Monday, December 29, 2008

"Honey, I'm home!"

You know you are back in China (or at least on your way) when:

* Someone smokes at the lavatory on the airplane and fellow passengers barely react.

* Everybody get up to take their luggage as soon as the plan hit the landing ground. Angry stewardess come running, yelling for the passengers to sit down and fasten their seat belt until the seat belt light is switched off.

* You step off the plane and are met by the views of a gray, foggy looking sky and a kind of odd smell.

* While waiting for your luggage, people try to push their way into your spot even though there isn't room for anyone else where you are standing.

* Someone takes your bag but puts it back again. You don't even bother to tell them off.

* A lot of people around you are squatting.

* There's at least two men mopping everywhere you want to walk.

* Lines to public bathrooms stop existing.

* Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by fashionable looking girls in short skirts, high heels and sunglasses... despite being inside an airport terminal.

* You're one of the tallest people in the building.

....ahhhh! It's good to be back!!!


Anonymous said...

嗨 Joanna,

Im self taught in Chinese. I cant carry a conversation but my grammar with the characters is adequate. Im in the States and my local Chinatown speaks Cantonese and I cant make myself understood using my stuttering Mandarin. I watch alot of CCTV picking up the little Mandarin I can. I enjoy your enthusiasm for the culture. Im an avid bike rider and if I ever visit thats the way I want to get around. Does public transportation take bikes. Im good at negotiating urban traffic and from what I read biking is a game of chicken even with other cyclists. So for the New Year keep me up to date with your cycling adventures. I have alot of questions but Ill keep my posting to the minimum and enjoy your ruminations. Im not spry just one of Dylans Forever Young. Have you come up with chinese characters for your name. My grammatical axe is dropping any punctuation. I put up with the .


Anonymous said...

LOL :> so true it almost hurts...

glad to know u're back in china safe, sound and in one piece!

merry (much) belated christmas!


(this is a horizontal xmas tree, in case u can't tell...)

Maureen said...

LMAO I so feel you! I just got back to China after 4 months being away and the first thing that hit me when I stepped outside the terminal was the smell of cigarette (and of course all of the other stuffs you eloquently mentioned). Now, that's a welcome sign!

Anonymous said...

Oh Jonna, I still have 5 more days in London. I was looking forward to going back but after reading your post I am dreading it, thanks! Of course I have written many similar posts. I think I put the title "back to the chaos" for one post. It's depressing for the first day or so, but it's amazing how quickly I forget and start enjoying China again.

Have a great new year in Shanghai (I am guessing you won't be celebrating in Suzhou!).

Hope to see you soon in 2009.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Jim -I am more into running than bike riding.. I only ride my bike to get somewhere... so I have never taken a bus with a bike. I don't think it would be possible either, seeing how crowded the buses are. Unless your bike is one of those 'portable' ones that is, that you can fold up and take with you? Good luck with your Chinese!!

woai -hahha, yeah, isn't it so?! Right now I am sitting in our freezing flat (I was totally spoiled by the central heating system that every single house/flat/shopping mall/store/resto has in Sweden so being back to the aircon life/thin walls kind of sucks!) with a typical jet-lagged headache, feeling a bit lost.... and homesick. It always takes a few days to get back into China-life, but having said that I am still happy to be here.. enjoy the last of London though, and have a great NY. I'll def be in Shanghai for NY (New Heights if I don't remember things wrongly?), staying in Suzhou would be a bit sad. I just have to get out of this sleepy-coma, put on some high heels and get back into it :)

M -A welcome note for sure. While the odd smells are nothing but a bit 'uhhhh', the rest is kind of charming if you ask me...! Well, at least in the beginning. After a while, those mopping guys start to get annoying.

TFHK -Thanks! :) I like the horizontal tree :)

Anonymous said...

why do you even go to China if everything you see is so negative?

Jonna Wibelius said...

anonymous: I think you misunderstood the point of this post. It is not about highlighting negative things about China, but more to highlight things that are typical about China that are different to where I come from. Didn't you read the last line in the blog post? *Ah, it is good to be back*?? I find all those things that I have listed in this post to be charming facts about China. Things that I normally don't think about when I live here, but that become apparent when I have been away from China for a while.

I think that if you have been reading this blog actively, you wouldn't be able to say I am negative about China. I love living here otherwise I would never bother. Life is too short to live at places you dislike.

Anonymous said...

Jonna sorry for the typo of your name. I probably would have got it right if my neighbor spelled it like yours. In my metro area our buses have a bike rack on the front for two bikes. We have I Can See For Miles (by the Who) of bike trails and lanes. Theyre even longer when you are under the influence. The easiest way is take a bus to some point without exhausting yourself getting there. My travel guides say you throw your bike on top of the bus. I suspect that is intra city travel not inner city. Ive never seen a bike on a city bus in China. Do you own a bike or just rent. I think running would be a challenge ie dodging people and pollution. As far as I can tell about China you will always be a laowai in a strange land. My wife has a distant non blood relation who married into a family in Taiwan. We email occasionally. Id like to visit especially if I can bicycle the coast line.


Jonna Wibelius said...

Jim -no worries, everybody tend to get my name wrong :)

If you wanna bike across China I'd say go for it. I have read many articles about people who have done it. Definitely possible.

Running in China isn't that bad. Sure, the air isn't that nice and sure, it is crowded, but somehow you get used to it. I run around a big lake (15 km) and in that area there are normally not that many people/cars, so for me that's fine.

Anonymous said...

What about the starring wars? You know you are back in China when ppl stare at you even thou it's rude to do so. hee hee...

Jonna Wibelius said...

Miss Jane -true, I almost forgot.. although I almost don't even notice that anymore over here. Only on bad days when I don't want anyone to look at me... then it can really get to me. Actually, this Xmas in Sweden I almost felt invisible when I was walking around the city... no looks, no giggles, no 'HELLOS'... weird feeling!!

Anonymous said...

a breathless Jonna: I run around a big lake (15 km)

Thats a decent workout. Once a year in the spring it is not a far drive to a bird sanctuary with a 9 mile lake surrounded by mixed dirt/paved paths. Bring a rain slicker and wash down the bike when you get home. Migrating birds will be clearing you by feet.


Anonymous said...

But how can one smoke in the toilet on a plane without being caught? They sure have smoke detector on every plane now!?