I originally started this site as a travel blog but it has since taken on a life of its own and I write about whatever comes to mind. Politics, culture, my experiences around the world and in my own country. Feel free to follow me and leave comments!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 1- Stranger in a Strange Land

> So after waking out of my coma I met up with Juan at the hotel (I use the word “hotel” loosely. It was really like a closet with a bed in it. Maybe I’m being a little harsh but it reminded me of a high school chemistry lab for some reason. Jinjiang Inn if you’re interested. It’s like, $28 a night. No breakfasts. >:/ Anyway, Juan showed up a little late, no doubt taking a little more time to look extra fabulous. She took me somewhere. I have no idea where we were but it was like a shopping district. It was hot like the dickens! The temperature was only around 90 or so degrees F but because it was monsoon season the humidity was 8000%. We went through this shopping district and I was overwhelmed by the number of people crammed into such a small space.

In the West we are taught to move aside so people can pass as a gesture of politeness and things like that but in China people don’t care about that. You push your way through the crowds to get to where you want. I eventually got used to it and being 6’4” I didn’t have any trouble as people would get out of my way. Westerners looking to go to China better not be self-conscious because you WILL be stared whether you like it or not. People will turn their heads to look at you like how an owl does. It freaked me out a lot at first but what you need to do is lock eyes with them and try not to get weirded out. I got used to it and learned to ignore the constant staring. I was in Guangzhou, maybe the third biggest in China and while not as international as Beijing and Shanghai, I was led to believe that there were quite a few foreigners there. I went nearly a week without seeing another non-Asian person. This is going to sound really messed up but it’s important to know. If you are any ethnicity other than white then you really shouldn’t go to China. That’s unfair. Go if you like but you most likely won’t have the same experience as a white person because white tend to get preferential treatment. Most of the time. There are some Chinese who don’t like white people but they are the minority.

Aside from my freakish height people stared at me because I’m so handsome. That’s what everyone there told me. I personally consider myself to be a decent looking guy. But then again I’m very humble. ;) And I was with a Chinese girl. So I usually got looks that ranged from curious to hostile from the men while I got curious and dare I say admiring looks from a lot of the women. I could be mistaken about that but most of the foreigners (when referring to foreigners in China that usually means white people) are older men or failures who came to China to make it big and there’s a stereotype which isn’t entirely untrue about an old, ugly, foreigner with a hot, young Chinese girl although I didn’t see any of those kinds of couples while I was there. But that’s beside the point. Apparently there is a shortage of young Western men. I’m also waaaaaay taller than her. Like over a foot taller.

So we went and got food and it was delicious! Way different than American Chinese food. Juan also taught me a few Chinese words. I would point at things through the window from the 3rd floor of the restaurant and she would say the words. I still remember what she taught me too! After that we went shopping for a while and one thing I noticed is that 95% of the stores sold clothes and all the stores had almost identical inventories. -_- I’ve never been one for clothes shopping. In fact I do everything in my power to avoid it. After a few hours of that we went back to my hotel and enjoyed the mediocre AC. I started showing her the pictures on my phone when something hilariously disastrous happened. I forgot that I had a picture of a humongous doodoo that I had taken a few months ago. I know. I’m a disgusting human being and I apologize but I thought it was so impressive it deserved to be recorded. She saw it for about a second before I jerked the phone away. A second was all she needed to recognize the fecal monster in the photo. She was surprised, and maybe a little repulsed but she laughed anyway. I tried to play it off like I didn’t know what it was or how it got on my phone. Soon after I went to lay on the bed to rest while she played with my Ipod (thankfully I was sure there were no doodoo pictures on it) and I eventually passed out at around 4pm and I woke up when Juan tried to put some blankets on me. Such a sweetheart! She let me sleep until 9 and by that time it had started pouring down rain so we ordered room service. It was good stuff but there is this one dish that never stopped freaking me out and they kept making me eat it.

Yes. That is a chicken head in my food. Not only is there a chicken head in it but this dish is also served cold. There's just something about cold meat that bugs me out. Like it's not sanitary or something. I don't even know if it was cooked but I ate it so Juan would be proud I guess. Ewwww.... Aside from chicken heads our dinner for two was fun and but she broke the tv so we had to watch this lame American Idol rip-off. I don't even like the real American Idol!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Getting there. bleh

Traveling to China was a nightmare. Ok. It wasn't that bad but I was pushed to my limits. From the beginning. I had to wake my mom up at 5 AM so she could drive me to the airport but if you knew her you would realize what an incredible feat this is. It also didn't help that I was too excited to sleep so I only got maybe 2 hours of shut-eye. My mom was a zombie so I had to drive us the airport and got lost a few times but we managed to get there just in time to check in and gothrough security.

