Housekeeping (and a little more)

As we travel around, we see things that really don’t merit an entire post, but that generate a second look from us. We have gathered these together and today they are combined into one posting. (Ed. note: In the Sun, one of the sports writers called them “items that might make it into an article sometime”.)

Smile, Lady. There is a woman who comes into Starbucks everyday – sometimes alone, sometimes with her spousal unit. She has been coming in since we got here. I have yet to see her smile. When the door opens, all the baristas, without fail, call out Nie Hou or Hello. They are all very friendly and helpful – but no response from Ms Sourpuss. I even asked one of the girls if they had ever seen her smile – maybe once or twice. One day when I was confusing the girls with my, order she was behind me and I apologized for slowing everything down. No response, nothing. She must REALLY hate China. Come on lady, SMILE – nothing is that bad! (Of course, today was the one day she doesn’t come in – I was going to get a photo to share.)

Please, please. I’m not a sadistic person (well maybe just a little), but before we leave China I really want to see a minor accident. Many, many of the people who travel on scooters can’t help themselves. They see us and they stare as they approach us, as they are passing us and after they pass us, turning their heads for up to three or four seconds – which is a long time when you are driving a scooter. Please, please let one of them run into a parked car sometime – no one gets hurt, no damage to the scooter, just shock. This guy for example. I know it is a little blurry, but he really was staring at us.

Keep staring pal.

Discrimination. I know, even as I start this one, I am going to be in trouble with The Real Blogger, but I can’t help it. It has to be told. Ever since we got here we have being discriminated against because of the colour of our skin. I can’t begin to count the number of times that we have been walking down the street and come upon someone who is handing out flyers advertising anything from apartments to restaurants. They take one look at us and don’t even try to give us one – they must think we can’t read Chinese or something. I feel hurt. I have looked on the web for the Chinese branch of the BC Human Rights Office but no luck.

Pet Peeve. The last time we were in Shanghai, I made the following video to give you a flavour of how traffic flows. Some of you may know that when it comes to the use and pronounciation of the English language, I am bit over zealous, perhaps. I have even written to the CBC to complain about some of their announcers and the frequency with which they drop their “g’s” (eg playin’, goin’). Imagine then, my embarrassment when I replayed this video and heard how frequently I was guilty of the same “g” dropping. I will certainly be paying more attention to how I speak from here on. Nevertheless, enjoy.

Kim and Bruce. Kim and Bruce Carabine are a couple, also from Coquitlam who are also in their first year in China also doing what Terry and I are doing (except Kim is actually working). They, however, are living and working in Shanghai. I really encourage you to take a look at their blog as well. They provide a very similar AND a very different perspective on life in China in general and in the big city specifically. It’s a fun read. Check out the link to the right – The Carabines Conquer China.

Le Pièce de résistance.  Some of you may know John Simpson and Al Thomas – former educators in Coquitlam. They have been on an experience which many of us wish we could have. They have just trekked to Mount Everest base camp and will be back in Shanghai this weekend. Below are some photos John shared with us along with his comments (in quotes). I am posting them without his consent, so I hope he doesn’t mind. We are really looking forward to hearing about the trip this weekend.

“Yeah – Really is a bathtub”

“Typical transport trucks of Nepal”

“Mt. Everest from Kalla Patther – nowhere near summit – but still damn cold!” (Ed. note: Mt. Everest is the darkest peak directly above John’s head.)

And on that awesome note I bid you all happy travels to wherever your heart leads you.

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