I of course, had been chomping at the bit to share with him what happened to us today... but I knew by the look on his face I just had to hear his story first.
Me: " Wow, I thought you were working from home today? Didn't you say.....?"
NZ: shaking his head, "Yeah--I thought I was going to be home by 11:00"
Me: "What happened?"
NZ: " I went to the bank."
Me: "And where else?"
NZ: "Nowhere...the bank took FIVE hours to set up the account."
Me: " Why would it take that long? Did you not have everything you needed? Did they have to make calls or something?"
NZ: " You don't want to know--long story"
Me: " So what'd you end up doing for lunch?"
NZ: " Since my transaction cut into the bank's lunch hour he invited me upstairs to the cafeteria that feeds the bank employees. I ate with our banker, and after that we went back downstairs to finish the transaction "
We both laughed at how absurd that sounds to us as Americans....being in the middle of a transaction and having the banker say "Well, it's lunchtime, I'd love to continue this----after lunch--please come back later, or join me."
And this is where I shared my story I couldn't wait to spew his way...
Me: " We just ( emphasis on juuuuust) got home about an hour ago."
NZ: "What'd you two do today?"
Me: " We went and bought our train tickets to Suzhou"
NZ: " And what else? "
Me: " Nothing. That was it. We ( 5 expat women and 3 babies) got to the ticket kiosk at 12:00p and waited in line behind a woman. After she was done, Mrs. Georgia stepped up to the kiosk to order her tickets and the woman behind the counter got up and walked through a door in the back of the kiosk. We waited like 15 minutes and there was a line behind us...but she never returned...We figure she went to lunch, but she didn't hang a sign or announce anything."
NZ: "So, what'd you do?"
Me:" We went to KFC and sat in the air conditioning. But it was like lunch rush, so of course, three white baby boys caused quite the commotion."
NZ: " Quite the spectacle, I'm sure...so did you get tickets?"
Me: " Yeah, we went back at 1:00p and she was back in her kiosk."
Lesson learned: China takes their lunch hours very seriously.