We are on our way home via Bali and so this morning, as we left Jiaxing, China thoughts were flowing. For instance, ladies, the shoes in China are amazing. If you can imagine them, they have been made and someone is walking around in a pair of ill-fitting, crazily designed, plastic shoes. Size does not matter apparently; I witnessed a woman hobbling along, whose feet I couldn’t see until she was right beside me. Then I noticed that her shoes were at least one size, possibly two sizes, too big. What she was thinking: “I love these shoes! Rats, they don’t have my size. Oh well, what size do they have? I can wear them. I love these shoes!” What her feet are thinking: “Ow, ow, ow, ow,ow, ow.” The range of colours, designs, heel height and style expands to infinity. If my feet would tolerate it, I would have a closet full of funky, fun shoes at nearly free prices, comparitively speaking. How does $15 sound? Sadly, only a very few can wear these without looking like they are in pain. They are probably the ones who use the cubicle in the Ladies Room I spotted today. It was set aside for “Maimed women.” Why rest on ceremony? This Is China!
Once we arrived in Shanghai, we took a cab immediately to our hotel for the night, the Pudong Airport Ramada , where we dropped our bags. During the long cab ride, I noticed how fabulous the areas alongside the highways are kept. They are frequently beautifully planted, especially in cities, and today, we saw masses of oleander, Rose of Sharon hedges, great slakes of canna lillies of all colours, and about a mile of Black-eyed Susan. Add to this all kinds of trees planted to help absorb the pollution. Every school kid knows the answer to China’s pollution woes includes planting trees, and they have done so in spades. It makes the drives so bearable.
We took the Maglev train downtown, which is not terribly interesting but cool in that it travels at 300km an hour, so the trip is really shortened.
Downtown, another TIC moment came as I noticed a little boy wearing a shirt inexplicably emboldened with the word, “Cereal.” What?! This was actually an English word, not some crazy Chinglish writing that makes no sense whatsoever, and still it made no sense. I looked around for “bowl”, “milk”, or “spoon” to no avail. The Chinese have cornered the market on ironic T-shirts but only accidentally. If this were BC, a pop-up trend would have begun, with T-shirts printed with the slogan of angry high school students in Northern China: “It’s not fair if we can’t cheat!” Sadly, these great opportunities go unclaimed. We did see a good T today on a young man in front of us, reading, “Back Sabbath.” So entertaining!
Our kids are going to BC and Alberta this summer on a two week tour and I am so looking forward to reading about what they see as interesting. What differences and similarities between our two countries will they notice? What will they think is odd or amusing? What questions will they have about Canada? What will they wonder? If they notice half the things that we do here, we will be having some great conversations in the Fall.