Monday, December 21, 2009

a shorter tale of Chinese intrigues

Four more quick thoughts on my experience here in China:

1. Loogies. If you talk a walk through a city in China, it probably won't take too long before you'll hear, incredibly close behind you, the distinct sounds of someone loudly and proudly hocking a big fat loogie. No shame. Typically this is an older Chinese man or woman, not those of younger generations. They'll hock a loogie on the street corner right next to you and then wait patiently and unabashedly for the light to change so they can cross the street. As I walked through the serene paths that wind around the Temple of Heaven yesterday, I found myself watching my step closely, as I would do if I were walking through the grass of a dog park, careful not to step in anything too disturbing.

2. Door flaps. You know those big, thick plastic door flaps that hang in front of big freezers in a store? Kind of like giant flat plastic fringe? This seems to be the norm in many stores and restaurants in China. Instead of doors or as an added measure against the cold with a door. I'm not a huge fan of this. It may be novel (certainly it is), but I'm not a huge fan of getting slapped around by big, dirty, heavy plastic flaps every time I want to step into a store from out of the cold.

3. Train squattys. I already mentioned the joy of the squatty potty, and however wonderful it may be on it's own, that sentiment is greatly increased when I need to use one on a high-speed train. Matt & I took a high-speed train into Beijing for the weekend (stories to come) and the toilets were definitely not in the traditional Western style, but on a nine and a half hour trip, one must go whether they desire to or not. So I did. But trains sway when they move. And they sway a lot when they travel extra fast. And my body moves against the trains motion, while the squatty moves with the train. It was almost like playing a video game, trying to keep everything as clean as possible while dealing with uncontrollable motion. I succeeded, but not without a considerable amount of steeling my soul first.

4. Reese Witherspoon. No, I did not see her in Beijing. However, our lovely tour guide, Lucy, after spending the morning at Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City with Matt & I, took us to lunch. While we were there, she kept staring at me. This is not uncommon, so I've begun to get used to it. Eventually she told me that I reminded her of a Hollywood star. I was all ready to hear Drew Barrymore as my face' sake. But she began to describe the plot line of Legally Blonde and I realized she thought I looked like none other than Reese Witherspoon. This is a new one for me. Flattering. However, please please please somebody slap me silly if you ever catch me wearing pink from head to toe while toting a tiny dog in a matching outfit. I also had a silk factory saleswoman inform me that I have "charming big eyes." Sweet.


Marie said...


Beth Twist said...

Eeeek! We encountered a jellyfish sized loogie outside the grocery store the other day. You should have seen how quickly I swept Katie up off of her feet to save her from certain stepping death. Really, some people ought to just stay home.