Beijing is one crazy city. I’d have more to say about this, but right now, Mike and I are both a little ill. Translation, we’re grumpy. The thought of getting pushed around on the bus, or having to eat some type of deep fried animal cartiledge isn’t at all appealing right now. Neither is being offered tea when you really want some drugs. I am a big fan of western medicine. If you cut through my whining, everything is still cool. It’s neat to be in a place where everything people do is different. We’ve had several long conversations about how and why we do the things we do. Chalk everything up to “cultural differences.”

5. If you are faced with someone that doesn’t speak the same language as you, there are several things you can do. You can perhaps try some charades style acting, or maybe use some helpful hand gestures. What won’t work at all is to stand complete still, while speaking faster in a language the other person doesn’t understand. Whenever someone does this to me, I’ve taken to replying with, “It all sounds Greek to me!” and smiling.

4. Mike’s friend told us that if your friend invites you for dinner, your friend orders and pays. If you are still able to walk when you leave, it must mean your friend doesn’t like you very much. I think this definitely accounts for the four checkstops we went through on our way home from a night out. I think it maybe accounts for all of the public vomiting we’ve seen. Although, I’m not quite sure about that as you see people tossing their cookies at all times of the day. Why are so many people vomiting in public? It is possibly the biggest mystery of Beijing.

3. Toddlers wear special pants here. They’re kind of like regular pants, with the seam of the crotch left open. When they gotta go, they either squat and go in the middle of the street, or their parents will hold them with their legs open and they will go in the middle of the street. I can see how this is environmentally friendly. It must cut back on thousands of diapers. However, it means I will not be sporting open toed footwear while I am here. 

2. On every sidewalk, there is a row of tiles with weird bumps on them. Mike and I had several theories as to why those tiles are there, but none of them really made sense. When we finally found out it was for blind people, I think we both felt a little foolish we hadn’t thought of that. Even worse, when Mike’s friend said, ‘What do you do in your country for blind people?” and we had to answer, “um…nothing?” we felt like foolish jerks. Sorry, blind people of North America

1. Chairman Mao once said that you are not a true man unless you’ve climbed the Great Wall of China. Actually, he might have said you cannot be a hero unless you’ve climbed it, we’re a little sketchy on the translation. Either way, Mike and I are now poised to be true men/heroes as we’ve checked that off the to-do list. The Wall really is amazing. I love imagining how it all came to be, I mean, picture a bunch of dudes sitting around deciding that building a wall was a great idea. How did it get built? Did everyone in the country take a week or two off work and each build up a little section? Did a work force devote their entire lives to it?

Note: I thought very hard about a tactful way to include not feeling well coupled with the different kinds of toilets they have here. There is no way this can be done. Just know that when you’re faced with this yourself, all you can do is laugh + never wear open toed shoes here.