China is the most intense place we have visited so far. The sounds, the smells, the history, the architecture, the smells. Ancient traditions coexist with cutting edge technology. It's like stepping out of a time machine that short circuited. It wont be long before the old traditions die out to make way for the new generations. I'm glad I got to see China before it completely becomes modernized.

We found a good Tex-Mex place in Beijing, but since then it's been jellyfish salad and boneless chicken feet. We have no idea what we're eating most of the time. We can't read the menus and very few people speak English; could be anything really.

Live scorpions, seahorses, starfish and various kinds of snake on a stick.
Lots of Chinese people take our picture. They try to do it covertly, but it's usually very obvious. I try to take pictures of  them taking pictures of us. I don't have a problem with it. I just wish they would ask so they don't feel like they're creeping.

On the subway ride from the airport in Beijing, transit workers were forcibly pushing everyone into the overcrowded subway car. I was smooshed up against 18 people. When we arrived at our station, I pushed my way out of the train. Tara however, was still inside. All I could see was her forearm sticking out of the mass of people. I grabbed her arm and she popped out along with two other people just as the doors slammed shut. The two other people just laughed and walked off.

Going to the public bathroom was a communal event. There were six holes in the floor (aka squatty potties.) No stalls or separators, just guys squatting and looking at each other. That was not for me, I ran out of there. Of course all the hotels we've stayed in had glass walls separating the bathroom from the beds. So I didn't completely miss out on the experience.

Bullet Train 250 mph
There is not much difference between inside behavior and outside behavior. Many people talk extremely loud. There is lots of hawking and spitting. People spit and smoke everywhere: inside, outside, in malls, on trains, in elevators, women and grandmas alike. There is no respect for personal space. People push each other even when there is plenty of room and there is always someone cutting in line. My theory is they are use to living in very close quarters, so there is no difference between personal space and public space. Not all Chinese people are like this. But it's hard not to focus on the ones that are because there always seems to be someone wreaking havoc.

The Farmer's Market of Love
Every weekend, hundreds of parents take over People's Square Park to try to find mates for their children. They promote their children's age, height, salary and whether or not they own their own home on a piece of paper affixed to an umbrella.

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