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Random China

Now that we’re settling in to our new home, life isn’t quite as scary as it was when we started. We’re getting to know the town, so we’re much more comfortable going out without knowing exactly where we’re going. However, there are still things which come out of nowhere to remind us that we’re definitely not in Kansas any more…

  • There is a “Bring out your dead” man. He pedals slowly along the streets on a big cargo tricycle, shouting something which sounds surprisingly like “Bring out your dead!”. People bring out garbage bags full of stuff. I think he’s some form of garbage/recycling collector…
  • Ordering food is still an adventure at all but the most familiar restaurants. Even in those places which have an English menu, the food you receive may or may not have anything to do with what the menu said. Last night I ordered fried rice and received an omelet.
  • We occasionally learn things in casual conversation which are quite scary. A recent one was that once a Chinese school teacher starts working at a particular school, they can’t switch to another school later. They must stay there for their entire career, or quit teaching. UPDATE: I asked some teachers if this was true, and they said it was not. So maybe it was a miscommunication somewhere along the line.
  • Most of the small street shops are devoid of customers most of the time, and so the shop workers get bored. So many (and I mean MANY) of them stand in front of their shops and hit a badminton birdie back and forth with the shopkeeper next door. It must be in the top 5 hobbies in the city…
  • Most of the tea shops have fruit tea (assorted fruit bits and a teabag in hot water), which is usually very tasty. A few of them include tomatoes in their fruit tea. It looks bizarre, but tastes quite good.
  • A number of restaurants try to be English-compatible. For most, this consists of having a poorly-translated version of their menu, and teaching every employee to say “Good Morning”. So when wandering around at any time of day or night, everyone cheerfully shouts “Hello, Good Morning!” to you.
  • Everyday debt doesn’t exist here. People get loans for major investments, but everything else is prepay. Water, electricity, gas, cell phones, everything. Upside: You’re never overdue on a bill. Downside: You run out of water during a shower.
  • This morning I was eating a banana. I looked down, and saw that it was a “Doritos” brand banana.
  • There are no clothes dryers. Anywhere. Everyone’s got a washing machine, but no dryers.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Kim | January 12, 2007 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Hi!!!! Sounds like you’re having fun…..Once again, I am not but that’s life. It seems my adventures come few and far between, like the one to get me to alaska and back…..holy crap……hehehe

  2. Mean Aunt Pat | January 12, 2007 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh, gosh, it sounds like you are having the best adventure! I am glad for you that you decided to do this.

    Jack just arrived back today from Georgia, and day after tomorrow he leaves for Alaska, so tomorrow evening I’m off to Davenport to have supper with him, Mimi, and Gary.

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