Thursday, October 2, 2014

First Full Day in Kunshan

I don't know what to do with myself.  I normally wake up and check Facebook.  That is how I keep up to date with friends and basic things happening in the world.  In China there is no Facebook.  I also can't update my blog of my adventures.  No blogs in China.  You have to find a VPN to be able to access these things.  Sometimes you can find them for free and sometimes you have to pay for them but that can go around the government blocks on websites.

We went for a walk around the apartment complex.  You would of thought we were the Jolly Green Giant family or something.  People stare and not the glance but in your face look you up and down stare.  Completely obvious stare.  Guess that isn't in the manner code, not to stare, here in China.  It was as if they never saw a group of white people before... And maybe they haven't. 

Saw some interesting things on our lunch adventure.  I have had a few people warn me about the lack of personal space.  That was the first thing I encountered.  We were getting on the bus and I was the last one of my friends getting on an almost empty bus and two ladies were behind me to get on.  You would of thought there were 100 people trying to get on this bus.  These ladies were literally touching me they were that close to me and they were the only other two people getting on the bus.  Once we were on the bus the staring continued.  Since we have two small children everyone wants to touch them and stare even more.  We took the bus a few miles away to something like a mall.  I was told to be prepared of the public bathrooms and that children will go anywhere.  Well, got my first show of 3 toddlers squatting and peeing right outside the door to the mall.  

We first went to eat.  Again, the staring.  Every worker in the joint was next to our table staring, wanting to pick up the kids and take their picture with them.  I wanted to take a picture of them all staring but I just couldn't be that rude.  Haha... We were trying to teach the older boy to give the peace sign in the picture but he is super shy and was not a huge fan of all the attention.  I wouldn't of been either.  

They serve warm water... Some sort of tea with the meals instead of a glass of cold water.  One of the many odd things about me is that I don't drink hot drinks... No tea, hot cocoa, coffee... Nothing.  So I may just have to go thirsty when going out to eat.   

The place setting was a small bowl with those soup spoons, a small plate and chopsticks.  No napkins.  We ordered many different dishes to share.  Guess that is the way they do things which works for me to try new things.  I can't use chopsticks most of the time... On a good day I might be able to get a few bites but today was not that day.  So I used the spoon or my fingers to eat.  :)  I was looking around for a napkin and there wasn't one.  We asked for some and they bring us a small box of tissue... Like Kleenex.   There is also a small garbage can at the table... Like the size you would have in a bathroom.  Now I know why... Those tissues are not a very good napkin.  Haha

Another interesting thing... Everyone eats right off the plate it is served in.  Hence the small plate.  No need to dish up and no double dipping rule here.  Luckily, I was with friends otherwise not knowing that I might of freaked.  I have a lot of odd food rules which I have a feeling a lot of them will be challenged on this trip.  

We had lamb chops and here are some pictures of the other dishes.

More lamb.

The noodles were super good.  Yes, those are some Chinese French fries on the right.

I believe this was a zucchini dish.

Everything had a bit of spice and was super good.  It was hard to eat at first with everyone staring and my lack of chopstick usage but after a while they all moved on to other things and we could eat in peace.

At the end of the meal the boys went to the bathroom and reported back this was the bathroom I wanted to see... The clean, more civilized version of public restrooms.  So the older boy brought me back to see.  We walked into the women's room following another woman so I know for sure we were in the right place.  The woman we followed in went into a stall no problem.  We walk in and the cleaning lady starts yelling at me in Chinese and points to the men's restroom.  I give a weird look as she keeps yelling grab my boobs and said "woman".  She stopped pointing and yelling at me and starts pointing and yelling at the little boy I was with.  I just open a stall and we walk in and she finally shut up.  This is what we saw.

Yep a porcelain hole in the ground that you flush.  That is my little buddy showing me how it works.  Since living in the shack and on the road I am ok with squatting in the wide open spaces but I don't know if I will be able to squat with someone in the next stall.  I also can't squat real well so I'm not sure if I have the aim to make it in there. Haha

After lunch we had to do some shopping.  There was a scooter store in the mall and I needed to check it out.  They have so many different types of 2 and 3 wheeled motorized vehicles.  I just love seeing the creativity on how to carry things and modify for your needs.

Here is my buddy demonstrating the rear seat.  

These are super cute!  Other than your regular moped the scooters have those rear seats and a basket.

This is inside the mall on the second floor.  They have this really cool escalator thing that doesn't have steps but more of those moving sidewalks but goes up and down.  So you could easily roll one of these down to the first floor... And your shopping cart.

This is a cool add on you see on the road.

I will have to get some picture of the 3 wheeled scooters with the room to carry things.  We even saw a garbage person on a three wheeled scooter with a pile of garbage on the back.  I will work on that.  In this city they are trying to go green.  They have lots of trees and if you ride an electric scooter you don't need a drivers license.  Obviously, there are scooters everywhere that don't abide by traffic laws... Or rules... Or maybe here they are suggestions.

After the scooter store we went into a store that has a bit of everything... Clothes, home goods, food... Kind of like a super Walmart but signs, bins and such like you were in some clearance store.  I needed to find some snacks for the train ride to Beijing in a couple of days.  I had no idea what to pick so I found "American" type of snacks so I wouldn't starve on the 10 hour train ride.  Something like Pringles and Oreos.  Being dyslexic having store signs and packaged goods in Chinese really isn't all that difficult.  Usually if I am in a hurry or driving I can't read what most things say but go by what they look like.  Same thing here.  I went by what the package looked like and could get a basic idea what I wanted and then looked at the picture to be sure it was a flavor I wanted.  It is interesting that nothing is truly shocking or weird being in China.  It is like every other urban area... Like a huge Chinatown.  The staring and personal space is awkward but when I lived in Miami Florida there were weird customs and things you just get use to.  Also, the parts of Miami I lived in a lot of people didn't speak English... Or refused to speak English... So I've been yelled at in other languages before.  :)  

On the way home we took a taxi.  People do drive a bit crazy... Mainly trying to get around all the scooters.  This driver was quite enjoyable because he would holler at the scooter and give some sort of hand gesture and then chuckle.  My kind of guy.

I guess I was quite exhausted.  After we got home I layed down and took a 5 hour nap.  Oops. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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