Going to Xian was great! I really did love that city. I wish it wasn’t a 12 hr train ride away! I have a lot to blog about all thanks to this little note book.I will share several/all of the experiences with you.
You wouldn’t believe it! Public Urination is okay for all ages in China. So the trip hadn’t even started. I arrive at the train station an hour early and decide to go sit at a park and listen to the best Radiohead album (In Rainbows, I’ve listened to the others) and there were a few Chinese girls running around and playing at this park. Next thing I know, she is pulling down her pants and moving her butt in circular motion as if to help wiggle off her underwear. For those of you who don’t know my nephew Deacon, he is 3, and by all means not a big child. I would say this girl is about 15-20 more lbs than him and she was chubby, but not fat. She also has a good 4-5 inches on him. That would put her around 5-6 I am guessing, maybe 4. Anyways back to the butt in circular motion to wiggle off the underwear. it’s wiggled off and she is in squatting position, mother watching, and she smiles and urinates a big puddle. You are correct, this was not on the grass it was on rock tile concrete which enabled it to puddle. How inhumane…not 30 seconds later her playmate runs along (about Deacon’s size) and wouldn’t you know it she steps right in the urine puddle. It was a really dry day so imagine the fact that she stepped in a puddle shocked her, because after she stepped in it she instantly turned her head and tripped right in the puddle of urine. I imagine she cried because she fell, but had she known it was urine it probably would’ve made matters worse. I didn’t laugh, I was too disgusted. I wish Chinese parents would at least train them to do it in the grass or maybe on fire hydrants…The girl that tripped was extremely cute, however now that she tripped in urine, she will forever be known as urine girl.
I should have taken a picture, but sadly I did not. When I went to Shanghai a few months ago I bought a ticket that came along with a bed for overnight 9 hr train ride. When I went to Xian I had a chair for a 12 hr overnight train ride. Also for this option people can buy “standing tickets”, it really means you stand/sit in the aisle the whole time. These people are vultures just waiting for people to go to the bathroom. Luckily, due to my fear of public bathrooms (thank you Malaysia) I was able to avoid getting up. How disgusting is it that you are even willing to sell seats to people where they would have to stand for 12 hrs?! What the hell kind of society is this? I honestly think it should be illegal. It can’t be healthy, plus if the thing wrecked everyone would be boned.
The line to go to our tourist attraction was extremely long, I mean really long. So we opted not to take a bus, but to take a tourist car. He said 40 yuan per person, but little did we know that he was going to add to the price when we got there. We all have student ID’s which gave us discounts at all historical/tourist sites. He told us we couldn’t buy the discounted tickets because he gets a lofty commission if we buy the ticket that enables the car to enter and escort us. He did not tell us about this until the moment we arrived to the gate. We got out and decided to use the student ID’s to get the cheaper prices and he was furious. We called my local friend who I met in Singapore and who also is a recent convert to the church. She told us that we should give him 60 yuan for the ride there and tell him thanks, but that we didn’t need his services anymore because he lied to us. We start walking up the path and he drives up to where we are and throws the 60 yuan out the window and drives up. I hurriedly pick up the 60 yuan before the wind blew it away and we got a free ride to our destination!
Buying Beverages at Tourist Attractions
I am white. Very well understood to all people that know or look at me. It is understanding that drink prices would be higher at a tourist attraction, but all the way from 3.50 yuan to 10 yuan? That’s ridiculous. All I wanted was a Gatorade at a semi-fair price. The guy wouldn’t budge from 10 yuan. I said I couldn’t purchase it at this price. I then asked my friend Ted whom I was traveling with to buy it for me (he is from Taiwan). I tell him to pay no more than 5 for it, he came down with a Gatorade for me at the price of 5 yuan. The man originally said 8 yuan, cheaper than what was first offered to me and then allowed him to bargain down to 5 which was not available to me at all. Hilarious! We played this game throughout the trip asking how much it would cost for me to buy a bottle of water or other various beverages. Some would let me bargain, but others wouldn’t and when I bargained to a fair price they always had a scowl look on their face.
American Born Chinese, wow. I sat a row in front of two ABC’s on one 30 minute bus ride to another place of tourism. It was horrible! Horrible, horrible, horrible. They had to be the two worst people to ever participate in a conversation. Speaking on the topic of how a labor worker in China could possibly live off of 600 yuan a month. I don’t know where they dug up this salary, but anyways it came with quotes such as; Man: “Ok, one chicken drum costs 4 yuan.” Woman:” Where at? (insert fancy import store here)?” Man: “No, Walmart (just another regular grocery store in China nothing special about it).” Woman: “Well just buy a whole chicken and stick it in the freezer.” Man: “Chinese people don’t have freezers (It’s true, especially if you were living off 600 yuan a month)” Woman: “Yes they do!” Man: “NO, NO.” These are only some of the ridiculous quotes from conversation 1.
Woman: ” I think Chinese babies are so cute, aren’t they? Even the ugly ones are cute.” Well that’s enough for conversation 2.
I got to meet up with a recent convert in Xian that I had tought in Singapore. She treated us all to dinner in her home city. I thought I was done being a missionary, but yet again I was bated into eating something I was just not interested in. A whole clove of garlic. Don’t get me wrong I love the flavor of garlic on certain things as do all Americans, but we just don’t eat them whole and plain. A week or two prior to this event I learned in class that Chinese people eat them whole because they believe it is good for your health and that it will clear your system. So I ate it and it was weird, but not as horrible as I thought it would be. The food in Xi an was delicious! I loved it. It was fantastic!
I was able to travel due to a public holiday for ancestor worship. One of our destinations was a large temple. The original price without a student discount was 45 yuan. The price the day of the holiday which also happened to be the day we visited…120 yuan and student discount was not available. How much money would you pay to wave inscents in the air to your ancestors (not teasing at the Chinese race), but seriously you can do it anywhere! You also could do it any weekend not during the Holiday at a much cheaper or free price! I think religion loses it’s meaning when you raise prices on religious Holidays. Then again I guess there is tithing…
I was eating another delicious Xi an meal when I saw three co-workers fighting furiously fighting to pay the bill. It was hilarious and happens all over the place in China everyday, they do not like to let people pay…
I would recommend Xi an to anyone and don’t worry. Even though the kid peeing story was in Beijing I saw at least 6 other kids publicly urinating, at places of tourism mind you. The public urination can be seen all over asia, I saw it in Malaysia several times and I even saw it in Singapore once (the so called cleanest city on earth). I loved my trip, hope the rest of you can make it down to Xi an!
Other Delicious Food
Other Sweet Pics
Thank you for this thorough and excellent report, Walker. I especially appreciate the overheard conversations. More of these, please. Did you see the terra cotta warriors? any pics of those? I’m glad you had a great time, but that train ride sounds brutal.
This is so cool! Glad you are taking the opportunities to travel. I should qualify, the public urination is not cool. But cool that you got to meet up with someone you taught! Can’t wait to hear more stories about your mission when we meet up this summer!
sweet trip! i’m way jealous. once i saw an old man pee on the side of the road in taiwan. he slipped his deal out and tried to pee without supporting it and it ran all over his leg, but I don’t think he even noticed. It was hilarious because it was a busy street with lots of pedestrians and cars.