ZHONG GUO - THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

ZHONG GUO - THE MIDDLE KINGDOM
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Mar 26, 2013

Singapore

Singapore is awesome! Just look at the hotel pool! Everything is perfectly manicured and looks new throughout the city. Plus, I can read again! All of the signs are in English!

Just wait until I post pictures of my room!











Mar 24, 2013

5 countries in 6 days


That's right. This morning I left Shanghai, China for Hong Kong. I will be in Hong Kong until early
Tuesday morning and then I fly to Singapore. Wednesday, I fly to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in the morning and return to Singapore that afternoon. Friday night , I fly to Bali, Indonesia. Just writing that was utterly exhausting. I can't imagine what the week will actually be like. Should definitely be exciting though.


So yesterday in Shanghai, I walked 20km with the Corporate Marketing team at Ecolab China and Elaine. I think I saw more of Pudong than I could have imagined. Pudong is the business center and city of the Laowai or foreigners. The neighborhoods look like mini-Western villages complete with brick homes if you're into American style homes, Spanish tiled stucco if you like the Southwestern/Spanish feel, French style homes, and all complete with a million mini vans. It's rather off putting to be honest. That becomes the issue with being in China and speaking Chinese. As I mentioned, I was with work friends...therefore the conversation was primarily in Chinese not English. Believe it or not, I got about 75% of what was said and could fill in the rest. So we're walking and talking and of course we see foreigners and we're all like Lao wai, Lao wai....mind you I'm obviously American. I have just ceased to feel that way in some respects. It becomes a very interesting dynamic of trying to navigate both around the city and in your head what you are to expect, do, say, etc. This is what makes coming back from China and reverse culture shock so difficult. For a brief moment in time, you are no longer what yourself considers yourself and you've transformed into (well at least for me) what you've always wanted...to be Chinese and engrossed in this ever changing millennia old civilization. Now, this part gets dicey because fundamentally, I will always be on the outside. I am white and therefore not part of the culture. It's nice, however, when for a few moments I can pretend.


So enough about me wanting to fall into China, on Friday, I'll be in Bali with John. This is super exciting. I can't wait to not think and just drink, eat, and sun tan. It's been so cold in Shanghai that the sudden shift to 80 degrees in HK and SEA is a bit rough. Lord, I am hot!


The skyline in HK is beautiful with tall buildings and majestic mountains in the background. Forgot about that...

Mar 13, 2013

Bars in Asia

So I've noticed this trend that people in Asia don't eat or drink alone at the bar. Currently, the Japanese bartender at my hotel thinks I am a total dingbat. I am sitting alone at the bar and I've ordered OMG 2 glasses of wine by myself. The look of utter bewilderment and disgust was priceless and a bit off putting. Yes, I am a foreigner and blond and a woman and I drink alone if I'm traveling alone. I don't want to sit alone in my room and work...I do that almost every night. I know culturally it's different...eating and drinking is relationship development or guanxi in Chinese. It's a social occasion. So a rather odd/random question, how does one pick up someone at the bar in Asia if everyone is in a group? Food for thought...not for me though! In T minus 17 days I'll be with my sweetheart in Bali! Yay! Like the pics?! I can't wait!



Mar 12, 2013

In Japan

So my hotel in Japan makes my apartment in Shanghai look huge! Just arrived at my hotel in Tokyo and I have to admit I was surprised. Japan looks more like America in terms of trees, green space, and the size of buildings. There are House Rules listed in the hotel book...no moral misconduct allowed and no loud or drunken behavior. Never seen that before. More to come later-it's late and I've been sick. Need to listen to Elaine and Chiori and rest. Hope you like the pics!











Mar 5, 2013

Mexican and real Chinese food

Nothing like going to a Mexican Restaurant in China...you never know what to expect. Could be real bad or real good. Guess we'll just have to see. It is rather odd to see a bunch of Chinese in Mexican garb running around like mad. Had a long long day at work. Yesterday didn't end until 130am and I didn't get to sleep until after 2, then I had a conference call at 530am. Nothing like running on nothing and feeling pretty overwhelmed.

Heard an African man speaking really excellent Chinese while walking to dinner. Miraculously, I even understood what he was saying. Funny though, you can almost always tell just by sound if the person speaking Chinese is a laowai or a Chinese. The sound is just off. I say this knowing perfectly well I definitely sound off and way not Chinese. The trying part is always most important whether it be using chopsticks, trying strange foods, or whatever.

Watching America's Funniest Home Videos in China, in a Mexican restaurant, well how bizarre. Exactly how is AFV related to Mexico? Apparently,it takes longer to cook Mexican in China as well. Restaurants are also really not equipped for single diners. They really just have NO clue how to deal. And the Mexican isn't good or at least the Chimichanga. I think they have a specific waitress that delivers Coronas too. And I don't think the TV is through cable or satellite-it's streamed through a knock off site on the web. Awesome...that's how I have to watch TV too. Trouble is I don't really watch TV...so I don't know what to search for. I really only watch documentaries and those aren't quite as popular to hack and then post.

Feel better about eating Mexican tonight. I had a real Chinese meal with 2 tofu dishes, cabbage, beef liver that was super spicy, a whole hacked up Chicken, and other stuff.

Mar 3, 2013

Feb 25th

It's so interesting to be sitting in a wine bar in Shanghai listening to Chinese people talk about the differences between Beijing people and Shanghai people. And for me to immediately think, I am definitely a Beijing ren- how I speak, how I give directions, probably even how I think. I'm also confused as to how I'm in the most quiet neighborhood in China. I've never seen a place in China be shut down at 10pm. I walked almost my entire immediate neighborhood and everything is closed. Apparently, the only thing open is this wine bar. I have to admit hearing English is a bit disorienting. I have to pay so much attention to catch every word when listening to Chinese so that to understand instantaneously seems foreign. I also have noticed that I want to rearrange English words to the Chinese syntax or word order. I also for every word I know in Chinese I want to use it when I think/speak in English.

Random...hearing about pound cake in China is really weird. I don't even have an oven in my apartment. Speaking of trying to make pork chops without an oven is very difficult. Dinner was a total mishap. I can't figure out why the stove top randomly increases temperature. That is super annoying and I ruined my new pan!