Flying to Chongqing to today and guess what, yep you guessed...I'm back in the middle seat.
Traffic, bicycles, scooters, cars, people, and rickshaws. Chicago is known for its jaywalkers but,we have nothing on China. Nobody Looks they just step out into the street and walking in the road is normal and scooters and motorbikes on the sidewalk is normal too. The honking is non-stop. The cars don't use signals and cut across lanes with out looking, sometimes three or four at a time and a U-turn is acceptable anywhere, John likes to throw us into taxi's and me and listen to me gasp and watch me close my eyes and has made quite a few drivers laugh. Then i think they try to be as outrageous as possible.
Toilets, they have two different kinds and you are fortunate when you come across the western variety which, we are all familiar with. Then there is the Chinese variety. a hole in the floor and have i mentioned their is NO, No, no toilet paper. You must purchase your own and keep them in your pocket. they are equivalent to our Kleenex tissues in a plastic bag. Back to the hole in the floor, they do have grips on either side so, that your feet do not slide. The more interesting thing is sometimes you come across a western toilet and it has shoe prints on the toilet seat. Enough said on that subject.
Ok, maybe not because this brings me to a same but different topic. Toddlers pee and poop in the street. Men also pee in the street. There are no diapers, the Chinese think that diapers are unclean so, when a child has to go, they squat and relieve themselves. they have holes in their pants so, that their butts are sticking out. it would definitely save you some money not having to buy diapers.
Now for something completely different, Smoking. Smoking in Beijing and Xian, they did have non-smoking restaurants and in both hostels you were not allowed to smoke. These two cities have more of a western influence, though their is plenty of smoking on the street. John has assured me in Chongqing that smoking is very much the norm and he too has taken up the habit. I too, have observed that when in a restaurant and if the people around you see you smoking they offer you cigarettes and it is bad manners to refuse. Women who smoke are considered "Slutty" so, few do.
We have been lucky the first two days in Beijing and actually viewed the sun, the last three days or more there has just been this "haze". it is actually smog but they Chinese call it either "haze" or
"fog". We are surrounded by what appears to beautiful mountains but, you really can't see them until you are on top of them. I have yet to see the moon or stars.