Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beijing - First Impressions

* disclaimer* these thoughts are my natural human instincts of observation. some will sound like generalizations and stereotypes but not meant to offend and may be innacurate. just what i observed.
Hubby and I just arrived back from our "fact finding week" in Beijing. I am sure this will be the first in a series of posts, but I wanted to jot down my first impressions.
  • very, very cold
  • overcast, though soon found it was not overcast but the famous smog and pollution
  • eating means business. they do not casually eat and talk. they chow down and concentrate on every bite of food.
  • they have no idea how to use forks and knives (just like I have no idea how to use chopsticks). while using them I saw a man cut his meat and put it into his mouth with his knife instead of fork. I saw one lady resting her fork and knife on her shoulders while she chewed her food.
  • they say there are many, many expats here. we did not see any anywhere, besides the ones from church and mark's office. we've also been told by more than a few that once you come to China as an expat you never want to return to America.
  • most buildings there are medium height, though they are not close together like NY or SF, or even Tokyo or Hong Kong. sidenote, Hong Kong has the tallest buidings I've ever seen!
  • there is not much worth shopping for here, despite everything we have in America being made in is all exported.
  • even new buildings are not built up to American standards. most buildings are shabby. they are not pretentious at all. I feel like we, Americans, are kind of snobs. we would not tolerate our grocery store being shabby, they just don't mind.
  • Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way! Crossing major streets is like the old school video game "Frogger". No joke!
  • The subway system is efficient and very easy to use. Thank goodness!
  • there are police everywhere. although the rules for driving are not enforced at all. I am not sure any rules are enforced by the police (jay walking, etc). I did get reprimanded for taking pictures of buildings in the Central park area.
  • the women do not dress up or wear a lot of make-up.
  • children liked to stare at hubby and I.
  • chinese food really is what we think of as chinese food. Lots of sauces with meat and veggies served over rice. I got tired of it very, very quickly.
  • things are reasonably priced, except rent.

That is it for now. Jet lag has set in. I will post more later.

Xia Xia for reading!


Carissa said...

I'm glad you're home safe. I doubt you'll want to stay there forever though, sounds crowded. You'll have to take a lot of American food with you, Peanut Butter, Brownie mixes and the like. For me, missing familiar foods was always the hardest part about living in a foreign country. What a tremendous adventure for your family.

Laura said...

I knew your perspective would be colorful and well said (even with jet lag) cannot wait to read/hear more.

Best line....Frogger, almost fell off my chair laughing with that mental picture of you crossing the street. Would love to know why you were reprimanded.


Teri said...

Interesting, I am excited to hear more!!