Flashback to mid-February 2007 – China Letter III.

China Letter 3 – Written in mid-February 2007.

I’m working at the reception desk at the hotel.  I will be there for six weeks as a receptionist, then two weeks as a supervisor.  One of the biggest challenges:  correct pronunciation of the unusual names.  The last thing I want to do is insult a VIP by saying his name wrong!

Adams Amy Stone Kiki

Front desk duty with Adams, Stone, and Kiki.

Saturday we went to She Kou, which is a district of Shenzhen where many foreigners (that’s us) live and there are more Western style restaurants and bars.  We arrived there after a predictably terrifying taxi ride.  It is right by the harbor and you can see Hong Kong across the bay.  There were some parts that looked very poverty-stricken and other areas that looked very affluent.

She Kou plaza 2

She Kou Plaza

Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year, is coming up (February 17) and is a very big celebration.  The bad news is that apparently the crime rate increases drastically prior to the New Year, and multiple people have warned all of us (guys included) to not walk by ourselves at night under any circumstances, even down the well-lit streets.  Apparently there are muggers who have machete knives and sometimes even guns.

There is no winter in Shenzhen so our rooms do not have heaters.  The past couple of days have been really cold (15ºC) for the area.  I know that many of you have been experiencing rough winters with a great deal of snow and ice.  The cold here is nothing compared to that–basically like a chilly autumn day.  However, I had become so accustomed to the warm weather that I’ve been freezing!

Amy Amy bar cheers

This picture is not really related to anything in the letter.  I just like the blue drinks.  And it’s a fun memory with Amy.

On Sunday, we went to the Shenzhen Christian Church to attend what they refer to as their only English group.  It was held in the children’s Sunday school classroom, little kid chairs included.  We were the only foreigners in attendance, and basically the objective of the group is to help Chinese people with their English in a Bible study type setting.  It was a very interesting experience.

One bad thing is the pollution.  It’s hard to see the buildings on the skyline because of the smoggy cloud that is constantly over the city.  Yuck.

Hiking Western Corridor

The Western Corridor on a clear day.

Dogs are big in China.  Actually they’re little, but they are a big deal.  Little bitty dogs that run around with sweaters on.  And there are no owners in sight.  I figure they (the dogs) all own an apartment building together somewhere.  Who needs owners?  As long as you’ve got your cute little sweater on, you’re a happy dog.

The food in China is very different, and I have not completely adjusted.  One item that is served occasionally in Café Amigos (the staff canteen) is chicken feet.  Yes, chicken feet.  They’ve got the little claws and everything.  Creepy.  Among my little group of four Americans, there is a reward of 100 RMB on the table for the first person who eats a whole chicken foot.   I guarantee you that I will not be the one winning that prize.

Until next time…keep in touch!

Would you eat chicken feet? 

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9 thoughts on “Flashback to mid-February 2007 – China Letter III.

  1. How does one eat a chicken foot? It seems like something that would require being peeled first…. I don’t get it.
    And no, I probably wouldn’t. I’m just not an adventurous eater, honestly. Did you ever try the chicken foot?

  2. I gave chicken feet a fair shake…I gnawed on one half-heartedly for a few seconds, and then I decided it wasn’t for me. My husband was more of a fan, but between you and me, I think he was just out to prove that he was some adventurous foodie. :-P

    I laughed when you wrote “foreigners (that’s us)” because I remember having to get used to that, too. My husband started referring to ourselves as “laowai” pretty often, and he even started pointing out the other white people we came across out on the street (which wasn’t very often, in our city) and saying, “laowai!” It only became embarrassing when we arrived back in America, at the LAX airport, and he tried to call everyone “laowai”…it was weird to get used to being the native again, haha. :-)

    I remember having to wear coats indoors because it was so cold! I hated that! I am still thankful EVERY DAY for being able to take warm showers and take off my coat when I go indoors!

    And I’m surprised you wrote home and told your family about the crime rates in Shenzen! I was always trying to shield my parents from any semi-dangerous situations we encountered (except for that one time, when my foreign friend posted a picture of me on Facebook hitch-hiking on the back of a motorcycle…next time I spoke with my parents, I had some explaining to do!).

    • I’m with Rachel on this one. I ate a chicken foot just to do it, but it wasn’t good. I know exactly what she means by saying she “gnawed on it” because that’s how I felt when I was trying to eat it, haha! Also, foreigners were very uncommon in Wuhan so when we would see them my sister and I would talk about the “laowai” without it ever being strange to us that they were like US and we were all laowai together. Haha! Oooh and like Rachel, we lived in a place that was super cold during the winter and we had no heat other than little space heaters. My sister and I would sleep in bed together at night to keep from getting frostbite. I was always wearing layers (even to bed!). And while we technically had a water heater, there were four of us and one bathroom which meant I almost never got a hot shower (or even warm shower). I usually boiled water on the stove and washed my hair in the sink just so I would have to stand in the freezing cold shower long enough to get clean, haha! Ah, yes, the things I am so thankful for while living here in the States. ;)

      Oh, and Amy, you are so right about the pollution. I remember being AMAZED when I would go out into the countryside and could see the moon and stars at night. It’s easy to forget what they look like when you can’t see them through the pollution on a day-to-day basis. And all the dogs in their little sweaters, hahaha! Yes! I never thought of them all living in their own little apartment complex together – you made me laugh with that!

  3. ahh, your every day adventures sound so fun – i mean, i would definitely not eat chicken feet (and i pretty much eat everything), but the She Kou Plaza looks gorgeous and the foreign celebrations sound interesting (despite the crime) and the whole experience just sounds like a wonderful adventure :)

  4. That smog reminds me of Phoenix except more clear… Beautiful architecture though! Chicken FEET?!! I think I’d lose a few lbs there… Glad you had the blue drinks though to pull you through ha!

  5. Okay, have I said yet that I LOVE your letter recaps?? Ha, ha. It reads like a book, and -hmmmm – I think you should write a book about your experiences. It would make for a great young-adult novel (although I’d be like first in line to buy it and then get it signed by you). Oh, and I wouldn’t win the chicken feet prize either! :)

  6. HAHA no chicken feet for me!! I would try to eat as local as I could though to really experience the culture. This is a great flashback, I always love your China posts!

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