I’ve been in China for a little over two days now. And when I say in China, I really, really, really mean it. We are currently staying at a hotel in Foshan. The building is the tallest in the city and being that we are on the 42nd floor, I can see that this little place sprawls for miles. Besides the fact that we are staying in the most luxurious building in the city, it’s very obvious that we are fish out of water here. I’m quite the freak show on the street. Men stare at my boobs and women and children just stare. Some point at us. One family even asked Fabien and I to hold their baby so they could take a picture. I’m like the Paris Hilton of Foshan.
The rumor is that there are more English speaking people in Asia than there are in the United States. I’m not sure where these people are, but I would love to meet one of them and ask if they could help us find an apartment. I’m guessing that whoever is throwing this stat around uses the term “speak English” very loosely. Meaning if someone knows one or two words, “Oh yeah, Wang over there speaks English.” Well, in that case, I also speak Chinese, French and Spanish. In all the millions (and I mean millions) of people that I have encountered, the one who spoke the best English was the hostess at Pizza Hut. But, I am in their country and I will adapt to them. :)
The 28 hour flight over was pretty good. It’s very easy to met other foreigners since we stand out so much. It’s just natural to strike up a conversation with someone because both parties are eager for a taste of familiarity. I have already met so many people who have interesting stories…..
- Erin, a 22 year old from Pennsylvania has been teaching in Changchun for the past 7 months. She gave me the China lowdown on public toilets (which is what the next blog will be about) and advised me that instead of buying clothes from stores, you can just have them made for a few dollars per outfit. Her and I clicked so much that we almost shared a hotel room when I thought I missed my flight in Beijing.
- Also on the flight to Beijing, I met another teacher, from St. Louis, who works in a village on the border of the Gobi desert. I struck up a conversation with her because she was wearing a St Patrick’s Day hat and carrying a purple plastic pumpkin that you normally see little kids carrying on Halloween to collect candy. She was bring these items to China to teach her students about American holidays. It takes her 96 hours of travel time to get from St, Louis to there. And I thought 25 hours was a long journey.
- A man from Florida who is accompanying his 35 year old, single daughter and they are picking up her newly adopted daughter. China is the only place that would allow her to adopt being husbandless.
- Another man from Pittsburgh who is coming to pick up his wife after navigating the US Immigration maze for 4 years.
- Two French girls who are also here with their boyfriends. They are starting Chinese classes today at the Guangzhou University. They have both been here for 1 week.
- A Polish guy named Michael who showed up with another French guy after our dinner Saturday night. He had just arrived from Hong Kong and has been backpacking through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia for the past 2 months.
And then there is us. In the elevator Sunday morning, an Indian man started asking me questions about what I was doing here, where I was from, etc. I told him I was an American, here with my French boyfriend who works for an Automotive Supplier. He was very surprised and said “You don’t hear that everyday.” I never thought about it like that, but it’s just us and I also guess our story is interesting too. Hopefully, the interestingness indicator will continue to grow over the next 6 months.
There are also a couple photo links with pics in the Photo Gallery.