A few ways that Chengdu is more “civilized” than our neighbors in modern HK/Shenzhen: All our eating places supply napkins; people readily give up their bus/subway seats to anyone with more than a few grey hairs; and we don’t eat Fido .
Archive for the 'China' Category
Goofed up my Chinese, ordering dim sum in Hong Kong. The character for melon is 瓜, and the one for claw is 爪. Pretty similar, you gotta admit. Close enough that I thought I was ordering some kind of gourd, but ended up with a bunch of chicken fingers, and not the kind you order for the kid at your table at a family restaurant.
I’ve decided the Chinese are living a logical fallacy. Yes, we know that everything that tastes or feels good is bad for you. But it does not follow that that which makes you uncomfortable is to your benefit. Yet they persist in swimming in winter waters, sleeping on wood planks, leaving every window and door open even on the coldest days, and taking Chinese medicine, which must be helpful since it tastes so godawful. And they say they do it all because it’s good for your body!
I was afraid this would happen. After 4 days in ultramodern Hong Kong with its great weather and amazing food, I must admit I’m not really looking forward to climbing back into my time machine for the trip 20 years into the past to my life in Sichuan.
After over two months in Chengdu, I had my first Western meal…at IKEA: pumpkin soup, salmon plate, mashed potatoes & gravy, tiramisu. Also my most expensive meal, at US$7.50. Tomorrow it’s back to rice.
Friday is the day I allow myself to slack on my Chinese, so last night I went to my local university’s 日語角 (Japanese corner), then after it ended, to the 英語角 (English Corner)。Lots of fun chatting, including with two guys from 新疆 (Xinjiang Province), who complain that everyone assumes they’re foreigners and so expects them to speak perfect English. But they are Chinese citizens!
There’s this strange belief here in Sichuan that drinking tea with a meal is bad for your stomach. So even most restaurants here serve only hot water (開水) and not tea. This is so weird since every Chinese restaurant everywhere else in the world serves tea. My host father, for example, insists that I wait at least 30 minutes after eating before I can have my tea.
I recently splurged on a Japanese lunch, and getting to enjoy a cup (many cups, actually) of nice, hot tea while I ate, and immediately afterward, was really a treat.
Now which traffic engineer here in Chengdu, China thought it would be a good idea to purposely do this?
When my alarm went off at 0400 the morning I left, I thought to myself “What the HELL am I doing?” Why was I leaving my good life, friends, & city to go live someplace across the world and far from a beach where I know no one.
I’ve now been here in China for just over a week and sometimes I still wonder. But I also felt that way in 2008 when I arrived in Japan for 5 weeks; yet by the end I was having such a great time and didn’t want to go home.
So I’ll stick it out for a while and see what develops. After spending my first 5 nights in a travelers hostel, I now have an apartment and started daily Chinese classes this week, and have been spending hours a day wandering the streets exploring my new town and its eats.