Hooray! I’m On (For Now)

China
Blog A14

08-01-2009

 

Hooray! I’m On (For Now)

 

Well, the Great Firewall is big, and great, but not
completely impervious. Years ago I married a computer geek and not regretted it
for a minute. 🙂

It is very humid here compared to the dry climate we’re used to. We got off the
plane and felt like we were breathing under water and had a serious case of insta-sweat. By the time we went to bed that
first night, our clothes were quite wet. Whew!

We wandered through a night market in Hong Kong that first evening. It
was like a giant street festival or the farmer’s markets in the U.S. EVERYTHING
was for sale. Part of me wishes I had bought one of the nice purses I saw, but
we had too much luggage to deal with to be adding more stuff to it. Guess I’ll
just have to go back one of these days or find a local equivalent.

It’s interesting, I was cautioned not to carry a purse in Guangzhou because of the risk of theft, but I
look around and everyone carries a purse – the men even more than the women.
It’s a sight that takes a little getting used to. In Spain they call them "bolsas" and there is no gender attachment
to who carries them there either. I wonder why we have such rigid
"rules" about it in the U.S.?

The sun is setting here right now. It is very red due to all the pollution, but
it’s beautiful. Still, I have been paying attention to the infamous pollution
levels and at least here on the outskirts of the main city, it’s generally not
so horrid. In the city where the factories are is another matter altogether…
Today was the worst pollution day since we came here – like a bad inversion day
in Utah. The
sky was white today, but the past days they have been blue with some clouds. I
think the daily rainstorms help clear the air. I wonder what the acid content of
the rain is here?

It is interesting to me to see that in the homes, each room has a separate
air-conditioning unit rather than central air. Here at the hotel, people seem
to appreciate the cool A/C, but don’t hesitate to leave outside doors open.

When we go to the restaurants, if they happen to give us "napkins",
they are always the equivalent of pocket facial tissue. Most of the time
however, there is nothing in the way of napkins at the table. Also, public
restrooms, if you dare to use them, have no tissue so you’d better carry your
own supply.

The company has a driver who’s sole job is to drive "the bosses"
around where they need to go. He has been carting us places all week. It’s nice
not to have to worry about finding our way around or driving here. It’s been a
strange concept for the kids to think about a man’s only work being to drive
people places. They understand taxi drivers, but to pay a driver a constant
wage just so he’s available whenever you want him, sounds rather
"high-brow" and "chauffeur-like".
I guess it is, but I would never, ever, want to do the driving here.

It’s an interesting thing about the drivers
here. There is zero concern about letting engines idle while waiting for
someone even as long as an hour. This ensures that the drivers have an
air-conditioned environment to wait in. Of course, it also contributes to all
the pollution. If the Chinese government really want’s to clear the air here,
they have a lot of work to do beyond making the factory standards more
stringent. They have two or three billion people to educate about personal
environmental impact. I consider myself a global warming skeptic, but come on,
people, unless you’re a fish, do you really want to poop in the water you live
in (so to speak)? In fairness, they are making some progress here with
anti-pollution, but the factory growth is hard to keep up with and people seem
very willing to accept the status-quo.

We’ve been eating at restaurants since we
came and have concluded that our favorite food in China so far is….. Korean. It’s
the only place to easily get regular rice and veggies, except at a Mongolian
hot-pot type of place, where you cook it at your table as you eat it, which
gets a little complicated. At the Korean restaurant, we can order stone-bowl Bi
Bim Bop, with rice, veggies and an egg, served in a VERY HOT stone or cast-iron
bowl. Simple and YUM. 🙂

Gotta run. It’s time to hunt up another
meal. Maybe we’ll do Korean again…

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