Yeah. This country’s OK.
- Although it stretches as wide as the USA, China only has one time zone. Because we are all equal.
- I went into a store with a creative sign reading “Chinese Puzzle Store.” What a great gift, I thought to myself, excited by the prospect of Chinese finger traps–from China. “What? You don’t have them? …finger trap…Chinese…Did I get off at the wrong airport or something?”
- I seriously have no idea how to say pretty much anything. Luckily, though, I have these phrases dialed:
- soy milk
- this/that one
- zero through nine-hundred ninety-nine
- thank you/you’re welcome
- excuse me/I’m sorry
- I don’t want it
- without meat
- without soy sauce
- I don’t eat meat
- stop the car
- rock climbing
- subway stop
- how much is it?
- I don’t eat dogs or cats or fried scorpions on skewers
- Key phrases I have no idea how to say
- the esoteric mountains here instill a indomitable sense of confidence in me, securing my hope that there will forever remain aesthetic rock climbs that go unascended and, in fact, unseen
- Chinese finger traps
- The Chinese government can actually change the day of the week to extricate things like national holidays from the work week. That’s normal…
- Virtually anything Made in China is more expensive here.
- Why did I buy new climbing shoes here? Because they only cost 1/2 of what they cost in the USA.
- Where are they made? The USA.
- We’re being forced to move hostels because a Chinese holiday raises our current hostel’s prices beyond what we are willing to pay. The holiday? Drunken Boaters’ Day. [Learned later: scratch that. The holiday is Dragon Boat Festival, but Yangshuo locals simply call it the “Drunken Boaters’ Festival.”]
- “You have to learn how to say the numbers, at least,” Chinese-speaking Tony told me before he left me here, in China, on my own. “Why?” I asked, well aware that I can use my fingers to represent the number I want to communicate. “It isn’t that easy,” he replied. The Chinese use some method of counting on one hand that is totally foreign to me. For example, the number 8 is represented by the typical “finger-gun.” 6 is the hard-rockin’ “horns.” 7 is a feeble attempt to make the index finger look like the number 7. Instead of learning Chinese gang signs, I just learned to count.
- Shirts are an option for men. Always. They are pulled up to rest atop a sweaty, pudgy stomach, rolled up to expose a bloated belly, or removed altogether if the wearer is feeling satisfied–at the dinner table, in a restaurant, on the streets, or anywhere else previously considered inappropriate to me.
- They’re so smart here. And practical Instead of tinting car windows beyond what can be conceivably and reasonably considered safe (see my car, below), they instead leave the front windows’ front corners, near the mirrors, untinted. In this way, they are able to actually use the mirrors at all hours of the day. You know, like a real car.
- Couples wear matching shirts. It’s, you know, a thing. I have yet to confront one of the lovers about their affection for matching shirts, but, if I’m not mistaken, it has something to do with a sign of commitment. And it isn’t viewed as cheesy at all. Perhaps a shirt is like a washable, holey, tattered, faded, smelly wedding ring? (Getting pictures of shirtless men and/or twin’ed couples is way more difficult than finding them. In fact, both of these phenomena are extremely common).
PS Yes, they also wear t-shirts with “this is my boyfriend” and an arrow pointing one direction, while the boy wears the opposite.
PPS okay and WHO Googled “will brody leven ever get his butt back stateside?“