Sunday, January 2, 2011
My family went to China for Christmas.
My Dad speaks Mandarin and he has been working In Shanghai this fall so we all went out to visit him for Christmas break. We stayed in an "apart-hotel" where we ate breakfast every morning, and maids cleaned during the day. We mostly toured Shanghai, but one of the most memorable parts was our visit to Guilin, a gorgeous rural area a three hour flight south of Shanghai. I took lots of pictures throughout the trip and observed many of differences in the culture. The language barrier really prevented me from connecting to the people of course, and we really didn't talk to any nationals except those we were paying for food, souvenirs, or transportation. But this short experience abroad was one I will never forget.
21 DECEMBER 2010
Guilin is crazy. Looks like the whole thing is under construction. The floor Mom and Dad's hotel room is on in our hotel reeks. There are lots of bad smells in the streets.
SEVEN STAR SCENIC SPOT (a big beautiful park)
We walked through the busy streets and under bridges and over the river to get there. We're finally figuring out how to walk through the streets without getting hit. See, in China, road rules aren't really regarded, but somehow it works! You just proceed with caution. Honking your horn is not considered rude, its just a way of saying, "I'm passing you," or, "I'm going, watch out."
On this trip I kind of realized what an American pansy I am. I always thought I would love to go abroad and "rough it," so to speak. But at first I found it stressful not knowing if there would be toilet paper provided in the public restrooms. In Guilin there were bad smells and the beds were hard. Throughout the trip it wasn't always easy to find a PKU-friendly meal either. The language barrier made it difficult to communicate my needs, and the culture isn't as accepting of special orders.
I finally know what "culture shock," feels like. Although I can't really describe it. Its kind of like cognitive dissonance. You see something totally different and you fee like in order to truly accept it you would have to change the way you think.
RIVER BOAT TOUR FROM GUILIN TO YANGSHUO
There were lots of bamboo rafts on the Lixiang River
Trying to sell his wares to the people aboard our tour boat:
BAMBOO RAFT TOUR ON LIXIANG RIVER
Jenni and I shared a raft.
We got to pet the water buffalo
We got double checked in the airport for this.
It was a beautiful ride.
23 DECEMBER 2010
This morning was slow as we didn't have any plans. But it was nice. What we ended up doing was renting bicycles and getting a tour from a local. This is Guilin's low season, so there are hardly any other white people around. We rode out of the town along the river and through the farm land. I took tons of pictures of course.
I've always been drawn to farmland - aesthetically, ideologically. This felt different though. It was kind of a reality check for me that this was these people's livelihood. They had almost nothing - but the have the land and bounteous crops. God is no respecter of persons after all. The rain falls upon the rich and the poor. Something told me these people were a lot happier and healthier than poverty line Americans who work two jobs and eat fast food every day.
We ate lunch at this Country Cafe.
The vegetables were from the garden we walked past when we came in. While we waited for our meals we saw them fishing and killing a chicken. It took two hours for our orders to come out. This was FRESH food!
I had a BEAUTIFUL bowl of vegetable soup.
More to come but for now....
30 DECEMBER 2010
Well, I'm back in the San Fransisco airport with Marianne. We're definitely back in America, I have see no less that two men wearing skirts...maybe that's just because we're in California. I had avocado sushi and seaweed salad for lunch! Yum! I think one of the things I missed most about America while I was in China was the Japanese food.