First Impressions of Mainland China

I am currently doing my laundry in Guilin so I am going to take advantage of the spare time to do a quick post on my first impressions.  Side note: I will have clean clothes soon!  I didn’t do any laundry at all in Macau since it was so damp there that I was scared nothing would dry.  I have a washing machine in my hostel here woo hoo!

I arrived at my hotel in Guilin at midnight last night and ventured out today.

Older Chinese men LOVE to yell “HELLO” at me.  It’s actually adorable.  A couple of them were able to speak to me and seemed very excited to do so.  One kept telling me how happy he was to talk to me.

At one point today, I was walking around and I hear “HELLO!” I looked and saw it was coming from a person with a very severe hunchback.  I kind of wanted to stare.  Ironic, right?  I am THE Westerner, let ME stare at YOU!

The only other direct interactions I have had were with a guide who I keep running into, who yells “NEW YORK” at me and then tells me how much it costs for him to take me places, and the other guy who passed me as I was wiping sweat off my face and laughed and said “HOT.”

I have yet to have any Chinese woman look at me or say anything to me.   I have also not seen any split pants.  The only sidewalk pooping I have seen was done by an adorable puppy.

We all know that people in China spit non stop and that it is started with the churning of every bit of phlegm one has accumulated in their lifetime.  That doesn’t bother me much.  I am used to it from the Chinese in the neighborhood I live in. What does bother me is that every Chinese person has their camera and phone set up to have sound.  So every picture every person takes, you hear the “kuh-chih” sound a camera makes.  Since I am in touristy places, that sound is going nonstop and it is grating my nerves.

I also do not feel like I am in China.  Maybe this is a side effect of living in New York.  I am so used to seeing foreign people that seeing them here doesn’t feel any different to me.  I haven’t had that OH MY GOD I AM IN CHINA elation yet.

Also since I am giving first impressions here, let’s talk about hostels.  I have stayed in quite a few, always in a private room.  In the one I am in right now, I have to pass through the common area every time I come and go. I have never had that before.   Seeing all these people hanging out and meeting strangers almost makes me wish I had started traveling way earlier in life.  Before I was old and so accustomed to being alone that the idea of going places with people causes me more grief than enjoyment.  I might have liked to meet new people when I was younger.  I bet my life would be richer.

Now I must go and either (a) hang my clothes up all over my room and hope they dry by morning or (b) figure out what “the grinder” is because that is what I was told I could use after being told “no” when I asked if the dryer was working.

Here are some pictures I took today:

Elephant Trunk Hill Guilin China Beautiful Guilin from Elephant Hill Park

sun and moon twin pagodas night guilin china

3 thoughts on “First Impressions of Mainland China

  1. Mike

    Regarding the phone making noise when pictures are taken thing, I know that in Japan it is the law that they must make noises such as that when pictures are taken, because of the number of people using their phones to take upskirt pictures. It might well be the same in China.

  2. Pingback: Riding the Ferry from Macau to Shenzhen – First Steps on Mainland China! | i put my life on a shelf

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