Sunday, June 5, 2011

Things About China

So my post yesterday made it sound like I just wanted everyone to pray for me only!  Sorry, I didn't clarify that we are all having a hard time, but I am the one who is loosing my mind!  And you all know what happens when mom looses her mind...everyone suffers.  But really, everyone else is handling things so well.  I wish I wasn't such a wimp!

Today was a better day, I don't think I cried once!  Well, I got a little teary when the meanest Taxi driver on earth took off with me and Daisy in the back seat, leaving the rest of the family to cram into another taxi with most of the luggage while we had plenty of room in our taxi for people and luggage.  When I told him to stop he yelled at me and said: "you don't know, I know!"  Then he yelled at me the whole way to the new hotel and drove really crazy.  When we got there he wanted his money and I yelled back that I didn't have any and if he wanted to get paid he would have to wait because he left the people with the money back at the old hotel.  He kept telling me he had to go to lunch and I just glared at him and told him it was his own fault.  Finally the bell boy paid him and he left.  I've never been so furious. We were able to check into a much nicer hotel in a much easier part of town to navigate and many more people speak English so that helps us to get where we are trying to go more easily.

I need to do an update post so I don't forget everything that has happened but it is late so I am going to give you my Things about China list I have been working on.  I really tried to come up with some positive things so it is not all complaining.  Here goes:

Things about China:
-Driving is CRAZY!  I have never seen anything like it.  Lines are ignored, blinkers are not used, speed is fast, pedestrians have no right of way, horns are used to communicate like some kind of Morse code, they pass so close to each other and on either side, when passing on the left, they wait till a car is almost head on to get over.  Zack almost got ran over more than once.  The new rule is he holds our hands, which makes him mad.

It was hard to capture the true chaos of the traffic but here you can see a typical 3 lane road and note that there are 4-5 cars across and no one is lined up.  Just squeeze in where you can.  And honk.
-It is filthy here and when it rains, it doesn’t make it feel cleaner, it gets all mucky and muddy and greasy and slippery.  Then you fall down and get really dirty.  Yes, I fell down and everyone saw up my skirt at the Summer Palace. 

We always laugh when we see people "cleaning" the streets and side walks because it really does not seem to help at all. Water is squirted onto the pavement and then brushes are used to swish the water down the drains.

-There is mostly only squatters to go potty in and they are often very dirty.  You usually need to use your own TP.  I try not to go very often.
This squatter is really clean!

-If they see us coming (tourists), they automatically up their prices 100%.
A booth at the park selling toys.  Zack wanted everything so we had to set limits.  He takes after  his mom.

-You can’t drink the water or eat anything that’s not cooked. 
-They stare at people with white hair, hard staring and pointing.  Zack is not OK with this.
-There are packs of dogs roaming around, chasing each other.
-There are no tampons in China.  But they do have an endless array of every kind of pad you could ever want or imagine.
-They ask to take pictures with you like you are a celebrity.  At one point we just had to drag Zack away because a line was forming and we would have been there all day.

After Daisy joined us, people were really interested in her and they would try to talk to us about her but since we don't speak Chinese we all just ended up smiling and nodding.  We never had any negative responses from anyone.  Everyone seemed really pleased that she was with us.

The shoe store owners wanted Zack's picture with their little one.

At the Forbidden City, this is where the line started forming.  They each wanted an individual picture with Zack, not a group photo!

What a good sport!

This little girl was not too happy about standing next to Zack for a photo op.

-They hack stuff up and then spit it out on the ground, even women.
-The babies don’t wear diapers.  They have a large hole in their pants and the parent just holds them up over the sidewalk and they go.  Everywhere we go we see baby bums; and puddles on the ground.
-If you are a blond American tourist and you start to cry in public, everyone stares.
-You might be walking down a very busy city street, and suddenly there is a string between two poles and someone has hung their laundry up to dry in the middle of the sidewalk. 

There were no places of residence anywhere near this laundry line, that I could tell.

-While walking down the street you are accosted with smells of urine, sewage, fish and other unknown atrocities.
-There is no fashion here, feel free to wear what you want, don’t worry if It doesn’t match.

I love these visors everyone was wearing!
-The subway is easy to use (Tokyo was so big and complicated!)
-Despite the heat and humidity, everyone wears nylons, even if they are just ankle high.
-Condoms sold in every variety and everywhere you go (remember the one child policy?)
-Warm soda is the norm.  When we get a cold one I am so happy!
-They don’t give you a bag at a store unless you pay for it and then it is usually a nice cloth bag.  Only Walmart had plastic bags and you have to pay for those too.  I have thought for a long time that stores should do this so everyone would stop using so many plastic bags.  Who knew that China would be so ‘green’!
- We have not seen any instances of road rage, even though they are so aggressive when they drive.

