week from 5 am until 11:00 pm. Like everything over here it is quite a large facility for all kinds of sports and classes. No tabletennis though.
The rules in and around the swimming pool are a bit funny though. There are 2 large message boards with all the rules but I remember only a few.
- You need to take a shower before you go into the pool....... That is a relief.
- You are not allowed to release any body fluids into the pool....... I am happy to hear that.
- You are not allowed to blow your nose or spit in the pool........ Great.
- Only 2 swimmers are allowed in 1 lane.
We probably broke a few rules (not the ones above) so we are in the danger zone. A typical penalty over here is $1000,- and 1 year to prison.
Talking about rules, there is another one I can't get used to. They put STOP signs everywhere and although you can't see any cars for miles you are supposed to stop. Not almost stop but you have to come to a complete stand stil. Although everyone does it over here, I haven't had the patience to actually stop completely if there is no traffic around. Things are even worse at a pedestrian crossover. If you see anyone even close to a crossover you are supposed to stop.
So Lu shifu, Linjun, Xiao Li, Xiao Fang and Menghan. I was so happy to hear that Chinese driving licenses are NOT valid in the USA. If you ever come to visit us we will arrange transport for you. Otherwise I am afraid you would end up in jail approx. 5 minutes after you have arrived and I don't think they serve chinese food in jail here. The worst thing that you could do is to pass a schoolbus that has stopped to let the children out. Also if the buss is driving in opposite direction you have to stop. Not stopping for a schoolbus is a very serious mistake and there are a lot of schoolbusses on the road so you have to pay attention.
I cannot think of a better extreme difference between China and USA. It must be the traffic and safety in general. Holland is probably somewhere in between but much closer to the USA. The one similarity that I noticed is that also in the USA, people don't keep the right lane if possible and passing on the right is probably not allowed but everyone does it.
This weekend we started exploring the southern part of Rochester with a group of people. This is Hemlock lake, 30 minutes drive from Rochester and really in the middle of nowhere. Rochester city is using this lake for their water supply because it is so clean. No boats allowed on this lake and no houses build close to it. On the way to Hemlock you only pass a few very small deserted hamlets but the views are wonderfull. The wildlife in these area's is quite rich but also in Pultneyville you can see many deer, turkeys, eagles, squirrels and rakoons.
During the hike we met a few nice people with whom we went to the little theatre later in the evening. Quite a mixed group, a russian PhD in biochemics, 2 high school teachers, an accupunturist and a psychologist. Downtown Rochester is actually quite a nice area to go out in the weekend but you need to know where to go and not end up in the wrong neighbourhood. Especially not in a yellow Toyota Cruiser.
Below you can see that the weather can be quite agressive near Ontario lake. A huge amount of trees just snapped.
This is Chimney Bluffs, 20 minutes drive east of Pultneyville. These rocks are famous in the area and the best view you get from the lake but I tried to make some pictures from land.
This week Ron was visiting from Venray and John from Philadelphia. Plenty of choice for lunch, we have in our building 2 restaurants and 1 iceshop. I feel sorry for my Venray collegues who have to bring sandwhiches every day.
This picture is quite unique because it captures a rare moment. I am wearing a tie and Ron isn't. That never happens. I decided to wear one because of our visit to Kodak.
Around the XPS Office
Fairport is a very popular town in Monroe County and actually according the statics 1 of the 100 best places to live in the USA. Not sure whether that is correct but it is a very nice little town. Below the lift bridge and in the background our office building.
We have restaurants but also a very nice terras. Too bad our wireless network is just out of range.
Speaks for itself.
Now the weather is improving it is getting a little busier on the Erie canal.
One of many churches in Fairport.
Just a typical street in Fairport.
This weekend we spend at New York City because Ron was visiting us and also because that is our favorite city. So alive and 24 hrs. action. From Rochester it is about a 6 hour drive but very relaxed on cruise control. It took us 1 hour though to find the hotel in New Jersey and we almost got trapped in Holland tunnel. We seem to have a different hotel everytime we go there and everytime we have a hard time finding the hotels in New Jersey.
This place we saw on our way to NYC.
Empire State Building is one of the places you have to see when you are in NYC for the first time. After 911 this place got very busy because previously many people went to the twin towers in stead because they were much higher.
This is a view from the top of the Empire State Building. You can clearly see the Chrysler building and the Brooklyn bridge. The view is similar to Shanghai but in this building you are much closer to the other skyscrapers. NYC = 6 million people ; Shanghai = 16 million. Not everything is bigger in the USA.
On the right hand side of Suzanne you can see the oldest skyscraper of NYC. The Flatiron building. A tiny building compared to the much bigger newer buildings.An appartment in this building costs a fortune. Not under $1 million.
Statue of Liberty you can see from a distance. You can actually get into this statue but it takes at least half a day because of the long waiting lines.
The New York Stock Exchange in Wallstreet was heavily guarded again. Police everywhere.
This is the firetruck (Ladder 10) next to Ground Zero. Whenever you see and hear one of these trucks driving through the city with their loud sirenes you get goosebumps. Very impressive. It makes you think again of 911.
Ground Zero. It is unbelievable but the hole is still there. They are busy rebuilding but you almost can't see any progress compared to last time we were there.
Another place you shouldn't miss when visiting NYC is Time Square with all its theatre's.
Very nice and very large TV screen with M&M commercials. It is unbelievable how they sell this product. It is such a simple candy but they turn it into a real large business with lots and lots of M&M products. A large 2 level store with only M&M products. Marketing is everything.
Oprah Winfrey was in town presenting a show in the Broadway theatre.
Last but not least the beautiful Central Park. A great place to visit on a Sunday morning so we did.
Last week was apple blossom festival which is a big event for the Pultneyville-Williamson area. This area is very wel known for apples, peaches, cherries etc. Along the lake road you find many farmers that grow these fruits. Part of this festival was also a parade which we saw. We almost felt like in a movie, difficult to explain.
I think a long long time ago we also had games like this in Holland. If you hit the red spot with a ball the person sitting on the chair will fall in the water.
In the parade there were many apple blossom queens, al kinds of queens actually.
The lady in waiting.........(I guess waiting for the other queen to fall off the car)
Yes, even a dairy queen. Iets dergelijks als zeeuwsmeisje.
We could't stop laughing but also the citizen of the year was in the parade. You cannot imagine anyone wanting to be in this position in Holland but over here they are proud to be in the parade. The owner of the Corvette was very proud too :-) See, Americans are certainly different than the dutch .....but in a good way . Proud of what they are and proud of what they do and not afraid to show it. That also explains:
- the employee of the month awards;
- employee of the month parking space.
- Car stickers: " proud to be an american", " mom of ....university student", " supporting our troops", " crazy about the navy" , "parent of a soldier"
Very different to dutch culture but I like it and an appreciate it.
I thought these "Chips" motor's were modern in the 80's but they are still popular here.
The national guard was actively recruiting during the festival. The real Hummer.
In Pultneyville we have only 200-300 citizens but we have 3 churches, 2 firetrucks and 1 search&rescue boat. The weather can get pretty nasty on Ontario lake very fast.
This is why the lift bridge in Fairport is called lift bridge.
We got a pet in our house.