Today we start our new Blast From the Past series. As many of you already know, we’re leaving for a trip around the island in the first week of January. In that time we don’t want to leave you guys hanging, so, while we go gather new adventures, we’ll be sharing our old ones! Don’t worry though, our stories are like wine. =)
Many years ago I had a business opportunity which led me to China for three months. When we first started this blog I talked about how I got kicked out of the country for being too ninja-like, now I’ll be letting you in on some culture shock I experienced during my stay.
My flight there was a long one. I went from the east coast of the USA to the west coast. Proceeded to wait a few hours for the connecting flight which would take me to Hong Kong (24 hour flight). After arriving I had a 12 hour layover to wait for my next connection to Xiamen, China. Throughout my flight I randomly woke up, looked out of the airplane window and saw this:
After what felt like three days of traveling I arrived to my hotel for my first night’s stay. The thing I was looking forward to the most was a nice fluffy, comfy bed, I was in for a surprise though. The bed only had about an inch or two of padding, under which laid the bed frame. Now this isn’t a 5 star hotel I’m talking about but it also wasn’t the cheapest thing on the block.
I spent the first night in this hotel while the apartment I was renting was being cleaned up. The apartment was actually huge, it had three bedrooms, a living room, laundry room and even a balcony (nice view from the 9th floor). All of the space was great, only thing was that none of it was furnished. I didn’t mind, for the price I was paying.
I proceeded to check out the place to see which room I wanted to sleep in. I went room per room and each one had the same style beds as I slept on the first night but with NO padding (It’s a good thing I had two sets of big fluffy comforters to put down). I figured it was just a culture thing and went with it, for about 2 weeks.
Two weeks later I’m out with my friend and we stumble across the topic of beds. I told him how weird I though it was that they barely use padding, if any at all. He laughs for a second and looks at me in confusion. So I explain more what I’m talking about, he laughs again and tells me after we eat we’re going to buy me a mattress. This is the part where sparks, fireworks and a cheering sound went off in my head.
Another culture shock came from the food. The first morning I woke up and my business partner, whom lives there, excitedly called me to let me know he was coming over with some breakfast. I thought immediately; YESSSS FOOOD!!!! When he arrived he brought me what you see here:
Mmmm looks delicious….well…some things.
I looked, with a lot of interest, at the packaging and different pastries that he brought me. Me being me, I tried them all. Some better than others of course and the green milk, eh, not so much my thing. It was milk with a lemon flavoring.
One thing that’s awesome about typical Chinese food in China is that it actually tastes a lot better than what I used to eat in the States. Don’t get me wrong, the food there is good as well but it just doesn’t compare.
Apposed to the common misconception that all Chinese people are short I actually ran into a fairly large amount of locals that were pretty tall. One thing I never saw was a fat tall person, usually the taller they got the skinnier they were.
Once while eating lunch, a group of teenagers walked in and sat at the table next to me. I heard them giggling so peeked to see what they were laughing at. Turns out they were recording me eat my lunch O_o. I starred at the camera, and with a mouth full of ram-en, smiled. My friend told me that to see a foreigner here was very strange, especially at my age, hence the extra attention.
Another time while entering a fast food place I had the entire staff offer me free items from behind the counter. From teddy bears to mini water guns that were being given away if you had purchased a prize ticket with your meal. The teddy bear was larger than life so I turned down on that offer and the others as well. Thinking about it now I figure I should have at least gotten the water guns to go around spraying people, just kidding.