Yes, that’s right, I’m keeping a running tally of non-NSLI-Y foreigners I spot around Suzhou, and so far I have found four. I actually saw three of them all in one day (yesterday) in Times Square! (Yes, Suzhou has a Times Square. It’s called 时代广场 and it has lots of stores and restaurants and a KTV, which I’ll explain soon, so read on.)
All righty, so first is a short note about transportation in China to accompany my previous post about driving. First, someone asked what side of the road they drive on here, and the answer is that they drive on the right like in America. I would like to add here that I’m rather confident the only reason they STAY on the right is that the people who build the roads here were intelligent enough to make large, impassable medians or at least put in some fencing that would probably do a nice job on the car’s hood if you drove into it. Just saying… haha. And also, the buses. Oh my goodness, you wouldn’t believe the public buses here! There are so many different number buses, so you have to either really know them or actually be able to READ the signs (which of course are in Chinese). And the buses, they get crowded SO fast! Much of the time, especially in the morning, it’s standing room only, and barely that. On my way to school this morning I was packed in with goodness knows how many other people, and the bus was so full that new people literally could not get on through the front door; the bus driver kept having to tell them to put in their money (only 2 kuai to go as far as you need to… which is like 20 cents or something) and go get on through the back door, which is normally meant for the people who want to xia che (下车，get off the bus). Last, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but one of the most common modes of transportation in China is the motor bike, which is sometimes more scooter-like, sometimes more motorcycle-like, and sometimes somewhere in between.
So now, to transition into food (Chinese food deserves MUCH discussion haha), my host sister took me to the movies this weekend, and we went to COLD STONE! That made me really happy because I love their ice cream so much. Other American restaurants around Suzhou include KFC, McDonald’s, Haagen Daas, and Starbucks. There is also Papa John’s, Subway, and Pizza Hut, but I haven’t been to any of those in China yet, so I don’t know anything about it. As far as the movie goes, I thought it was rather good. (The English subtitles helped lol). It was called Painted Skin 2 (《画皮II》), and it was a very interesting story about demons in ancient China. I did watch the prequel later online. If there’s a way for you to get them with English subtitles, I’d recommend them. 🙂
And finally… One of the questions I most dread here is “What do you want to eat?” Basically, what I’d really LIKE is a nice big bowl of my peanut butter Captain Crunch or slice of extra cheese pizza, lol, but that’s not an option here. I feel bad that I can’t really tell my family what I’d like to eat because that leaves them to guess, but I really DON’T know! I can’t read menus; I don’t know what things are called. What I do know is that eating noodles does NOT make me feel successful at life… It’s acceptable to slurp your noodles in China, but that’s a little hard to do if you can barely even get the noodles to your face! And crab… THAT was a mess (literally). It was interesting, though, because you come in and pick the crabs you want from the front of the restaurant (yes, alive, eek!), and then they go and cook them and bring them to your table, and when you finish the crabs they come and pour more hot water in the bowl, and you add meat and vegetables and poof! it’s hotpot. It seemed to me kind of like the Chinese version of fondue restaurants like The Melting Pot.
So that’s all I have for now. Hope everyone is having a great summer! I’ll update you soon!