Sunday, March 13, 2011

Encountering Culture

Sometimes I'm a little overwhelmed by the culture here. Today I encountered things that I realize I've become accustomed to (and yet they are, by American standards, strange) and things that completely surprised me (yet most Americans wouldn't blink an eye). So much is changing and still so much is the same (which means it's still different).

Snapshots from our day out:
Police EVERYWHERE - pulled over at intersections, directing traffic (What?!? Why can't this happen every day??), standing on the overpasses, blocking off two lanes of the highway. This actually ISN'T typical - there are big government meetings in town. But the "huh, look, someone's making traffic worse" phenomenon was pretty typical.

The Apple Store - if you want to know where all the hip, wealthy Chinese people are, go to the Apple Store downtown. Every single person there was better dressed than I, and had more technology (I just had my Mac). The guy next to me played games on his iPad while someone fixed his iphone. Me, I used one of the store computers to look up the iphone cover I wanted on Tao Bao to see if it was cheaper than in the store (it was). I felt like the most Chinese person in there at that moment.

The Mizuno store is gone. You'd think by now I would be used to a favorite store/restaurant being gone when I go to visit it. Usually it's become a pile of rubble. In this case I think they just didn't do well. I was disappointed.

12.5Y for parking?!? I remember when I used to pay 2 mao for someone to watch my bike.

At least 3 times I had to lay on my horn in such a way as to communicate, "DUDE. You and your black Audi better thank your lucky stars I have good reflexes. Consider yourself sound slapped." Driving in China is not for those slow on the draw. Constant vigilance!

I missed two calls from a prospective piano tuner while I was driving (probably couldn't hear him over the honking). He'll be here soon to tell me things about my piano in Chinese which I will not understand. Let the culture keep on coming!

2 comments: said...

I love love love reading your blog!! So many things just crack me up, leaving me smiling or giggling as if I had been there with you. We experienced China in a 4 week period, there adopting our little girl in Nov. of 09. The driving, the stores coming and going, the odd, the not so odd, all of that. I appreciate that you share without being rude or unkind about the culture, taking it for what it is and loving the differences as much as anyone could. Thanks for sharing! Mary

Gina Marie said...

Thank you so much! It's fun to know that people read it. It's great to look back and remember the interesting things that have happened. I do try to remember, "It's not wrong, it's just different!" I know they could turn around and find all kinds of "strange" things about our culture too.