Monday, July 2, 2007

I Can't Believe, I haven't...

...Driven a Car in:

I’m flying back home today and I’m going to drive, drive, DRIVE... no more chauffeur, I will do it on my OWN. Too bad I don't have my bike anymore (i.e motorcycle) or I would take it on a ride too.

As you can see I am not at all anticipating going back where we call home (that’s sarcasm of course…in case you didn’t get it!!)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

You Know You've Been In China Too Long

Because I will most certainly not Blog while I’m enjoying some fresh air back in my small village (500 inhabitants - no I didn’t forget any zero and it’s 5 hundred not thousand or million), I leave you ponder that really long list of You-know-you’ve-been-in-China-too-long…. (We all received the email about the country, states or city…). My favorites are in red:

300 and 1 reasons You know you've been in China too long....
Compiled by Remix THB (
1- A few shots of Bai jiu don't even give you a buzz.
2- You're at an expensive western restaurant and don't even notice the guy at the next table yelling into his cell phone
3- A June 2001 Great Wall Cabernet (mixed with Sprite) is your vintage of choice
4- When someone says 'snack', you think: salted cuttlefish.
5- You only drink beer from one litre bottles.
6- You enjoy wearing flip flops on all occasions
*7- you get your haircut on the sidewalk.
*8- You leave the 'Garbano' designer label conspicuously on the jacket sleeve.
*9- You enjoy karaoke.
10- You walk backwards in the park listening to a transistor radio.
*11-The China Daily is your source for hard hitting, fast breaking, investigative journalism.
*12- You have grown used to the picture quality of pirated VCDs.
*13- Badminton and ping pong are your main forms of exercise.
14- You watch 'xiaqi' (Chinese chess) on TV religiously.
15- You find yourself "getting back to nature" in a park that contains nothing but concrete and a giant revolutionary statue.
*16- You smoke in crowded elevators.
17- All white people look the same to you.
18- You like the smell of the bus.
19- Open spaces make you nervous.
*20- You find state-employed retail staff helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.
21- People with bright white teeth look frightening to you.
*22- You no longer need tissues to blow your nose.
23- Other foreigners seem foreign to you.
*24- You find yourself exiting a major highway...on your bike.
*25- You find western toilets uncomfortable.
26- You throw your used toilet paper in the basket (as a courtesy to the next person).
27- You think that the heavy air actually contains valuable nutrients that you need to stay healthy.
28- Any discomfort causes you to think there might be something wrong with your 'Qi'.
29- Your body no longer accepts dairy products.
*30- You draw characters on your hand to make yourself understood.
*31- You ask people in what animal year they were born.
32- You measure distances in 'Li'.
33- You think you speak Chinese fluently.
*34- Squatting becomes your favorite position, anytime, anywhere.
35- You think a 30 year old woman who carries a Hello Kitty lunch box is cute.
*36- You can't put a proper sentence together in your native language.
37- You developed an acquired taste for mooncakes
38- You have stopped noticing the grotesquely deformed leper on the Exchange Square flyover.
39- A sexual pervert is a man who prefers women to money.
*40- Your building's security guard is 4 times older than the building itself.
*41- It's OK to throw rubbish, including old fridges, from your 18th-floor window.
42- Thanks to karaoke, you know who has the most singing talent in your building.
43- You believe that pressing the lift button 63 times will make it move faster.
44- The ultimate status symbol is a lawn-mower.
*45- You know it is useless to protest when the lady at the supermarket check-out wraps one toothbrush in 6 plastic bags.
46- You learnt to recognize Andy Lau, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok and Jacky Cheung. AND JACKY CHAN
*47- You aren't aware that one is supposed to pay for software.
48- Pink bathroom tiles can make any building or public garden beautiful.
49- Your colleagues eat sun-dried cuttlefish coated in sugar and you don't bat an eyelid.
50- You actually purchased a canto-pop CD
51- You actually played it several times.
*52- A PhD in Nuclear Physics fluent in 7 languages irons your socks for a pittance but she is from the Philippines so it's all right.
*53- You are not surprised to see your tap water run dark brown.
54- You tell your parents their house back in your home country has bad feng shui.
55- You are not surprised to see 85-year old ladies pushing tons of garbage up the streets of the financial district.
56- You use the word "Ayyiieeaaahh" every few sentences to convey surprise, pleasure, pain or anger.
*57- You believe you are really tall when you are only 5'8".
58- You finally decide to eat at McDonalds to put some solids into your body.
59- You watch an American movie on HBO, with sub-titles, and try to read them.
*60- You like to watch CNN or BBC News World on TV.
61- You eat a kebab on the street and call it "Cat on a stick" and keep eating.
62- You see a stray cat on the street and say "Hmmm... Lunch!"
63- You have a washing machine in your apartment.
*64- You think that a $7 shirt is a rip-off.
65- You read and understand what people are talking about.
