As a kid I remember playing games where we did not touch a certain place. We would jump around the furniture and on the counter tops avoiding the ground until we could not do it anymore. In my experiences in China I find that all Chinese people have a new spin on that old game. The ground is DIRTY. Don’t touch it with your bare feet and do not put any of your belongings on the ground. I am entertained by the game that occurs constantly. The same game occurs at the meal table. I used to play the 3 second rule when a piece of food hit the table. When I could not retrieve it in three seconds I would revert to the six second rule and so on. This game is unacceptable in China. When something hits the ground or table then it does not exist anymore. They mean business. I have come to accept the lost food rule although it still hurts a little when I watch perfectly good food go into no man’s land.
On the subway yesterday I watched as a mother held her infant child above the ground of the subway (five feet in front of me) while she urinated. She then got up and moved to a different place. Nobody around even flinched. I could not believe it. I have watched little boys pee in flowerbeds and I have seen poo piles but I had (before yesterday) never seen the urinating experience inside of a building/ subway. Wow! They call them ticks. I now am a little more of a believer in the “the ground is dirty” theory. Maybe one day I will see people cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. I don’t think so but I can dream.
Saturday’s hike contained beautiful scenery and wonderful friends. Click this link to see many more photos from that day.
At the end of April when I landed in China I attempted to get my U.S. iphone 3G to work in China. I am tough on my phone and I rarely allow one to last for much more than a year. I love my iphone. When I purchased the first one; I called it retail therapy as I was coming off a huge break-up. I took nearly half a year to warm up to the new device. More than three years later I don’t know how I ever lived without it. My adventurous life has me living in China today. I’ve been here for four months and I have been without my iphone for the entire time. I now read that in less than three short weeks I will be able to completely enjoy the new (to me) iphone 4. It’s the simple things in life that excite me. In my new life in China I have found happiness and peace on entirely new levels that I did not know existed. I don’t see myself ever leaving here for more than a few weeks at a time any time soon.
Craig Nadel arrived around 3:30pm Saturday in Beijing during my Saturday hike. With his printed email instructions he journeyed by train, subway, and on foot to my apartment alone. After his shower and water break he hailed a taxi, dialed the number from his instructions and handed the phone to the taxi driver. The taxi carried him to dinner where he met a bunch of my hiking companions. Craig’s first order of business Sunday morning required that he purchase a bike to ride around the city for two weeks. He has spent no less than four hours each day (including Sunday) traveling around this gigantic city.
My excitement for my new home does not go away. I continue to cherish the wonderful new experiences daily. I love having someone from Texas here to show my wonderful new city to. I have experienced a breakthrough with my Mandarin lessons. I do not dread going to class now. I enjoy the time I spend attempting to learn new words, tones, and characters. I really believe English is more difficult to learn. I keep telling myself this. My circle of friends continues to grow. My level of confidence about the city and the culture and the country continues to increase.