i am in GuZhen Town, China. and i have noticed a few things over the past couple of days of being here.
if you are ever planning on visiting china now, or ever, you may find it in you best interest to know the following...
1. learn how to squat before you come. get down low, Low, LOW.
2. don't be alarmed by little kids peeing in the street. it's totally normal.
3. rivers of poo and garbage are no big deal. thats just how it is.
4. there are no crosswalks. just cross the street when there are no cars coming and hope you don't get run over. walk around the cars if you have to.
5. cars and scooters HONK all the time. it is to warn people walking that they are coming. it isn't meant to be rude but it definitely takes some getting used to.
6. 4-5 people on one scooter or motorcycle is totally normal (today i saw three men squished together on a tiny seat of a scooter. i don't think that would go down so well in the U.S.).
7. if you hear what sounds like gun shots, don't be scared, it's just fireworks for the new year. they are for good luck.
8. GuZhen Town is the city of lights. nearly all the shops on the main road are light shops. like fancy lights and chandeliers, and lamps and regular lights. they are never busy, but they are open for business.
9. if you ever need help at the super market, just look puzzled and about 10 workers will come help you. they don't speak english but they will be happy to hover over you while you shop.
10. people stare at americans ALL the time. they will even turn all the way around on their motorcycles just to get a longer look (today some guys yelled, "hello" at us from a van that drove by, we were so stoked to hear english that we turned around only to find the guy yelling to us, leaning half way out of the car taking pictures of us).
11. you can't understand anything, don't even try to understand what anyone is saying (the chinese always sound like they are arguing. for all i know, they could be).
12. nearly everyone here has long fingernails. don't look to hard, you can see left over ear and/or nose particles.
13. bring a foam pad or blow up mattress to sleep on. unless sleeping on plywood is appealing to you, that is.
14. sometimes little kids run in the street and babies walk in their little walker things in the street. it's no big deal. they'll be fine.
15. chicken is illegal in china. it makes people sick and die. a girl died from eating it just last week. DON'T EAT CHICKEN IN CHINA!
this is a just a short list of things that i have noticed in the short time that i have been here. i'm sure there will be much more insights to come. stay tuned.