Adapting to a foreign country

Not much having happened since yesterday I tought I would write about some of the main differences between England and China. The first one that springs to mind is that of the weather. It has been boiling hot so far and even the torrential rain we had while travelling from HK to China was a nice 26 degrees or so… The hardest thing to get straight in your mind about this is not that it is hot but that when you are inside it is actually colder than it is outside. I still can’t shake the habit of wanting to put on some extra clothes before braving the outside weather conditions and then feeling shocked when the temperature rises by 10-15 degrees when I step out of the door!

Another difference is in the shops. The same as happened the other day in the department store seems to be common practice. I went into a shop to buy a pack of playing cards (costing $2.50 which is something like 16 pence) and took it to counter 1 whereby the woman filled out the order form in triplicate and gave me a slip to take the the cashier. After I had paid, I had to go back and sign a copy of the form and could then collect my pack of playing cards. This needless bureaucracy seems to be China’s answer to unemployment.

The food is very very good although horribly fattening. As we are VIPs here we eat seperately (although that will change when the children come) so is is probably the equivalent of a formal hall every day, if not better. We usually get served perhaps 7 food dishes plus soup and rice and also one or two pudding dishes – usually watermellon or mango, althought we have, on occasion, had dishes such as toffie-fried bananas and deep-fried apple. Mmmmmmmm! The rest of the food has been quite interesting although we’ve not yet been presented with noted dishes local dishes such as those containing dog or cat. In HK some of us had turtle-shell jelly. Tasty… Ruth’s guidebook had a traditional saying about the food of this region which goes “They eat anything with legs except a table, anything which flies except an airoplane and anything in the sea except a submarine.” From what the locals tell me this is very accurate. I eagerly await…

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