A Shopper’s Paradise

China has meant so much to my imagination that the reality shocked me.  I still cannot get the images of Shaolin warrior monks out of my mind.  Or workers in Mao suits brandishing Little Red Books.  Or even just old folk practicing tai chi in a public square.  I half expected to find them all(…)

Being a Highly Respectable Foreigner with Chinese Characteristics

You like spicy food?  You know how use chopsticks?  You know Chinese President Hu Jintao? Of course I do.  Chinese people are so easy to impress.  Either their expectations are very low, or I just don’t fit the mold of a stereotypical American. A college mathematics student at a party told me that while hanging(…)

Street Life

There was a dirty two lane street just outside the gates.  Construction vehicles threw up plumes of exhaust and dust as they tore up the pavement and surrounding countryside.  Vehicles of all shapes and sizes sped to and fro.  People rode motorcycles, cars, trucks, and tricycle-like cars.  Some people seemed to have engineered their own(…)

The Awakening

It was Saturday evening and dusk was falling.  The thundering had stopped.  There were text messages from Sail asking how I was doing, “Was the apartment convenient for u now?”  And Vanno, a highschool senior and the son of a chemistry professor had called to see when it would be convenient for him to come(…)

Of Fried Chicken Feet

Second Thoughts Well… I’m here. “You must act like you are at home. Please tell me if you experience any inconvenience.” These were the words of Mr. Bob Chen—his words a constant refrain throughout our first hours together. Bob was a small, thin man wearing a short sleeve dress shirt tucked into slacks. He took(…)