Adventures in Tianjin

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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ni Hao everyone!

Just a short little update.  I am alive and have succeeded in traveling in a high speed train from Shenyang to Tianjin.  We're staying at a "Home Inn" which is similar to a $30-40 a night motel/hotel in the US.

Unfortunately not a whole lot to report over the past two days except some awkward situations with Steve's ex-girlfriend which I won't get into.  We went and sang at another karaoke place (called KTV in China) and today I went up on a giant ferris wheel called the "eye of Tianjin".

I went shopping in the ancient market bazaar and picked up a few things I thought my friends and family might enjoy.  You know, like pork rinds and potato chips ;)

Since I don't have a whole lot to report I guess I'll take a minute and talk about a cultural difference in terms of driving cars.

I know in an earlier post I wrote about the lack of - well - any sort of traffic laws or rules.  Really, I don't see how there are not more accidents.  One of the things that are going to get to a US citizen immediately arriving in China is the use of the car horn.  My experience in the US has taught me that the car horn may be used if:

1) Someone is screwing up - such as not moving forward at a green light.
2) Someone is screwing up - such as jaywalking
3) Someone is screwing up - such as almost running into you
4) Someone is screwing up - such as not following the right-of-way rules.

But this just isn't how it is in China.  The citizens here liberally use the horn to simply let you know they are coming.  For Chinese people, jaywalking and swerving in an out of traffic lanes (heck, one taxi guy actually cut around traffic by going on the other side of the street) are a way of life.  They use the horn to communicate.  Sure, sometimes its out of anger but most of the time it's just to make sure that you don't swerve into them.

When I first got here, hearing the horns put me on edge.  When someone beeps at you back home you get mad for the reason that you are embarrassed for messing up or that you didn't mess up and now you're doubly mad at the guy that beeped his horn.

I mean, heck, I've seen guys at school get a ticket for beeping their horn to say "hi" to their friends.  That just doesn't go down here.

Or hey - that's how it is in Florida anyway.

On a side note, we had an older guy with his Chinese family stop by our table to say hi.  He was from Toronto Canada (though he looked like an American who dodged the draft in the 60s).  White people gotta stick together?

I also saw my first black person here in China after almost 2 weeks.  You don't really appreciate how diverse America is until you go to another country.

That's all for now - Zai Jian!

P.S. There is a "kitty in a bag" video for you cat lovers out there.
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Comments

Aunt Marsha on

Looks like you have had a wonderful time in China.
The big ferris wheel looks like fun.
It has been fun to follow you on all your adventures.
Love.

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