I think it’s best to start with some random thoughts about Changchun. I apologize that there are no photos. The photos are there, I just can’t get them from my camera to my computer and I have no idea why. This may be due to a camera/computer malfunction. More than likely it’s a brain malfunction. I’ve done it before. I guess I’ll just have to overload you with photos when I solve the problem. Got ’em! I’m not so stupid after all 🙂
Honking. It is “illegal” in GZ to honk your car horn in the city limits. I don’t exactly see people getting tickets for it but everyone seems to honor the law. Changchun could use a similar law. It was unbelievable. They are quick to honk and will continue to honk until you do what they want you to. If you don’t jump off the green light they honk. If you get out of a car and don’t move within 1 second they honk. If you even put a foot on the street to cross they honk. The taxi rides were annoying, sleeping with the window open was impossible because they start early, and in general it was irritating. I never realized how disruptive car honking is. It’s nice to be back where honking is not allowed.
I had ice cream! The hotel had a breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet. I had a tiny scoop of chocolate one day at lunch. It was delicious!
There was very little Pinyin. Pinyin is the Romanized translation of the Chinese characters. Without it I don’t have a chance of knowing what anything might be. Now, it’s slim that I will have a chance with it but some odds are better than none. At least with Pinyin, I can pronounce the Chinese words.
Changchun must be the karaoke capital of China. I lost track of how many KTV places I saw when I was out and about. On the way in from the airport just blocks from our hotel, we counted 4 huge KTVs in 2 blocks. I guess that’s what you do for entertainment when winter starts in October.
We’re were someone’s first foreigners. We had dinner with a young woman who Anders was working with and she told us at the end of the night that we were the first foreigners she ever ate with! She very wisely told us at the end of the evening otherwise I would have been a bit more conscious about how I acted. Now that I think about it perhaps it would have been better to know at the beginning. She may never eat with a foreigner again.
Like GZ, there is a lot of construction. They are building high-rise apartment complexes, shopping malls, office buildings, car factories, and government buildings. I saw an apartment complex that was called Whistler, as in Whistler, B.C., Canada. The apartments looked like ski lodges, big ones mind you. They also had shops and restaurants and you have thought you were in western Canada. If I was going into business in China, I would manufacture construction cranes!
No tree is a lost cause. I saw so many trees that were supported (with trees that I guess they did give up on). They don’t just yank them out and replace them, they nurture them back to health. It was amazing.
People continued to talk to me even though I told them several times in Mandarin that I didn’t understand. They have something to say and they’re going to say it. I found it charming.
A boy of about 10 years followed me from the lobby of the hotel to the elevator and watched me intently until the door closed. I’m telling you, if your ego needs a boost just come to China. Saying ni hao to them lights up their faces. They get a kick out of it and they almost always say hello back. They love to say hello and bye-bye in English.
Everything closes early. We were at a restaurant and we closed the place at 9:00. We were told that because it gets so cold that most people go home after work or if they eat out return home immediately. I guess I would want to be tucked in at home too if the temperature dropped to -40°C in the winter too. Trivia, -40°C is equal to -40°F.
I mentioned that we woke up to snow Sunday morning. It was only about an inch or so but the roads were nothing but ice. They didn’t salt or plow. They did however use people to sweep and shovel in places they can get to on the roads, sidewalks, and bus stops. At the toll plaza they were salting but people were actually shoveling and carrying the snow across the traffic lanes! Unbelievable.
I ate pig’s blood. Yep, not beef, not chicken, not yak, but pig’s blood. It’s a delicacy. One of our friends told me that the pig’s blood in GZ is better than what we had in Changchun but I don’t think I’ll be making that comparison. I have no idea what else I may have eaten but it’s best that way. I liked just about everything with the exception of the blood.
The Chinese order a lot of food. They want to be such good hosts and they are. I never poured my own tea and I never had an empty tea-cup or corn juice glass. I’m telling you, our trip back to the States next week is well-timed. I have to have my ego put back in its proper place 😉 BTW, Jilin province is the corn belt of China.
ML in Paris this is for you – I ate spaetzle with chopsticks and washed it down with gluhwein. Funny n’est-ce pas? The only night we had dinner at the hotel was the last night and they had a German buffet! They had Weihenstephaner beer so both Anders and I were happy. The waitresses were even dressed in Bavarian costumes. It was VERY multi-cultural.
I hugged 2 people! 🙂
6PM – 75°