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!
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
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!
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.
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?