I wanted to mention two other observations about China.
All of the mannequins in the store were white, blonde people. The blonde hair was long and wavy. We also could not find any Asian dolls. All of the dolls are white and blonde. Kind of weird.
Also, you can't order Diet Coke--it doesn't exist here. It is called Coke Light and it is very hard to find it without Lemon. Coke Light tastes like flat Diet Coke. The Coke Light with lemon is actually pretty good and does fine in place of diet Coke. It tastes like diet Sprite and Diet Coke mixed together. Restaurants also charge more for a Coke Light than for a regular Coke. We have been drinking a lot of regular drinks since we've been here because of the taste and for the carbonation for digestion. We have both avoided the water but today I desperately wanted ice cubes in my soft drink. That is another thing; the Chinese don't drink a lot of cold drinks. When you go to a restaurant, they don't ask you if you want a drink, you have to ask them. Most places serve soft drinks but juices and tea are more readily available. It always seems like it is an imposition for them to get you a soft drink.
I really like the Chinese people. They are exceedingly nice. Many of them know some English. Last night when we went to the restaurant the greeter said, "Good Morning." Like I said, SOME English. I was glad she made an attempt. Apparently, English is taught in the schools here. Our guide said that they have been teaching it for the last 20 years or so.
The Chinese crack me up with food. They try really hard to be Western. I may have mentioned that before. This morning Todd got a "blueberry muffin". I don't think they use sugar or flour in any baking. They use something but I'm not sure what. Todd made a good point that he would rather eat their food than their attempts at ours. It is wonderful that they want to make Americans feel at home. This morning on the breakfast buffet was stuffed pig stomach and braised ox tripe. And I was so looking forward to some preserved duck feet!
I gotta tell you, I'm pretty sick of being on display. I feel like an alien or like I have an extra arm growing out of my stomach. I really just want to blend in. I figured being short would be an advantage (guess the chubby, blonde part knocks me out of that). You really have to be patient and put on your game face when you go out anywhere. I have to admit that I've spent most of my time in the hotel room because of all of the attention. The novelty of being a foreigner is starting to wear off!
I wish I would have spent more time learning some simple phrases. I know hello and thank you. Shameful!