Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cultural Differences

Things that seemed very different or weird to me when I first moved to Hong Kong or traveled in China, no longer seem odd, or as odd as they once did; however, I still notice the differences. I captured a few when recently in China. The first is a very odd translation. I don’t like to point out bad English when my Chinese is so far from fluent. Besides, captures far more craziness than I ever could. This picture is an exception:
There were similar trash bins in other parks that were correctly translated as Recyclable/Non Recyclable. The Chinese characters for recycle roughly mean, “can return to collection” and the non-recyclable characters simply add an extra one for “no/not/non”. I have no idea how non-recyclable got translated into “organism”.

Here is an ashtray in a restaurant that is simply bizarre:
Monkeys are pretty common:
I love the industrious nature of this home-made stroller; simply hook a small rattan chair to a base with wheels. In general, babies do ride in strollers. They are carried, even in Hong Kong. I saw several cases of this same rattan chair tied onto a bike for an easy bicycle baby seat.
There are far fewer rules and laws in Hong Kong and China, especially concerning safety. I find this rather liberating, but it is still shocking to see children standing on the floorboards of the front passenger seat or mothers holding infants with no seatbelt. Another common sight in southeast Asia, is the family of 4 riding on a scooter/moped.

Let me know if you like to see these “strange” things, and I’ll try to post more of them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hong Kong Breakfast

I woke up an hour late this morning but still managed to get to work on time. On the way to work, I picked up a "Hong Kong style" breakfast from 7-11. It is rice noodles with soy sauce, peanut sauce, and sesame seeds with a few fish dim sum (yellow things) thrown in. The drink is hot tea with lots of condensed milk and sugar. The noodles and drink cost US$1.50. I may start making this my standard breakfast.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guilin and Yangshuo

We had a wonderful trip over the long Easter weekend to the mountains in China. These are the strange looking mountain scenes depicted in Chinese paintings, very beautiful and magical. To get to this area, we flew into Guilin (75 minute plane flight) that I would describe as a small city. The mountains rise up out of the city and along the large Li River. During our two days in Guilin, we rented bikes and rode from mountain to mountain and strolled along the river.

Originally, we planned to take a river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, but China is experiencing a severe drought, and the water level was not high enough for large boats. Thus, we took a 90 minute taxi ride to Yangshuo where we spent 3 days.

Yangshuo is small town and rather westernized due to its famous rock climbing and influx of backpackers. Erik visited Yangshuo while on a business trip a few years ago before we moved to Asia. It was great that he could show me all the places he had visited. Yangshuo is very quaint, but it was super crowded with tourists. Again, we biked and hiked. One day, we took a local bus to a small village where we went on a bamboo raft cruise on the river--so picturesque.

This trip was well-needed, and we had a relaxing yet active time.

Here are Erik's wonderful pictures:

A funky cave in Guilin:Crowds in Yangshuo:On the bamboo raft, we saw the site depicted on the 20 yuan note:These birds were trained to catch fish:Two women in their home preparing dinner. Note that it is a chicken:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy "San Shi Ba" To Me!

That is Happy 38 in Mandarin. My birthday was spent making our way back from a lovely vacation in Guilin and Yangshuo, China. It was a wonderful way to celebrate. 37 was an awesome year, and I plan to make 38 even better. Here I am eating my birthday dinner of instant noodles and a can of beer in the airport, yummy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter 2010

Once again, the mall by our apartment has a fabulous display for the holiday. This Easter, the theme is Peter Rabbit. It is a beautiful take on the Easter Bunny. There are two huge displays, one with a person in a Peter Rabbit costume. The line was so long to get a picture with Peter Rabbit.