Thursday, September 28, 2006

China 101


Here's a useful thing to note when in China: The exit symbol. (Since we're guessing there's no such thing as a fire code here...although the building we are in does have a sprinkler system...not that the controls for it are hooked up.) The symbol can be explained in this way: A dude or with his hands up in the air (or on fire) running and looking for the hole to jump out through.

It's also a nice commentary on my feeling after being over here for almost 4 days.

We got to experience Asia in all its crowded joyfulness today when we ventured about five blocks from the "western area" we've been safely containing ourselves in. It was straight out of a market scene in "Good Morning Vietnam". Picture a crowded screet, under a canopy of trees, with fresh fruit vendors, cigarette vendors, people shooting hoops (almost got you with the 'shooting' word didn't I?), people on bicycles, clothes hanging on clothes lines across apartment windows, and no stray dogs. Oh yeah, and three American guys sticking out like...you know. Anyway, we would've taken better pictures, but we were all too stunned. The pic here is a little down from the described scene, and was a little more of an open area, but interesting none-the-less. Note the presence of everything in the picture, from a nice hi-rise in the background, to the apartments with laundry hanging out, to the restaurant at the far left.



We finally got back to our favorite area, and it was only then I got bugged by some little girl who said "you give money" about 50 times. And who refused to let go of my shirt long enough that one of the guys had time to take the camera out, turn it on, and snap a pic.


She finally let go without me having to use my "dad" voice on her. She really wouldn't let go, and then when she did, she hit me on the leg in that playful 5 year old way, except I'm not sure she was playing.

Better than last night when we witnessed three beer mugs being thrown across the garden we were sitting in. The guy was really mad about something, and it almost broke out in an all out fight. We were ready to hop the shrubs and run, but two Chinese cops appeared out of nowhere and whisked the guy away, never to be seen again. (kidding!) Actually the guy sat back down and they let him stay in the place, which we couldn't believe at all. Remind me to learn the word for Emergency Exit.

It's not all bad...here's a picture of the street where we ate lunch. It's a good illustration of one of the nice tree canopies that many of the streets have.

The Hunan-style lunch was awesome, it included about 10 courses for 6 people for around $30. The head was on the duck ala "Christmas Story".

They didn't sing.