-There are lots of garbage cans on the streets but everyone just throws their trash on the ground (opposite of Tokyo – no cans anywhere and no trash to be seen either).  Sometimes the garbage cans talk when you put stuff in.  The ‘garbage people’ people come and remove trash from the cans with these tongs and take it away in plastic bags, this is for garbage’s everywhere:  airport, street, restaurants, etc.  They don’t use can liners.

This was a nice bathroom so it had a liner!

-Customer service leaves much to be desired.
-Stores/shops have tons of employees and most of them are sitting around.

We ate at this restaurant one day for lunch.  Behind Steve are a few of the employees with nothing to do but chill on the patio.

Another lunch restaurant we ate at.  After our food came, we noticed all these guys outside the window smoking and playing cards.  The rest of the employees were inside standing 4 feet from us in a group and staring.  (WHY did I not take a picture?!)

-The concept of ‘personal space’ does not seem to exist.
-People walk around like they drive, pushing and shoving and getting way too close.
-There are no napkins at restaurants; they give you a tissue if you’re lucky and sometimes you have to pay for a tissue.  Also no soap or paper towels in bathrooms. 
-We keep wondering what they do with the chicken breasts, all they serve is dark meat? (One of our guides told us that the people actually WANT the dark meat and pay more for it to have bones in it too!  (Personal preference I guess.)  So apparently all the poor people are getting the delicious white boneless breasts!  Ha!

A delicious whole chicken with the head still attached.  Yum.

-If you are on the subway, holding a baby, many of the men will get up and give you their seat.

Here are some pictures of other things you might only see in China.

What's for dinner mom?  Giant leeks.

All pools require swim caps.  

We forgot to pack our swim caps so we had to buy some at the pool.

Steve chose a crazy one.  Because he's crazy like that.

Kunming.  Even small cities are big.

Lots of pretty flowers on the side of the highways in Kunming.

Cool palm trees in Kunming.

A street by our hotel in Guangzhou had nothing but herbs.  All the shops looked like they had the same stuff.

More herb shops.

I hope they don't need to use that hydrant. (Kunming)

I thought these kids were cute, playing with some bricks that were lying around the Hutong.

Some raw chicken lying out in the open, ready to be sold.

One of the many piles of rubble in the Hutong.

Yes, this is a guy riding a motorcycle on the sidewalk.  Everyone does it.  Hold on to your kids pedestrians!

A small bike lot.  They are mostly all electric so very quiet.  It's hard to hear them coming up behind you on the sidewalk!

Kunming had a bunch of cool sculptures all along the highway coming from the Minority Village.

Most everyone smokes and they do it indoors.  

Super 8 in the Hutong.

Have you ever seen 5 people in the back seat of a small taxi?  Where are the seat belts and car seats you ask?  Pfft.  This is China.

A crosswalk in Kunming.

So, if it's 90 degrees and 100% humidity, you should roll up your shirt so your pot belly can cool off.   All the men do it.

I don't know if they use sunscreen in China but they do NOT want a tan so the women carry umbrellas for rain or shine.


Angela Maddock said...

Whoa! My OCD would be through the roof there! I can't believe that babies don't wear diapers! Are you kidding me!? God Bless America! :) You will be so glad to be home. Hope your new area and hotel are better. Fasting for you and everyone today!!

Leslie Holt said...

I love it! All of that stuff is totally china! Sort of makes me miss it. About the squatters... don't you think it is a little better/cleaner then a toilet really? You don't have to touch anything, although it did take me awhile...months to figure out how to use them.

I hope things get better. Good luck with everything.

PS I love reading your stories!

Cambu said...

Everything you mentioned reminds me so much of when I was there. I really thought I was going to die when in a Taxi and I, too, saw one too many bare-bummed babies and had to take my picture with people one too many times. It's definitely a different experience. Only a few more days to go before you're back! Good luck suriviving it!

Amy said...

Hang in there Honey....pretty soon this will be a distant memory. On behalf of my fellow Americans, we will be happy to provide you with all the toilet paper, napkins and flushing toilets you can stand! Love you, hang tough. The pay off will be ten fold!!!

Anonymous said...

Deidra, we are trying to find out what time you guys get in on Thursday. We would love to have dinner ready for you. If you or Steve could email me at & let me know that would be great! Travel safe!

Erin Turley