Monday, July 5, 2010

The Great Wall of China

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We actually haven’t visited the Great Wall yet in the typical sense of the term. We have, however, experienced two others. We have successfully scaled the first, but are stumped as to the other.

1. We have a proxy so we can access all websites which the government has chosen to block. This is endearingly nicknamed “The Great Firewall of China.”

2. No one here speaks English, French, Spanish, or German. They all speak…Chinese!! We do not speak Chinese. They do not know words like “metro” “McDonald’s” “Coke” or “water.” Next time we’re coming to China, we will try to know at least the basics.



We have made a couple of friends however. Fortunately the guy who set us up with our apartment speaks English fairly well since “business English” was his major in college. We went out with him and his workmates to sing in a kareoke bar. It’s a huge building with separate rooms to rent with a common food room where you can get unlimited goodies. People just hang out and take turns singing in the background. Top recreational activity in China. Jacob sang “Beat It” and I sang “My Heart Will Go On” “You Drive Me Crazy” and “Desperado.” It was fun! I totally judged when I said it was cheesy in the Thailand post. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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Chinese people

1. Are sweetly naive seeming and just so cuddly and cute. For example I thanked a girl at the gym for watching my bag and she blew me a kiss. The people here are much nicer than I expected. I have a favorite independent traveler website, and it’s been right on many countries thus far, but it said the Chinese wouldn’t be friendly and I’ve seen nothing of the sort here.

2. Are, to be frank, not very attractive but they are extremely fashionable! I thought they might dress more conservatively here, but no. And I get told how beautiful I am (in a nonoffensive, unflirtatious way) by men and women alike constantly here. I’ve been compared to Snow White and Cindy Crawford. I’m not complaining!

3. Are very flat bodied. Especially their bums! I would know, the girl’s locker room at the gym doesn’t have shower stall doors. (I wait til I get home consequently. Too shy.) Their noses and foreheads are flat. Everything about them seems two dimensional.

4. Are extremely friendly and love to laugh.

5. Are undeterred by our lack of Chinese and think by writing and showing us Chinese characters we’ll finally get it.

6. Have short, squat little dogs. Totally see where the Chinese pug came from.

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Chinese language

1. Is awesome to listen to

2. Is full of the “sh” sound. Jacob and I love to pretend to speak it to ourselves.

3. Sounds aggressive and angry to us sometimes, but the Chinese don’t get aggressive and angry, not even the taxi drivers!

4. Oh well, at least there’s English translation on menus! What sounds good to you?


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I ended up going with the impenetrable fortress, and yam with blueberry sauce.



1. Is way more modern than I expected. Especially with the Olympics, the city I think has changed a lot in the last few years.P1060953

2. Is so extremely polluted (six times more than New York or Paris) but I only got allergies a couple of days, then adjusted to my new permanently gray foggy atmosphere. I think ths is why people wear what you see in the picture below. Jacob calls them storm troopers.


3. Is easy to get around and doesn’t feel nearly as crowded as India, though it’s just as or more populated in this big city.



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