I have a few minutes before I have to make lunch so I figured I'd put out a quick blogpost. No pictures today as crazy China - the wifi is often spotty and even if you have it you have to have a VPN otherwise "China" doesn't allow access to a lot of sites without, including blogs. I have a VPN that Zach put on my laptop but it works really slow so getting picture uploads on my blog is impossible! For some reason the wifi at the school lets it work more speedily so posting picts is a breeze there. Tomorrow I'll reinstate pictures.
For today -
Some fun China things that I'm progressively noticing now that I've been here enough and am over my initial brain-fry of just experiencing life in China.
China is big on music. Like their happy little Chinese tunes music. They play music in the streets or from shops. Between classes they don't have bells, they play happy little ding-dingy music..... I'm now in a bad habit of dancing between classes because it just elicits that from me as its happy, dingy, dancing music.
Every home item that has a shut off or timer on it - music. The ayi ("domestic help") that comes in twice week to help Julie is here today. She did the laundry and when the washer stopped, it played this music. Not a short little ditty, but it like goes on and on and finishes out the whole melody.
I haven't experienced it here yet but I have to believe its somewhere - I know in Japan their toilets even have little ditties that they play while you're using it. Theres a toilet top that goes on the toilet in the bathroom upstairs here where I'm staying - I have to believe its one of those toilet seats that heats and plays music and does whatever else a pleasant Asian bathroom experience should do.
As I've mentioned before - traffic here is INSANE! They have 5 rings in Beijing - they're called ring roads and they're exactly that. They're ring roads that circle out from the center of the city. Outside the 5th ring road, if you have a car, you can drive whenever you want. The 5th ring road in, you have assigned days - if your license plate starts with a certain letter than you can drive Monday - Wednesday or something. And then the other days, your license plate has to start with another letter. Its supposed to help control the traffic. But its still crazy even with trying to control it.
But the thing is that people drive without emotion. Riding the school bus the past few days, I'm just watching people and the driver. Their faces are completely emotionless while driving. If someone cuts in front of them or makes them stop, theres nothing on their face. In the states, our heads would be splitting in two and our mouths would be moving as we release strings of words emoting our anger and our hands would be flailing.....
Here - NOTHING.
They just keep driving. And that being said, its whatever you can do to get where you're going. Lines in the road - doesn't matter.
Lights - don't matter.
Traffic flow - to hades in a hand basket with it!
School bus - doesn't matter - beat it!
Semi pulling out - doesn't matter, if there's an inch just take it and go.
And - no words, no gestures, no facial expressions. Just driving. I only note this because I can't drive without words, emotions, facial expressions and hand gestures and I think pretty much everyone reading this in one way or another would concur with that for themselves and most other Americans that they see on the road.
Driving with Julie and family is fun... :) Zach is pretty Chinese-expressionless.... And Julie does the expression for him :) Its extremely amusing and I find it an awesome example of teamwork! Honestly, though, they do an awesome job as the traffic is seriously crazy and doesn't make sense so - kudos friends!
I can't say a lot more than
They all don't turn heat on until a certain time. Literally, apartment buildings, schools, etc, have a specific time of year they (as in the people who own the buildings) turn their heat on so, until then - its every man for himself.
The flat has been not horribly freezing, but the school - every day I've been wanting to just bring big blankets and wrap up in them because its all marble and tile and then for some nutty reason they open the windows and its just a vortex of FREEZING.
And then every time you have to go to the bathroom you try to hold it for as long as you can because they have the windows open in there and you're just terrified that one of these times you're going to go and you're just going to freeze, literally turn into a frozen piece of ice, standing over a squatty potty. I don't want to die that way:(
I think Julie said they turn the heat on for them like the middle of November so I'm just missing it. I'd like to be here just to celebrate heat on that glorious day....
When I got here the other day I had to use the bathroom (do you notice how a lot of my observations and stories here have been bathroom related - I love those countries where the most traumatic/amusing thing you can talk about is the bathroom....)
When I went in, I immediately threw the toilet paper into the trashcan - and then I laughed because it was like a memory reflex that I've already developed from being here twice before...
Flush your toilet paper down the toilet?! Are you crazy?! Thats what trash cans are for - not toilets!
Time to close blogshop..... Make lunch and get little J into his soccer gear for a wonderfully polluted day on the field! I don't have Julie's pollution meter, but I don't need it to see that today is pretty bad out there!
SO Chinese! Every corner, every window advertises massage. And they're like an hour and they're like $5 and I LOVE China for that! Because even when I'm in Chinese area of San Francisco - old habits die hard for the Chinese and - FOOT MASSAGES!
Ah, crazy China!
Addition... Chinese people take FOREVER at the ATM! There will be like 10 people in line always and for some reason each person is up at the machine for like at least 10 minutes! Get it done people and move along! Oh - and you can't forget how they stand smack dab up on your back while standing in line. Back off my back and speed it along! That's my message to China today!