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Archive for May, 2007

64 Reasons to love China

Monday, May 28th, 2007

 

So yesterday I was having diner with Alice.  I mentioned her a few posts back, she is an English teacher at my school and maybe the best friend I have here.  A while ago I had given her the address of this website but never heard back from her about it, I suppose I had assumed that she had never bothered to read it.  For some reason, somehow, I don’t remember how it came up in conversation and I said something like “Oh, yeah did you ever go to my website?”  She said she did and she didn’t like it.  The post I wrote maybe last month, Dirt, eating and drinking was where she had the problem.  She didn’t like seeing her country being criticized by the likes of me, an American.  She said that while she agreed with many of the things I said, to her it was insulting coming from me.  I think it is like if you went to my house and I had a dirty floor (which I totally did until yesterday, yes friends I swept on my own accord) and I knew I had a dirty floor.  If you came into my house and said ‘well your house sucks because the floor is all dirty’ I would be pissed because its my house!  This is my take on her argument, of coarse but I think she would agree we talked about it for a long time, you see.  In the end of the conversation, I commented that from her point of view she must think I was being very arrogant and she said that said that this was the word that she had been thinking of but I think she is way too nice to say it.  She is right.  So much is strange here to me that it is easy to focus on the problems and not appreciate the positive.  For the record, I love it here, and I love China.  So I guess I just want to try and make a list of all the things I like and love about China, but in no particular order.  In time I will think up more things I love, I will try to start mentioning them as the arrize.

 

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT CHINA:

*My friends Alice, May, Gina, Han Xiao Yin, Michelle and Wei

*Smiling faces (much better than American scowls)

*Chinese people can be very direct and honest 

*Taxis made from motorcycles

*Food, even the weird stuff is yummy if you give it a chance.

*traveling by train

*They pay poor people to pick up trash which kills 2 birds with one stone.  In America if they tried this they would have a whole lot of crack heads stealing garbage cans but here it works fine.

*Chinese New Year

*Jackie Chan

*Yau Ming of the Huston Rockets

*My students are the most wonderful inquisitive people and I love a good 95% of them.  With over 1000 kids that says a lot I think.

*Journey to the West (the TV show, I haven’t read the book yet)

*Monkeys

*Pandas

*Chinese Mountains

*The Great Wall

*Chinese History

*Chinese people’s pride in their countries pandas, mountains, great wall, and history.  Among other stuff too.  It is like if someone from another country mentioned mount Rushmoore and you smilied like you had carved it yourself.

*China is such a huge place, and it only has one time zone!

*Ancient buildings

*Yangshou

*Chinese traditional music

*Beijing punk music

*At meal times the streets are teaming with sidewalk food venders, they have wheeled carts with fryers and steamers and bicycles converted into mobil ovens.  It is cheap and it is good good good!  Everyone enjoys their supper sitting in tiny kindergarten sized plastic chairs at tiny tables and drinks beer and laughs.  Now that its hot its all guys sitting around without shirts screaming with laughter.

*quite lazy days spent under a Chinese tree reading a nice book someplace in China

*Guilin

*I don’t have to tip.  If I tried they would think I had lost my fool mind.

*Every time I meet a Chinese person who speaks English the first thing they say is always “My English is not so good.” and it is usually fine.  Always better than my Chinese.

*Riding my bike through China amid the cars and motorcycles is like being on a speeder bike on the moon of Endoor. 

*Children greet me all the time by saying “Hello” which I think is nice

*Little Children react to me in a similar way to the way Elliot and Drew Barrymore reacted to meeting ET for the first time.

*Did I mention the food?

*Dumplings get their own category they are so good

*eating dog (don’t knock it if you ain’t tried it)

*being lost in China is so scary and fun

*I have a Chinese nick name.  Hi lea, which means drinks the ocean.  It refers to my ability to put away pi zhou (beer)

*looking out the window and seeing China

*learning a new language the hard way (although I am still lousy at it)

*Dvds are cheap and bootleg

*I got these great slippers that are so cool, they are just like the ones Chinese guys wear.

*I get a lot of attention, like I’m somebody fancy.

*Spicy food is really really good

*Sleeping on a train

*having cool stuff to write about adventure wise

*digging on another culture, learning the subtle ins and outs of when it is not polite to show up without pants.  (pretty much always it turns out.)

*When I dream I am having crazy I’m in China dreams.

*The Yunnan province is awesome

*So is Hainan

*Meat on a stick

*Chinese fireworks are massive

*I teach kid the hi five and its new

*Last week I taught kids about The Clash and the Ramones and Outcast and Gnarles Barkley. 

*I go to one restaurant where the guy who runs the place knows me and last time gave me a free bottle of bi zhou.

*Many Chinese woman are pia leo

*all prices are negotiable.  Nobody ever pays the named price.

*Tea

*Buddhism

*Young people are so cool

*old people here are cool too (usually)

*The beer is cheap

*They serve steaks on sizzling metal skillets with bubbling eggs.  The steak place is full of high school girls who all want to giggle at me when I walk in the door.  I have been coming in so long now they all wave and come out of the back and scream “hello” laughing and I wave back they really seem happy to see me. 

*People are nice to strangers

*Strangers are nice back

*Yesterday, before Alice and I had Diner (when she showed me the error of my ways) we were riding bikes down the street.  Everything is blooming here and it is hot and the city street is filled with every conceivable thing to look at.  Out of nowhere I heard myself say to Alice ‘I am so glad to be alive.’  I didn’t really think about it before I said it but at that very moment I realized it was true.  God bless you China.

So if I came off as an arrogant jerk to anyone else please let me know, and I am really from my heart sorry.  And don’t get me wrong, of all the things I wrote in that long rambling post I only take back one thing, I regret calling Alice ‘foxy’, I meant it nice but she didn’t apprieciate it, I take that back and I am embarrased and sorry.  Other than that it is all true as far as I can see, but I can also see how someone from China would get their dander up reading such from an outsider.  But I would hate to feel like I neglected to express what an amazing country I have found in China and how great a lot of the people really really are.  I respect that I am a guest in this country and while I feel it is my duty in my writting to say what I feel, I hate to think I came off as hating on China.  It is good here, you should come, you’d like it.