During my first day in Shijiazhuang the weather was nice. Since then, it’s been so foggy/hazy/smoggy that I can scarcely see my hand when I stick it out in front of me. In certain areas the air pollution is stifling – literally hurting my eyes. Other times, it just makes me feel tired. Like there’s a thin film separating me from my surroundings, isolating me in a hazy sort of dreamworld.
I hope this is just a Winter thing, and not year-round. It’s quite a different feeling from the previous day 😛
Yet, despite the climactic unpleasantness I’ve been surprised by the amount of greenery I’m seeing throughout the city….a completely recent phenomenon, according to Andy. During the months prior to the Beijing Olympics the government came in and began knocking down buildings and kicking people out – replacing their properties with grassy fields or trees.
Not so nice for the people…but it does make things LOOK a lot prettier.
So far, this has been a generally pretty lazy trip.
I’ve realized that while I love hanging out with friends, it’s tough to both travel and work unless I’m on my own – because even when I stay indoors to be productive, with a close friend around, socializing is inevitable.
TRAVELING is far superior with a friend. WORKING (and blogging) is superior on your own. It’s a tough balance.
When Andy and I were discussing my trip/move (?) to China via e-mail, one of his concerns was that I’d be bored with the city’s utter lack of nightlife, especially in comparison to what I’d gotten used to in Japan.
Well, during my first weekend here we hit up a little club called Seven – one of only two real options in town. And I have to say, it was far better than I expected! Not to mention free entrance and free drinks for foreigners 🙂
Hey, it was no Club Volume, but it’ll do 😉
I know I’ve said it several times already, but it’s really pretty amazing how rare foreigners are out here.
When Andy, Bence, myself and a few others were talking about life in Shijiazhuang, the most overwhelming response was that if you’re foreign – just for being foreign – you can achieve pretty much any lifestyle you want. One of their friends from Argentina literally just walked into town, and with no skill or language ability whatsoever got a manager’s position at a major hotel – just so the guests could see someone white working behind the desk. He gets full room-and-board in the VIP suite and a salary that his coworkers barely earn in a year. Because it’s viewed as “prestigious” not to be Chinese.
In Japan, cities are generally composed of small, tightly packed buildings and no empty space.
In China, you’ve got TONS of space, and most of the buildings are BIG. That is, not necessarily tall, but covering huge amounts of ground and with even more empty property around them.
It’s a totally different feeling.
Did you know that babies typically don’t wear diapers in China?
Instead, they wear pants without crotches, allowing their kibbles n’ bits to hang out for all to see. When they have to go #2, mommy just picks them up, folds them in half, and there they go.
How this problem is resolved in beds or public places – sitting on a parent’s lap on a train for instance – I’m still not sure.