I’m in Florida now enjoying the moderately warm weather. I spent about 10 days in Indiana visiting family, eating like a pig and mostly staying inside to avoid the cold weather outside. Then I went to Reno, Nevada for a day to check on my property, then on to Tucson to visit my brother and sister there, then came to Florida. Next week I will return to Indiana for a few more days before heading back to China.
Here’s some tidbits I gathered from newspapers on my ride back to the states. The economy in China is slowing down as evidenced by auto sales and by the number of people going home early for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). Auto sales in China for 2008 were only up 7.3% vs. 2007 compared to the twenty some percent that they have been growing in the past few years. Less than 10% of auto purchases in China are financed and more than 60% are for vehicles with less than a 1.6 liter engine. The newspaper said that many of the 188 million people that are expected to travel by train during Spring Festival are going home early because of no work with some people waiting at a train station for 3 days to get a ticket. The drinking buddies of a man that died after drinking too much are being sued because they kept urging him to drink more while at a banquet. When dining with others in China when one person takes a drink (alcoholic) everyone takes a drink because each sip is a toast and if you try to refuse the others will push you hard to join them.
Below are the highlights from a list that was e-mailed to me a while back that I thought you might enjoy.
You Know You’ve Lived in China Too Long When…
1. You’re at an expensive western restaurant and don’t even notice the
guy at the next table yelling into his cell phone
3. You walk backwards in the park listening to a transistor radio
5. You smoke in crowded elevators.
6. All white people look the same to you
7. You like the smell of the bus.
9. You no longer need tissues to blow your nose (they lean over, use a finger to block one nostril and then blow their snot onto the street or sidewalk)
11. You throw your used toilet paper in the basket (as a courtesy to
the next person)
13. You think a 30 year old woman who carries a Hello Kitty lunch box is cute
17. You aren’t aware that one is supposed to pay for software (much of the software on university computers is illegal)
23. You take large sum of cash whenever you go to a hospital in your home country
25. You think it’s silly to buy a new bike when it’ll get stolen soon
and stolen bikes are half the price.
29. You no longer wait in line, but go immediately to the head of the queue
30. It becomes exciting to see if you can get on the elevator before
anyone can get off
32. You no longer wonder how someone who earns US$ 400.00 per month
can drive a Mercedes
38. You look over people’s shoulder to see what they are reading
39. You honk your horn at people because they are in your way as you
drive down the sidewalk
43. You have a pinky fingernail an inch long (Chinese believe that if the small finger is too short then your life will be short)
49. You are able to jump the queue because the idiot Laowai (foreigner) left 2 centimetres between himself and the person in front of them
51. You start cutting off large vehicles on your bicycle
59. Firecrackers don’t wake you up
60. Your family stops asking when you’ll be coming back
61. You wear out your vehicle’s horn before its brakes
63. Forks feel funny
76. You and a friend get on a bus, sit at opposite ends of the bus,
and continue your conversation by yelling from one end to the other
79. You start recognizing the Chinese songs on the radio and sing
along to them with the taxi driver
80. the guy next to you on the bus is examining his booger while rolling
it between his fingers and you don’t mind.
92. Even you start messing up “he” and “she” in English and also don’t
get what the big deal is when you do
101. You don’t mind when at the hospital you have to carry your pee
(in an open container) the equivalent of 3 blocks and up 2 flights of
stairs and the whole time other people are trying to put their faces
in it to see if it looks different to theirs
102. You forget what clean smells like
103. You haven’t eaten anything baked in months
104. You spend less than 10 yuan ($1.45) for a satisfying lunch, but might end up eating at a table with 4 strangers
105. You eat soup with chopsticks
108. Get on the bus and sleep right away
109. Your Chinese friends allow you to pay the bill at the karaoke bar
113. You don’t get upset at the bank by doing 10 different signatures
in 10 different forms to get your own money