Friday, January 16, 2009

Chinese Public Bathrooms

A few things I have learned about Chinese public bathrooms:

- Hold your breath (that's all I'm going to say about that).
- Look in every stall before you select one. You may get lucky and find a western-sitting-toilet.
- McDonald's in China still has western toilets!!
- Bring some tissue in your pocket (just in case TP is not supplied).
- Turn on the water BEFORE you put soap on your hands. Walking around with a blob of soap in your hands because the water doesn't turn on... not sure what to do about that.
- Have sanitizer handy (in case there is no soap at all).
- The "No Smoking" sign really means "Please, come smoke in the bathroom!"
- Don't worry about bad words being scribbled on the stalls -- if there are some, I can't read them! (One of the ONLY times being illiterate is a plus!)

Religious Procession

Today I was just plugging away at my computer at work, when I heard what sounded like a band of pots and pans banging outside. We all gathered at the window to see a long procession of worshipers dressed all in red and carrying something (it was hard for me to see what). My fellow employees said that they were taking their ancestors home. I'm not sure what that means. My fellow employees seemed to think it was silly or foolish, but I think that kind of devotion and respect is beautiful. We haven't seen much (or any) religious activity here in China before today (besides in our own branch, or course), so for me it was nice to see that religion is not totally dead here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Bed

Sam and I woke up at a little after 4 am on Friday morning (January 2, 2009) to get ready and catch our flight for China. Since I have been pregnant I've been kinda sick, so I was really concerned about our 15 hour flight to Hong Kong (airplane bathrooms are kind of small, especially if one is trying to face the toilet instead of sit on it). The flight turned out to be not too bad in the end (I only threw up in the morning and then the the last couple hours of the flight). Once we reached Hong Kong and made it through customs, we immediately hit the road for Shenzhen - another hour and a half north east of Hong Kong in a car. Once we arrived in Shenzhen and got to our living complex, we were taken to our apartment. I was SO ready to just hit the sack! At that point we had been up for over 28 hours and my pregnant, tired, and hungry body was pretty spent. Upon entering our apartment, however, I was faced with a few shocks. First, it was freezing cold (what happened to the whole "tropical climate" thing?!) Second, the whole place was really dirty -- but that is okay, we can clean. Our "two room" apartment turned out to be one room and an entry (I guess the entry is the other room?). No problem. We can handle that. The next room we saw was the kitchen (I had thought it was a laundry closet). The kitchen consisted of a cold narrow tiled room with a small opaque window up high in the wall, a tile counter, and a small square sink with only one faucet (cold water only, of course). Okay. Next door: Balcony - we will do our laundry out there. Next door: bathroom... sort of... there is no bath of course. And the shower consists of a shower head sticking out of a pipe that just sprays into the middle of the small room. No shower curtain or door or divider - the water just sprays all over the room. (At this point I wasn't sure if I didn't want to just get back on the plane...) The only faucet in the bathroom is of course cold water only, but at least we have a western toilet! (I think a hole in the ground would have send me into labor, at only 15 weeks along!) Anyway, the last room we saw was our bedroom. And, THERE WAS A BED!!! Oh, I was so excited! It had pillows and sheets and a comforter and a bed!! All I wanted to do was lay down, get warm and sleep forever! That bed was the whole apartment's saving grace! So without delay, that's what I did. I got my tired, hungry, shivering body into the bed. It was the whole reason I did not lose it right there. It was even okay that the bed was as hard as asphalt -- it was a bed at least! I snuggled into the covers trying not to think about where we were living. "At least we have a bed!" I thought to myself. It didn't matter that we had no hot water, or oven, or stove top, or shower curtain, or heat -- at least we had a bed! So as Sam got in the bed too, I was practically asleep already trying to think about only the bed. We snuggled together trying to get warm, when it happened -- our bed broke.


So I promised to make a blog for Sam and I once we moved to China. Well, we're here in Shenzhen, China now and I thought I better hurry and actually make this blog or by the time I do we won't have any friends left because I haven't kept in touch. Hope its not too boring, and if it is, don't read it. I'll just enjoy writing down all the funny/strange/cool things we experience here =)