Thursday, September 21, 2006
You're Not Really In China Until You've Seen A 7-Year-Old Boy Being Chased Across A 6-Lane Highway By Goats
And first off - yes, I did actually see that on my drive into Laiwu. There is a lot to be said for the differences between big city living and the small city life. But most of the differences are pretty easy to swallow. There's not a gym to be had, not even in the hotels. But as a pretty good substitute, you can run up and down the mountain ranges that are just steps away. There aren't any real official organizations you can join to meet people and there are no universities close by, but every night at nine there are friendly middle-aged women doing taijiquan, dancing, and chatting out by the roadside.

And if you're an American - or a foreigner from any country, for that matter - and you're in Laiwu, you're a celebrity. Apparently, I'm one of only three foreigners in all of Laiwu and the other two are black men from southern Europe. Here, I get stared at and whispered about everywhere I go. It was a bit bothersome in Beijing, but in Laiwu it happens so often it can turn a person paranoid. According to one of my colleagues, Laiwu people (especially native Laiwu people) are friendly but shy, and would rather whisper about you than approach you.

Unless they want to learn English. And then they won't stop talking until you agree to be their personal English-language sherpa. What a way to make new friends.
posted by Rachel @ 10:09 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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