Saturday, September 09, 2006
The Journey a week and a half
After having been in Beijing for almost five full weeks I have learned two very important things:
1) Large Chinese cities are way overcrowded, far too noisy, have too many vehicles with too low emissions standards (leaving no breathable air), and are chock full of annoying Chinese merchants who will do nothing short of tugging on your clothing to get you to buy their trademark infringing merchandise; and
2) In China, it's better to be in a large city than anywhere else.

While I have very limited experience being "anywhere else," I will be throwing myself into that life very soon. I have been studying and practicing Chinese in Beijing to prepare for working life in "The City Of No Foreigners And No English," a.k.a. Laiwu, Shandong. Seeing as I will be there for at least six months, I figured I should get a jump on all the sites in Laiwu and get a sense of what it is that the people who live there or visit there do. I figured I would do a search on Google, typing in "things to do in Laiwu Shandong." This is what came up:

Falun Dafa (illegal religious practices...check)

FalunInfo.Net (more illegal religious practices...check)

Exporters of Garlic (they don't even grow garlic in Laiwu...but I'll give it a check anyway)

"Ms. Zhang Fuxiang Almost Tortured To Death In Shandong Province" (torture of a Falun Gong follower for illegal religious practices...check)

"A Blind Man and an Elephant" (I was interested to find out that this was actually NOT the beginning of a really good Chinese joke...)

And lastly, "610 Crimes" (disappointingly, not a list of 610 crimes committed recently in the area, but a list of the people who work in the regional code 610 provincial crime office...VERY anticlimactic)

However, a search on Laiwu using Chinese Google and talking with my Chinese tutor about the area proved much more useful. It turns out that Laiwu is in a very pretty part of Shandong Province with beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery (which also means MUCH cleaner than Beijing), and is surrounded by cities that are not too far away (= easy, cheap weekend trips) with lots of things to do. This six months is going to be my post-graduation sabbatical - with plenty of embarassing language/cultural barrier moments on the way - so stay tuned and

posted by Rachel @ 11:01 AM  
THE WILD WILD EAST: Everything you never knew you didn't know about life on the other side.
In China, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The Chinese, who call this land "home," and the expats who migrate here. My name is Rachel. I am an expat. These are my stories.
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This is a satirical site intended for the entertainment of an online audience. None of the features on this site are real (except in my own distorted view of reality), nor are they intended to harm the subjects mentioned. This site uses fictional names in all its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized or when I choose to use this site as a platform for someone's public humiliation (usually my own). Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental (or purposeful, but with good reason).

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