However, there were those small elements of culture shock. Let me just list a few: 1) This place is hotter than heck (85% humidity and about 85 degrees), 2) No Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, 3) Saw my first squatter type toilet and decided to hold it in, 4) Went to the grocery store and saw whole chickens, turtles, fried chicken feet, and meal worms, 5) Stinky tofu really does deserve its name, 6) I don't know what anybody is saying and the few words I do know aren't cutting it because my pronunciation is so bad, 7) The Chinese are always screaming at each other and it's just very loud out on the streets (they are just intense and not actually angry).
I admit that there were a few moments today that I wasn't sure I could handle things long-term. When Li Jun left, I rested for a while in my room and then had to go out and try to find myself some dinner. I walked past the stinky tofu and decided I was definitely not ready for that (impossible to describe the smell). Then I saw some fried stuff, but I didn't know what it was so I passed on that too. Then, I went into the grocery story and bagged up some fruit the way we would at our local market. I took it to the counter and the lady yelled (from a Westerner view) at me because I apparently did something wrong and so she took my fruit and gave it to another worker to put it back. So, I left with no food. On my way home, I passed a KFC and went inside. The menu was all in mandarin and they didn't have value meals listed as 1 through whatever, which as you know is common in the U.S. and would have been helpful since I can count to ten in chinese. I second guessed my ability to effectively order and left. Then, I spotted a McDonalds and went inside. They too didn't have value meals and the prices were listed listed as 26 RMB (about $5), so I decided to point at a double cheeseburger and say "na ge" or "that one." This time, they either understood my Chinese or the universal signal of pointing at a hamburger and widening the eyes. I took my food back to my room and watched Pawn Stars on Netflix while I ate. I felt like such a sellout. I'll do better tomorrow!
|I couldn't get the exact image I wanted, but I like that the sun was so orange and you can see the Seoul skyline below it. Thanks for the camera, Asher.|
|Li Li Jun and the very nice, but very assertive driver. I thought it was amusing that my very first restaurant in China had pictures of Brando, Deniro, and the Terminator on the back wall.|
|Just a view down the street in Changsha.|
|Western-style bathroom accommodations.|
|An old temple. Li Jun couldn't remember all the details about it, but it sure is cool looking isn't it?|
|This is a small pond in the middle of campus. The temple in the above picture is also right on campus. I couldn't believe how pretty this all is.|