A letter home from China

The View From My Office

In all fairness, I wrote this letter after I had been in China for a couple of months.  That doesn’t change the information contained but the culture shock here was greater than any I have ever experienced. However, now that I have been here for a much longer time, the things in here I complained about are the things that I have grown to love the most.  So here is…


So I have been giving a lot of thought as to what it is about China that I don’t like.  I mean it is a very beautiful place. And I am one of the most fortunate people in the world to be able to go to the places I go and see the things I’ve seen.  So I’ve decided to document my time here and condense it down to the last two days of my life.  Enjoy…  and I hope you understand.  lol

So it’s Saturday night and I’m sitting in my office.  It’s on the fifteenth floor of a beautiful hotel. I get to overlook the city and the beautiful lights they have up for Chinese New Year.  Chinese New Year is a lot like Christmas is for us. They decorate with beautiful lights similar to the ones we use for Christmas.

The city is incredible.  There are probably 75 skyscrapers here that can be seen from my window. I believe the majority of them are being used for housing.  I haven’t met anyone here that lives in a house as they all live in condos and apartments.  Some are very nice and others look like they have been through a war which isn’t to far out. The Japanese occupied Dalian for a very long time during World War 2 and after. There are still a lot of hard feeling about this. Because of the atrocities the Japanese committed on the Chinese, the hatred is much worse than how we feel about the civil war that occurred in America.

It’s about 7:30 and I just got done doing my 25 minute podium that I give every night. It’s cold out side and the snow that started falling lightly this morning is now getting heavier.  I know this is going to be a problem because when its cold and snowing it’s hard to get a taxi. No one drives their cars in bad weather and everyone takes taxi’s instead.  Driving has only been popular here for about 10 years. First they just don’t have the hang of it yet. And Second the cost of a car here is two to three times as expensive as they are in America.

So 10 o’clock strikes and all of the clients that we had for the night have left.  Rose (my translator) Jacky (my Chinese assistant manager) and I take the elevator downstairs in hopes of finding a taxi.  We walk out the front door and with good fortune on our side a taxi pulls up.  There are people in it and a man jumps out of the back seat and walks behind the taxi where he is right in front of us and the front door.

I guess he has had too much to drink because he starts to vomit all over the driveway.  He doesn’t try to go to the side of the building or to the bushes that are near by.  I guess he would rather have an audience and does it right in front of the front doors.  Rose starts to get sick and goes back inside. The taxi leaves before we have a chance to get it.  It’s cold and we decide to walk to the main road about 3 minutes away to find a taxi because we don’t want to stand there and look at this guys vomit.

We make it to the road and about 15 taxis pass.  A few stop and Rose tells them where we need to go. I don’t speak Chinese and they don’t speak English so she does all my speaking for me. They all look at her and with a “no” and drive off.  So about 20 minutes of standing in the freezing cold we finally find a taxi to accommodate us and take us where we need to go.

All the taxi drivers love to drive down hooker street where all the ladies of the night stand on street corners in the freezing cold. As we drive by them there is a man peeing on the building in front of everyone.  He’s not on the side of the building or even in an alley; because I guess he want‘s an audience as well.  Are we having fun yet?  hehe

So we drop off Rose and she tells the taxi driver where I live.  He refuses to take me but will take me to the escalators that were built where I live.  These will carry me up the steep hill and then I will have to walk the rest of the way.  Now I am in a suit coat, dress shoes and light jacket and really don’t want to make the 20 minute hike it will take me to get home. I tell rose to tell him that I will give him 50 Yuan if he will take me to my home. That would be about 8 dollars.

Taxis are pretty cheap here and for about 10 Yuan I get to work.  So I am willing to pay this man 5 times what he can get, because I’m tired, cold and just want to go home.  He looks at Rose, and they always sound like they are fighting.  Rose looks at me and says  “He said no, you’re just going to have to walk!”

So I make it home and it is always cold in my house. My boss calls me and wants me to go out for a drink with him.  I need to talk to him anyway, but the Chinese love to play a game called “last man standing” when they go out for drinks.  Seriously, when we go out the Chinese will buy about 30 bottles of beer.  Not the small 12 ounce beers, but the big 24 ounce beers and never cold.  It’s almost impossible to find a cold drink here and when you ask for ice they look at you like they have no idea what you are talking about.  So you get warm been and a small glass that hold about 3 ounces of liquid.  The rest of the night is spent pouring beer into that 3 ounce cup, saying cheers and drinking it.

So anyway, I’m not in the mood to go back out in the cold and I’m really not in the mood to go drink until everyone passes out and feels sick the next day. So I decline and choose to curl up in my blanket on the couch. I fall asleep watching DVD’s of the Simpsons. I burn them from an external hard drive that I have because there is only one station on the TV in English and that one is all news.  Thank God for the internet and my link to American movies, music and of course my email.  I just couldn’t imagine being here 50 years ago without any contact from home.

So I wake up this morning and I have to walk about 10 minutes to get a taxi.  When I get to the bottom of the hill I watch a s a taxi driver hits two ladies crossing the street. I decide to walk across the street as it looks like we’re all going to be sitting here for some time. Well, a taxi pulls up and picks me up and there is no wait.  Everyone just drives around them honking like it’s their fault for getting in the way of their day, and believe me, honking the car horn seems to be the favorite hobby of the Chinese people.

With there being no wait for the accident to get cleaned up I get to the office without being late. Now I’m in the office writing this.  I fell like I am living with Attila the Hun and his band of warriors.  lol

The good new is I love my job. I have also learned the benefits of drinking hot water, especially when I’m feeling sick.  There are no cold water dispensers here, so when you use the water dispenser in the office or order a drink it is either hot or really hot.  lol

I’m sure I am going to be here for a long time. I talked to my boss last night and everyone is very happy with me. They call me the only foreign manager that actually works. I just hope that someday I can learn this language and learn how to read it, as there is not one store that has an English sign on it.  Well except the massage parlors.  lol I guess they think that all foreigners are going for massages.

So there you have the last two days of my life in China.  I am starting to love it!  hahahahaha hope you enjoyed.

I love and miss you all very much and hope all is well in the states.

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