||[23 Jun 2006|04:15pm]
this being my final day in china i feel i should have some sort of wrap-up. but first, the headlines:
today i got my nails done. again. but this time their cooler, because for only 8 kuai more, i can get flowers painted on. so now they are blue and flowery. pretty!
the other night we hyad our final banquet dinner, in which oily, greasy, tasty food was in abundance. there were these really good deep-fried banana cream filled twinkie type things. i wanted to eat the whole plate, but i decided to maintain only a moderate risk of obesity and heart disease and only eat one.
that night i went out with my friends and four students from uva. true to form, i convinced myself that the bar/ club would be enjoyable because it was a salsa club. and it was alright. tolerable. but not knowing how to salsa apparently handicaps the fun factor, so we rounded up the whole gang and went to zapatas, which, unfortunately for me, was not tolerable. imagine if you will, a restaurant without the tables or the food. then add in at least 100 people over the fire marshall's limit, drunk, sweaty foreigners with hardly any clothes on gyrating to the non-existent beats of bad 80s/ 90s music, and you have yourself something close to zapatas. i walked in and then walked out and took a cab ride home alone. boy was that fun. but at least that night my expectations were not too high.
yesterday we got a huge thunderstorm. it was cool.
yesterday i also went with three friends to the 'fake market,' which is a market of fake name brand goods. we spent about two hours walking around in the scorching, sauna heat. my friends bought a lot of stuff. i bought a red fake coach wallet, pretty much just because i felt that i should have something to show for those two torturous yet strangely entertaining hours. afterwards we got lunch at (get this!) a turkish restaurant! i had hummus for the first time in almost a month. it was spec-tac-ular. oh, was i happy. and the pita bread that they served was not pita bread but actually a piping hot, thick, extraordinary bread somewhat similar to pizza dough. it was wonderful.
so now, the wrap-up.
i am looking forward to going home. i miss my family because there's so much here that i know they would love, and i wish that i could show them and share experiences with them, because there's really nothing like being in china. that being said, there's nothing like being in china. it's incredible. i have a close group of friends; navigating the dangerous streets of shanghai will do that for you. i have lived for a month in a foreign, non-english speaking country, something that isn't exactly common. i have relied on myself and my knowledge to get around. i have been pushed and shoved out of the way, nearly run over by every form of transportation, been accosted in a grocery store, been stared at, gawked at, and probably laughed at numerous times. it was hard, but it was worth it. i have discovered foods that don't exist in the US and words that have no literal translation.
more things i have learned:
1. when pollution blocks the sun, the heat is more bearable.
2. many chinese people think i am french. this is not necessarily a flattering thing, considering that the french don't have the best of reputations. neither do the japanese.
3. many chinese people think i am beautiful, citing my hair, height, and nose as reasons.
4. it doesn't matter that it equals 2 us dollars, you just paid too much for it. but if you want the price to go down, walk away and pretend you don't want it.
5. cabs are cheap, convenient, and very, very scary. but the drivers wear white gloves.
6. spitting or blowing your nose on to the street isn't rude.
7. don't wait, just go and shove your way through. but just because it has brakes doesn't mean it will stop.
8. when someone comes up to you and says "watch bag? watch bag?" they don't mean they want to watch your bag, but rather they want to sell you a watch or a bag.
9. if you touch it, you must want to buy it.
10. if you come in, you must want to spend your money there.
11. if you are american, you have money, and you want to spend it.
12. there is no such thing as personal space.
13. people here don't say hi to each other. you're just another person in the way. unless you want to buy something.
14. rice comes out last, dishes come out 10 to 20 minutes apart, and everyone eats off the same plates.
15. it doesn't matter that it equals 1 us dollar, you just paid too much for it.
and thus ends my stint in china. tomorrow i will arrive at the shanghai airport at 8 am, and 26 hours later, i'll be in phoenix. and then, i will be eating, sleeping, or going to see a prairie home companion.
until then, this is ellis saying 'zai jian' to china.