The Chinese always stare at me and the other Americans. It’s like being a celebrity. Maybe they haven’t seen a white person before or something. I get my picture taken all the time! I don’t know if it’s the blonde curly hair, the white skin, the blue eyes or what. I literally had a guy about 2 feet away from me point his giant super nice camera at my face and take a picture. They do not care. They just do it shamelessly. Some of them actually try to be sneaky about it, but very few. And then there’s the people that actually ask to take a picture of you with their child. That’s my favorite. There’s this little girl that I always see in the lobby with her grandpa and he asked me the other night. Poor little girl was scared of me and now having it. We did get a nice picture of me and the little girl looking at each other. It was cute. When I say something in Chinese they are always so happy. They smile and laugh. And then there are the people who just say whatever they know in English like hello, beautiful, I love you, bye bye and so on. I have had groups of kids walk by me in the park one day and they all said hello one by one, so I said hello and Nǐ hǎo back and they loved it! It’s always funny to me.
I think whats even funnier is when they look at you funny and start talking to you in Chinese like I’m supposed to know what they are saying. Nope. For example, I walking home one morning and there was a giant mouse running in the grass. This lady started talking to me in Chinese and I said tīng bù dǒng (I don’t understand) and lǎo shǔ (mouse) and she was like yea yea and kept talking to me in Chinese. I’m learning Chinese really fast and I can get a lot of things with the little chinese I do know, gestures and stuff but no, I have no idea what she said. That’s one thing that drives me crazy is not knowing what anyone is saying. It’s hard because they have chongqinghua which is a sub-dialect of Mandarin that doesn’t even sound the same. My goal by the end of this journey is to be at least conversational. I think it could happen if I try to really learn Chinese.
Driving in China is insane task, especially in Chongqing. You have to be willing to get into a car accident every 5 seconds or you won’t stand a chance. They do not follow the rules of the road. In fact they do whatever they want. That includes creating as many lanes as possible, driving down the wrong side of the road, going over the speed limit, cutting people off, blocking traffic, not caring what color the light is or if there are people in the road and so on. They really don’t care, they will try to to squeeze by and will just keep going. They don’t care whether they will get hit or not. There are more almost accidents than I’ve ever seen in my life. Every time I cross the road I see my life flash before my eyes. The cars get as close to you as possible without hitting you. They also, don’t care if you are in the road or not, they will keep going and expect you to move. Taxi drivers most definitely don’t go to driving school. They drive way too fast, merge in front of buses and don’t care what’s going on around them. Every time I get into a car I think, this is it, this is the time we get into an accident. It’s awful to say but until you’ve driven with someone in Chongqing, you will never know what a bad driver is. Other cars and buses get so close that if they moved an inch closer they’d hit you. At any given time there could be 10 accidents about to happen in front of your eyes but somehow there aren’t that many. I’m sitting here on my bed looking out the window and was just thinking about how I don’t understand how there aren’t more accidents.
So Jared and I were determined to find Wal-mart. The first time we tried it was a complete failure. We didn’t find it. So the next day at work we looked it up again but with the Chinese name for wal-mart. I wrote down very specific directions and I took pictures of the map. After work we headed out again and low and behold we found it. Wal-mart is underground and the sign looks just like Wal-mart! So exciting!
We get inside and we got a little crazy with things we wanted to buy. We got shoes, goldfish, chocolate pudding cups, cereal and milk, and I found skippy peanut butter and there were fresh waffles being made. Oh I’m so happy about that. We wanted to buy everything. We actually had to see how much yuan we had on us and decided to put most of it back. I only got my black boots and the peanut butter. I didn’t have that much money on me.
It was when we were checking out that I saw my Bank of America debit card was missing. That is the account with all the money in it. I was freaking out on the inside and was trying to be cool about it on the outside. Only Jared could tell you how I really acted. We got back to our apartments and I searched my whole place, including my fridge. Nope, nowhere. I thought okay maybe I left it at the ATM. That’s the only thing I could think of. The next morning we checked at the bank. Not there either. Great. I had my mom call and cancel it and have a new one shipped out. Once she gets it, she can send it to me and God willing it’ll make it to me.
Getting internet in China has been quite the hassle. First I had to have someone go with me to the internet company. His name is Daniel and he has been such a big help since I’ve been here. He basically signed up for me and I had to pay the whole 6 months up front. That’s ok, at least I won’t have to worry about paying it. Then, I had to wait for a guy to be able to come to my apt and set it up. And while all this was happening, Jared and I had to have a coworker buy us routers online which took like 3 days to arrive. Everything in China takes a super long time. No joke. Everything is cheap but it takes forever to get anything done. We worked on getting internet for over a week. So if you were wondering why I hadn’t posted or why I’ve posted quite a lot in such a short time, the answer to that question is that I didn’t have internet in my apartment. I literally just got it. And of course wordpress is blocked in China so I couldn’t post from work or anything. Oh living in China problems.