Sunday, December 12, 2004

Just like China!

Last night I felt like I was in China again. And yet, not. Erik and I ventured down to Orchard Road for reasons which are now unclear - I think we were going to do some shopping. You know what Target is like the day after Christmas? This was worse. Which is what made it feel just like China!

It started in the subway, where the flood of people trying to get on the elevator was such that you could probably just pick up your feet and let the crowd carry you along. It's really tempting to moo.

Then on the streets, we felt like we must be walking the wrong way because there were so many people walking in the opposite direction. After awhile we figured out that part of the problem was that we were walking on the right side as opposed to the left (it's just like driving!). But even then, it's the most defensive walking I've ever had to do. You can't do much else besides just focus on not running into someone.

It wasn't like China though in the fact that most people actually were paying attention as well. In China, it's very common for someone to be walking toward you reading a paper in that kind of traffic. I guess the theory is, "Everyone else is watching, so I don't need to."

It also wasn't like China because along the crowded sidewalk there was an entire life size nativity scene, complete with explanations of each part of the Christmas story - who were the Magi? What did the angels say? What is the nativity? The fact that there were lights and trees and Christmas carols everywhere was one thing, but you would never see a giant nativity scene in China.
But another "just like China" moment came in the bathroom of a department store. The woman who came out of a stall before me was an older Chinese, and I noticed that she had left both lids up. Which means, for those of you who don't live where squatty potties are prevalent, that she squatted over the toilet. There are some things you just don't miss.

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