The 3 hour flight from Savannah, GA to Chicago was uneventful except for this mean old lady who kept trespassing into my foot space. >:[ So I get to O'Hare airport or as I like to call it, HELL. This place was a huge mess when I was there. The first and hopefully the last time I'll have to pass through that place. Urrrrgggg...... I had to wait a few hours for the flight to Hong Kong and while I was waiting I couldn't help but notice this Vietnamese girl who kept looking at me. I pulled out a book (an awesome book about huge Megalodon sharks that eat people!!!!) and tried to pass the time. A little while later the terminal is filling up and white folks are few and far between. The girl comes and sits next to me. She was cute and all but I didn't say anything for a while until a bunch of people went to the service desk and since I'm such a noob when it comes to international travel I asked her if we had to check in. I fell into her trap and she struck a conversation with me. She was nice but I forgot her name about 6 seconds after she told me. It was something really Vietnamesish. The time passed by quickly and we boarded the plane, we ended up several rows apart. I was supposed to have a window seat but when I got to my row some douchbag was in my seat and when I tried to raise Hell about it he pretended not to know English so I ended up sitting in the aisle.

The flight lasted about 17 hours. I don't think I've ever been so close to just having a nervous breakdown. Despite the fact that my eyes were nearly bleeding from exhaustion I think I slept for maybe an hour. All 5 movies they showed were crappy chick-flick romantic comedies. The guy in my seat insisted on taking his shoes off for the duration of the flight. He had dirty socks. A lot of people chose to walk around the cabin but I preferred to just let my ass go into a coma. That Vietnamese girl came by my seat and said something to the effect of "Hey, you've been sitting down this whole time. Come on, get up and walk around." She walked back towards the bathrooms. More on that in a bit. So we landed in Hong Kong, a HUGE airport. Rediculous. We disembarked and didn't see the girl anywhere so I just went ahead to the currency exchange booth and got some RMBs. When I turned around the Vietnamese girl was there with a stern look on her face. This is the ensuing conversation:

Her- What happened?


Her- I invited you to the bathroom but you didn't come!

Me- Huh?

Her- I was ready to have sex with you!

Me- O_0 Yiiiiiiiiiikes.......... It's about time for me to be hitting the ole' dusty trail......

I had to use some Navy Seal evasion techniques to escape. If I wasn't a decent guy with a good head on my shoulders I don't know what I'd do! After hiding in the smoking lounge where she couldn't find me for a while I went to the boards to see if my flight was on time.


So I got lost and had to get help from this super nice security guy. I have to say most Communists are a lot nicer than most westerners think. I didn't really even have to go through Customs. I just went through security and they waved me through. I caught the plane to Guangzhou and had to go through immigration with a bunch of Iranians and Turks. 0_o The stereotype is true. They do smell. Like cabbage. After I made it through I met up with Juan and her friend Candy who took me to my hotel. Juan stayed with me for a few hours and I tried to teach her a little more English. Not sure how successful that was . She was really shy at first but I had to convince her to go home for the night after her mom kept calling to see where she was. After she left I passed out on the rock hard bed and slept that exhausted sleep where you don't even dream. So tired!

Siwei (Jen)

Total babe. Amiright or amiright?

Going to China! Shazaam!

About 6 or 7 months ago I got out of a really bad relationship with a girl from my school. I know a lot of guys say that their ex-girlfriends are crazy but this one seriously was. She was like, dangerous crazy. Mental issues, you know? After I broke that off I wanted to try something new. Get a fresh start. So I met this Chinese girl and we stayed in touch through this dating site called cherryblossoms.com. You probably haven't heard of it. It's kind of obscure. It's a world dating site with people from all over. I even saw chicks from Pakistan! There's still kind of a taboo about internet dating in America. If you tell someone you're talking to a girl over the internet they're likely to give you a weird look and some hurtful words. :'( Whatever. So we started sending some messages back and forth and eventually started contacting each other through private emails.

Then, after I learned some Mandarin Chinese (just a tiny bit and with God-awful pronunciation I'm sure) I gave her a call and I don't think anyone was ever been so happy to talk to me before. I wish everyone was so excited to talk to me! After that I made it a point to call her once or twice a week as my schedule allowed and then I started making plans with her to visit in June. While waiting for the time to pass we emailed each other several times a week, IMing, video chat and talked on the phone. Then as the time drew nearer to leave I got some presents for her (her name's Siwei/Juan by the way. (See-way/Jwen)) including a teddy bear that I made for her at Build-a-Bear Workshop and a sketchbook that I put some poems and drawings in. Intro's out of the way. On with the story!