Some highlights (and a couple lowlights) from my intro to the People’s Republic
01.09.2011 - 12.09.2011 16 °C
September 9, 2011 -- 9:10 pm
1) I have decided that Chinese babies/toddlers might be the cutest children in the world. Seriously! They are just OBSCENELY cute! I think it's the chubby cheeks. Photographic evidence below.
2) Met two of the coolest old dudes who basically volunteer (they get paid a tiny stipend) to run the Plan child centre in their community. They were soooooo obviously passionate about the work and really felt it was important for the community. They were so excited talking to me and kept shouting over one another, so my colleague didn't know who to translate for, it was great. Mr Yao and Mr Yao, no relation. They were cool as beans. Photographic evidence below.
3) I peed in what was, hands down, the NASTIEST toilet I have ever used in my life! And that's saying something, I've seen some pretty rancid loos on a number of continents. This one was a waterless concrete hole and was quite literally a festering, roiling mass of shit, piss and half-inch-long white maggots. GROSS! Photographic evidence below.
4) I ate some of the best noodles ever. They were home-made, exquisitely chewy, and came in this spicy thick brown sauce. The resto owners were delightful, and quite pleased to have a foreigner in their small-town establishment. They quite seriously assured me when taking our order that their restaurant didn't have rats. That is good to know. Below is a photo of their mah jong table.
5) There are all kinds of counterfeit 100 yuan notes in circulation. Now, I kinda expect a fake note from a dodgy taxi driver or a shady shop owner, but a legitimate bank ATM?? Ouch.
6) Chinese babies pee on the floor!! They have pants made expressly for it! There's a big hole in the crotch of their pants, and they wear no underwear or diapers. Their moms or dads just hold them up and they wee right on the floor wherever they happen to be. Then every now and then someone gets a mop and wipes the floor down. I counted, and tried to avoid (with about 95% success), five puddles while I was there. My colleague says they wear diapers at night. What happens when they need to poo? (They still win the cutest babies in the world award, floor-weeing or no.)
7) When driving out to the village we passed apple orchard after corn field after apple orchard on repeat. Later in the day, this middle-aged man - without saying a word - took my bag from me, opened the zipper, and stuffed it full with as many apples as it could hold. He then just laughed and handed it back to me. Nicest. People. Ever.