Monday, June 2, 2008

The China Monologues

How to sum up the most amazing trip of my life...? First, we must all thank my BFF Jilly G for making the trip and my oh-so-informative recaps possible. As I alluded to before, I am the ultimate SWF-esque imitator of all my friends, so there's no way I would've ever thought, "Hey, I think I'll go to China to run in the Great Wall Marathon and then go hang out in Hong Kong for a while" on my own. I'm just not that brave. She is, though, and I owe so much of my currently-fabulous life to her. Next, I must thank The Wonderful Husband for putting up with my stress-mood-swings before leaving, lack of communication during, jet-lag whining upon returning, and of course the financial backing for this little jaunt to boost the Chinese economy.

Significant discoveries:

  • Toilets: 'Nuff said. I hear they're like that some places in Europe also, but fortunately I did not experience it while I was there making this my first exposure to such hideous-ness.
  • LIT (Lost in Translation): "What?! You mean not everyone in the whole wide world speaks English?!" Oh, how arrogant we are! The funniest part is that in the US if we don't understand someone, we just say "I don't know", whereas in China everyone is so polite that they just nod. So you think they understand you, but alas, it's usually an LIT moment. I vow to be more patient with non-English speakers at home in California (of which there are millions).
  • Money math: Having to divide everything by 7 to figure out the money conversion was really a stretch to my 10th-grade-level math skills. I ended up writing out a little cheat sheet of 10HKD=1.28USD, 20HKD=2.56USD, etc. I highly recommend this to other math illiterates while traveling.
  • Time math: Most of the clocks are in military time, which I can do, fortunately. The time-zone - not so much. "What time is it there?" has always been one of my most frequently used phrases.
  • Metric system math: Seriously, everyone uses it - why don't we? The marathon organizers said "We have distance markers throughout the course and for our American friends we even put it in miles". How embarrassing!
  • Geography: Two months ago I couldn't even pick out China on a map. I'm happy to say I am no longer the stereotypical American Geogr-illiterate.
  • Pollution: Beijing makes LA smog look pristine.
  • Humidity: (You know I don't go a day without commenting on or complaining about the weather.) Hong Kong makes Florida look like a dry desert.

So ends my adventure. I learned a lot, saw a lot, and spent a lot, which makes it the perfect vacation! (Click here to see ALL pictures.)

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