On Saturday, we decided to explore some newly discovered caves. Well, I am not sure who told me they were newly discovered because they were not. The time we spent on our way to the caves and on our way home was the best part of the day. We went to the caves with Dr. Cheng and Jack, one of our students. Normally, our students have classes on Saturdays. They do not know what a weekend is because they take classes Monday-Saturday. Saturdays are used to learn Chinese history. Jack wechatted me Friday night. He explained how they will not have Saturday classes until the 13th week and after we leave. He asked if he could join us for our Saturday adventure, and I couldn’t say no. He is a great kid. I think we see him every day, and he helps us with everything.
Dr. Cheng is a great guy. He likes to explore on his own, and is very much an introvert. We were happy he brought us along for this day trip. Somehow while walking around campus, Dr. Cheng found this very sketchy path to the bus station. The path is in a very weird spot, and it doesn’t look like people are around here every day. We decided to walk the path, and the pictures are below. I think they tell it all for me.
After this long journey through the “small town,” we finally made it to the bus station. Only to find out the bus leaves 40 minutes later than what we expected. Hence, we were an hour and forty minutes early. We decided to walk around this “small town” and have lunch. All these Americans I was with wanted McDonald’s or KFC. Well, the closest was an hour drive away. That definitely wasn’t happening, but we did find a McDonald’s bootleg. Yep, you read that right. Look at the picture below. The added a line in the golden arches. Dr. Cheng asked, “Do you think McDonald’s would sue them?” Haha. I am not sure, but this logo is trademarked. I don’t know how they pulled this one off, but they did. Again, all I could eat was French fries. They were pretty good, but I didn’t get many. Dr. Cheng bought us some fried purple potatoes. I didn’t know these things existed, but they tasted great. It reminded me of sweet potato but sticky. I kept putting small town in quotations because that is what Jack referred to it as. To us, this was not a small town. It was a huge city with a lot of high rises. It was the weekend, so there were a lot of people out on the streets shopping. We walked down the street, just to waste more time.
I thought I would be used to all of the staring by now, but I am not. I wonder where they think we are from. Is it obvious we are Americans? Or do they wonder if were from another country? I wish I knew how to ask. It became more apparent we were the center of attention when we stopped for cotton candy. There were about 10-15 people standing around us watching, and they were not waiting in line for cotton candy (I know you might be thinking they were). I didn’t realize they were watching. I starting stuffing my mouth with this big piece of cotton candy, and somebody point it out that we were being watched. I was so embarrassed. I just had my mouth wide open, ugh! Jack was snapping pictures, too! He did take a good one, and I will include it below.
On the way back to the bus station, Jack bought some…..something. He didn’t know the name of it in English or Chinese lol. I also have a picture of it. Whatever “it” was, it was made out of rice. It tasted like a popcorn stick. He bought a bag for only 5 Yuan, less than $1 US. I had four of them, and everybody had at least 2. Jack still had a half of bag left, so there were plenty. I couldn’t stop eating them, but I had eaten so much random stuff that I had to make myself stop.
Walking through the “small town,” we saw a lot of shops selling bathroom necessities. In particular, porcelain “hole in the grounds.” We also saw a store selling western toilets. We didn’t think they had a choice to choose between the two, but this proved otherwise. So, the question remains, “If given the option, why choose a hole in the ground?” Dr. Cheng responded by saying they are accustomed to doing it since they have been doing it there entire life. He told us a story that I would never forget:
“On the airplane, go use the toilet. Most times, you will find handprints on the back of the toilet. That will be from someone squatting on top of it because they don’t know how to use it the proper way.”
Wow, is all I can say about that.
I just remembered another story. While walking around the sculpture park, a family with twin girls walked by. The mother was pushing the girls toward Alyssa, Brandon, and I. We couldn’t figure out what she was saying. All of a sudden, one of the little girls hugged Alyssa. Then Brandon. Then me. The twin sister followed. It was so cute! I wish we had someone recording it. It made my heart melt.
Back to the city. We were almost to the bus station, and I might have witnessed the most gruesome act ever. Another little girl was sh*tting right on the side walk next to a busy street in broad daylight. As you can see, this must be very normal to people here. I had already watched something similar, but what happens next is what turned my stomach upside down. A stray dog went over and started eating the poop. Yes! Ate the poop! OMG!!! I could not believe what I was watching. I couldn’t take it. I laughed so I wouldn’t throw up. I wish I was making this story up, but I am not. This was the real deal holyfield. It took me about five minutes to write this paragraph because it hurt my stomach to relive this experience. Unbelievable!!!
In the bus station and everywhere for that matter, people spit everywhere. They clear their throats and spit right on the ground. Women too. “Hock a loogie” is the more popular term. It is the nastiest thing ever. Spit on the bus, right in front of you, on the bus station floor, etc. I watched a father spit on the floor in the bus station. His son was playing around him, and stepped all in the spit. Ugh! Just gross. We were talking in the station, while waiting for the bus, and discussing things we can never get used to in China. Brandon responded with, “Sh*t and Spit!” Lol. He hit it right on the money, and that pretty much summed up our day.
When we arrived home after balling for some time, I was exhausted. I took a two hour nap, and woke up to every muscle in my body aching. I had to take Advil in order to fall back to sleep. I can’t keep up with these young kids, but I will try. I won’t let them know how I old I really am. Haha. It is our little secret.
That is all for my weekend. Today, we made it back to classes. I think I have a good post here, so I will not end with my disastrous Monday. I will discuss it in my next blog. Let’s just say, flexibility is the key to surviving in China. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I will never do it again. Repeat: “Never do it again.”