Sunday, June 3, 2007

Personal Observations About China

I am leaving today and wanted to post some personal observations of what I saw while I have been in Xiamen. Of course, not everyone will agree with my interpretations of what I saw, but that’s what makes them personal observations! Some were surprising, others were good for a chuckle.

There seems to be as many girls as boys in the kindergarten our girls attend.

People are very friendly and eager to practice their various levels of English.

The pollution is not as bad in Xiamen as I expected. It was a lot worse in Nanning and Guangzhou two years ago.

There does not seem to be as many people who smoke as we saw on our previous trips to China.

The housekeeper has a vacuum cleaner that looks like a small shop vac. It is just as loud as the one we have in our garden shed at home and she attacks the floor with determination.

The sidewalks are incredibly dirty, even though they seem to wash them often.

An umbrella does shield you from too much sun.

Flowers are everywhere. I love to see the beautiful and plentiful blooms.

Fruit taste better than the ones we buy in our supermarkets. It must be because they are picked close by when they are ripe.

This city is very noisy and busy all the time.

A taxi ride is not for the faint of heart! I am used to French drivers but this beats almost all that I have seen of taxi drivers. (The worst was in Lima, Peru when I saw, several times, cars on the left hand lane of a 5 lane avenue make a RIGHT hand turn in front of many cars.)

People love to stare. I assume they stare at Westerners, but seem to do a double-take when they realize we have not one but two little Chinese girls.

The most frustrating thing I had to deal with was that I could not read signs, nor communicate verbally with anyone. Sign language works most of the time.

I always liked to learn new languages but I do not think that I would ever learn Chinese.

I was disappointed in the behavior of the parents in the audience at the kindergarten recital. When their child was dancing they stood in front of anyone and took pictures. When their child finished dancing they talked so loudly to their neighbors or on the phone that it was difficult to hear the music. It seemed to me to be very rude.

Orthodontists must starve here. I did not see anyone with braces and saw many who would greatly benefit from orthodontic work. I saw a lot of people with overbite especially.

I did not get tired of Chinese food. It is quite different from American Chinese food. It is much lighter, less sweet, and very tasty. I especially enjoyed seafood.

It seems that the Chinese only have two kinds of bread/cake batter dough. They come in many shapes but all taste just about the same. Bread is a little sweet and cake is not very sweet at all.

When going to the bakery, it was a bit like buying a pig-in-a-poke. You don’t have any idea of what you are getting since you can’t read Chinese….so you might buy fish buns when you meant to get a sweet bun.

Chinese TV seems to be geared to children. There are many shows with garish colors and seemingly silly adults talking loudly to children. Many of the children (on TV) are performing, singing and/or dancing. From what we saw of the kindergarten performance it goes for real life performers too. Children are encouraged to perform often and everywhere.

Young adults seem to dress very childishly. We have seen a gazillion T-shirts with weird English sayings and lots of Mickey Mouse stuff.

City bus drivers are not friendly and wait for no one. We observed a few times that the driver was unwilling to open the door he was closing while one person was ready to board.

I am so glad I came to see my girls. I will be glad when they get back home and we can see them almost everyday.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your posts, Mimi. Looking forward to the return of your comments! Have a wonderful trip home!

Anonymous said...

Mimi , have a safe trip home.
Loved your observations! Mary

mimifrancoise said...

Thanks to the two people who wrote the previous comments. The trip was safe... but long. I think these old bones are going to have to cease trekking half way around the world! I think my mind is younger than my body. By the time I arrived home I felt numb. One thing I really appreciate about being home is that it is safe to use tap water to brush my teeth.