Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Adventures at the RT Mart

I consider myself to be pretty culturally open minded but some experiences in China will definitely put you at the edge of your comfort zone.  One of those experiences was our trip to the supermarket this evening.  We needed some more baby food and snacks so we asked the concierge for walking directions to the nearest supermarket.  She gave us directions to the RT Mart about 10 minutes away.  No problem one would think...

The Chinese have a different definition of personal space.  In a country with 1.3 billion people everywhere you go is going to be very crowded.  If you are claustrophobic you will not do well in china.  You have to be prepared to have people all around you even when just walking down the sidewalk.  I won't even get into elevator etiquette.

Crossing the street is horrifying.  There are crosswalks in China but they appear to mean absolutely nothing.  Cars will not stop for you unless they would otherwise hit you.  Even if you are carrying a 15 month old baby.  If you stand in a cross walk and wait for cars to stop you will wait all day.  You just need to hold your breath and walk across.  We found that it is best to wait for someone else to cross and use them as a buffer.   Not always possible though.

If you are a white person in China you will get stared at.  If you are a white couple in China with a 4 year old Chinese daughter you will get stared at even more.  If you are a white couple in China and one of you is light skinned, has curly blond hair and you have a 4 year old Chinese daughter and a one year old Chinese son people will practically give themselves whiplash trying to get a second and third look at you.  We have had people just stop in their tracks and stare in confusion at what they are seeing.  We just smile at them, usually we get a smile back.

Supermarkets in China are a bit different than what we are used to at home.  There are smells in the cured meat section that our western nostrils have never been exposed to.  Pungent is how I would describe it, Jen and Grace might say nauseating.  They love fresh food here in china.  The fish is very fresh as in still alive swimming in the tanks.   Along with the fish you can also find a nice selection of frogs and turtles.  None for us this time.

Whenever we travel we always like to get out of the hotel and see what it is really like to live in the particular place.   Just a trip to the supermarket in China is quite an adventure in cultural immersion.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

Wow! That was a good post! Very funny to read!