In lieu of a straightforward narrative per the usual, here’s a post that aims simply to catch the feelings of some recent moments. Some paragraphs are present tense, some past, so don’t get all English teachery about it. It’s about emotion.
Dafeng Oil Painting Village: Man, most of these rip-offs/copies of other people’s work are actually not even good. Low-caliber. Also, this whole street reeks of sewage. But where are the bathrooms? This toddler needs to pee! No luck with a bathroom. A while later: look, there’s a local mom holding her son in the air, buck naked, over a diaper so he can do his business (again, judging by the state of the diaper).
Walmart: no thanks. Holy too-packed-for-me, Batman!
Electric buses used everywhere in SZ for public transportation are made by BYD (who has a factory in California now). Slick! Quiet, modern, nice. The buses also have English announcements, making using them painless for foreigners like us.
More cloudy days than not. Glimpses of blue skies and rare clear days. I’m enjoying one of these on my balcony now, sweating like a stuck pig, but thrilled with the sun beaming down on me.
Clouds keep the heat down.
Buddhist (i.e. Vegetarian) restaurants and Muslim (i.e. halal) noodle places. Who knew?
Curse those wretched silent electric bikes which disregard all rules. Sidewalks, opposite traffic lanes, you name it, they go there. Royally irritating. Can’t let your guard down while walking, and especially not with little ones.
Curse also the miserable excuse for a human who decided to start putting durian into all manner of otherwise delectable foods. Breads, ice creams, you name it. If it’s yellow, watch out.
Speaking of durian, why in the whole world would anyone ever want to eat it? It is the most sense-confusing fruit ever–the nose says, “Hey, that’s going to be sweet!” and the tastebuds, caught off guard, say “Holy unexpected crap, this tastes like rotten onions!” If at first it’s not revolting, try and try again.
Walked into a restaurant. Evidently they were using Szechuan spices as they prepared something. Whole family felt vaguely pepper sprayed and started coughing uncontrollably (but not severely).
Best mango ever! Huge and, oh, words can’t express how soft and sweet.
Risky business, making an order for food. Being vegetarian adds a serious layer of challenge to eating out.
Spying a toddler clad in split pants, Turtle points and laughs. “Hahaha! Mom, look! You can see his butt!”
People slap themselves while exercising. They also walk backwards.
There are eye exercises at school, wherein pupils shut and then rub their eyes in various patterns.
“That’s called the Beijing bikini,” says a coworker, as I point out the guy walking past our bus wearing his T-shirt rolled up so everyone can see his jiggling waist. This style of dress is common.
Style? It’s all over the place. From none to wow, there’s something for everyone.
Bentley. Porsche. Tesla. Maserati. Those with wealth flaunt it.
Yeah, it gets crowded. Mornings are less busy.
You could get mowed down in a crosswalk. Keep your eyes open–not just for cars, also for the jerk on the e-bike I mentioned earlier.
I’ve only seen one automobile accident. How is it possible, given the way these people drive? “There’s a rhythm to it,” says another coworker, describing the near-chaotic traffic. “It seems to be about occupying the space,” my coworker continues. “If you’re there first, you can have it, and if you turn and get partly there, then other drivers will yield to you.”
Mall interiors that defy logic. Why the devil isn’t there an escalator right here, with all the others, to get down a single floor?
Windows that get opened and left open for no reason, including while air conditioning is running.
People often shout when they talk.
Tropical vegetation. Lush.
Shopping for big items isn’t easy without a car.
Buying food is cheap, unless you opt for the high-end stuff. It’s possible to spend a lot if you’ve gotta have all the same stuff as you do at home. Also, cooking is a hassle when you can’t get all the same stuff as home (and you aren’t versed in Chinese foods).
Banks take forever. Under no circumstances change money at Bank of China. Just leave your cash at home (or swap it in HK at the airport’s forex) and use the friggin’ ATM. Jenia’s going to write an entire post about this.
What a modern and efficient subway system. It actually is a pleasure to use.
It really is possible to eat out for less than it is to cook at home. Quality varies.