Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 3: Phone Mission

May 3:
Outside of the Shi Mansion is a river. There was a man who came up to us and thrust his baby at Taylor saying ni hao. A lot of the girls think it's hilarious/weird that all of the babies' clothes have slits in in pants that reveals their bare ass and genitals. Babies poop and pee in places that you don't normally do in the US. I don't think it's as strange as some...then again, I had a different type of childhood.
We use each other to take pictures of people and scenes a lot, to not look too creepy. Then again, people openly stare and take pictures of us. We usually just smile. Some keep getting irritated but I feel like it's a mutual exchange of curiosity and wonderment.
No helmets. Even little children on the back of motorbikes. A lot of people ride double on bicycles and motorized bikes/mopeds.

Our next stop after taking pictures by the "big golden baby" outside of the mansion was to get SIM cards. IT TOOK FOREVER. Hau and I were the only ones who did not buy a SIM card or phone. The phones were 30US dollars and and 20US dollars for the SIM card. At first I thought we walked in and cut everyone that was there. Everyone started at us. I eventually asked Larry and he said no, no, no. A little boy came up to me many times and just smiled and stared. I could not understand what he said but Jia said he said he was just looking at me and that I was pretty, or something like that. I said hello. He asked me how old I was in broken English. I said 21 but I don't think he understood and I tried to sign 21 but I recalled Vincent's lesson on how to count on my fingers and I am sure I did it wrong...
Another little boy (I swear, there are little children EVERYWHERE) was next to me when I decided to sit and wait, and just giggled so much when I said ni hao.

A few of us walked across the street to check out a market while they took our passports and went to work on the phones (I had to lend my passport to Sunny since she did not have hers in order for her to obtain a phone). Jia went in the exit and they yelled at her. Chaz and I were approached by an older woman and she said something to us and patted our bags...we assumed we could not have them...but we were ignorant and continued to walk around. Groups of 5 women followed all of us around the store. It was interesting. We pretended they were not staring and walking around with us...on our hips. But I understand, foreigners don't usually enter this area and they had no idea what we would do, good or bad or different...

I bought shampoo, conditioner, body scrub, water (a case of 24 was 2 bucks and Sunny and I split it), socks (a dollar each for wicking socks), a few souvenirs, laundry detergent-Tide, and Pringles (which I thought were barbecue because of the picture but then found out they were Black Pepper Rib Eye Steak), and I think that was it.

P.S. As I am typing this, a guy knocked on the room across from us and another answered in his undies...ooooo :p

Finally everyone got all set with their phones. I sat outside a bit after we went to the store because being inside gets cramped with all of us. The only thing is that outside feels very polluted where we are. My lungs burn sometimes, which I thought was dehydration but I think it is just the smog. Everyone was hungry by now and we had missed lunch so they prepared a meal specially for us. Tracy, a local Tianjin University student, 3rd year studying English I think, went around with us. She is very sweet.

Hau commented on how she feels sorry for the street sweepers and sellers.

At 'late lunch' someone asked Larry for soda, I feel spoiled sometimes in the way we ask for things. The money we paid was for food but I still feel spoiled (I keep repeating this statement). GIEU subsidizes a lot for us, which is nice but I also do not like to get birthday gifts because they make me feel guilty. Ellen and I had a conversation about this and how some people have problems receiving and how others love to ask for things.

We ate dinner at 6, shortly after lunch. I was fairly full. After dinner we/I at least, took an hourish nap. Then we went to the 5 story mall down the road. Some of the shops were closed or closing and we did not look around that much, as they closed at 9. I did not buy anything. There is a KFC and outside the entrance at night there are red and green lights that look like snow when you stand in them...bad description but they are pretty neat.

We played "Never have I ever"/"10 fingers" when we came back in Taylor and Ellen's room, at least most of us did, 9 or 10? We learned a lot about each other, some surprising while other things expected. I shall not go into detail on such a public source...

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