66- Your work buddy taps you on the shoulder to talk to you, and you say "Bu Yan" (no thank you!) out of habit.
67- You offer to sell your own watch to a $2 Rolex street vendor, to fend him off.
*68. You think you should wear nylon sox with your Nikes, stilettos or sandals in the summer, instead of a cotton one.
*69. You question the waitress who didn't cut steak piece by piece, and ask for chopsticks.
70. You always leave tray and trash on the table when you are in Starbucks and Maccas because you insisted it is the way to keep everyone employed
71. You are hardworking person, voluntarily OT everyday, as you only chatted with friends during office hours.
*72. You buy an XXXL T-shirt in store when you returned home.
73. You take large sum of cash whenever you go hospital in home country
74. You are no longer flinching every few seconds in a Taxi ride.
75. You can pinch off one nostril and let it rip.
76. You chew on "Ducks blood" like a fatty piece of beef.
*77. You have no reservations about spitting sun flower seeds on the restaurant floor.
78. You start reaching for a piece of fish with your chop sticks and not even notice the fish looking back at you.
*79. Walking across the street, against the light, in and out of traffic is a piece of cake.
*80. Your brand new bicycle only cost you $20.
81. Your washing machine looks like it was made by Matell.
82. You are now washing your socks in the sink.
83. You get your ears cleaned in a public square by a guy with a two foot long Q-Tip.
84. You think it's okay that your girlfriend has a Chinese boyfriend too, cause she doesn't like him.
*85. You try to haggle over the rental price of a $110 a month apartment.
86. You accept that the bathroom sink "doesn't work" and just use the kitchen.
87. You think it's silly to buy a new bike when it'll get stolen soon and stolen bikes are half the price.
88. You relish the thought of pizza hut, but only go when you want it to be a special occasion.
89. You'd rather pay the 10 yuan for an all night stay at the internet cafe than the 30 for a taxi home.
90. You get up early for a backwards walk and thrust your hand at a 45 degree angle into the sky over and over for balanced exercise.
91. When denying someone something they expected or counted on you just say "Sorry" (buhaoyise) with no explanation whatsoever.
92. When asked your reasons you just repeat "Sorry" (buhaoyisi).
93. You go to Carrefour to shop for girls.
94. You don't ask your 30 year old girlfriend if she wants to stay over cause you know her mom won't let her stay out past 2.
95. Ice cubes in beer actually make it cooler and more refreshing
96. Your definition of going home "early" or not staying out too late is around midnight
*97. You have a pet bird...which you walk
*98. When you take a cab, you give play-by-play driving directions to the driver
99. You feel cheated if you don't receive a full head and shoulder massage when getting a haircut
100. You eat three regular meals a day: lunch, dinner and night snacks
*101. When you go to the toilet you start bringing your own toilet paper
*102. You can pick up any type of food using just your chopsticks... even peanuts.
103. You blow your nose or spit on the restaurant floor (of course after making a loud hocking noise)
104. The footprints on the toilet seat are your own.
*105. You no longer wait in line, but go immediately to the head of the queue.
106. You stop at the top or bottom of an escalator to plan your day.
*107. It becomes exciting to see if you can get on the lift before anyone can get off.
*108. It is no longer surprising that the only decision made at a meeting is the time and venue for the next meeting.
109. You rank the decision making abilities of your staff by how long it takes them to reply "Up To You".
*110. You no longer wonder how someone who earns US$ 400.00 per month can drive a Mercedes.
*111. You accept the fact that you have to queue to get a number for the next queue.
112. You accept without question the mechanic's analysis that the car is "Broken" and that it will cost you a lot of money to get it "Fixed".
113. You find that it saves time to stand and retrieve your hand luggage while the plane is on final approach.
114. You can shake your hands almost perfectly dry before wiping them on your trousers, or you have your suits made with terrycloth pockets.
115. A T-Bone steak with rice sounds just fine.
*116. You believe everything you read in the local newspaper.
117. You regard traffic signals, stop signs, and copy watch peddlers with equal disdain.
*118. You have developed an uncontrollable urge to follow people carrying small flags.
119. When listening to the pilot prove he cannot speak English, you no longer wonder if he can understand the air traffic controller.
*120. You regard it as part of the adventure when the waiter correctly repeats your order and the cook makes something completely different.
121. You have more knick-knacks than your grandmother.
*123. You are not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb.
124. David Wu is one of your favorite celebrity
125. You know David Wu is a big headed 'poser'
*126. You look over people's shoulder to see what they are reading
127. You throw your trash out the window of your house, your car or bus you are on
128. You would rather SMS someone than actually meet to talk 'face to face'
129. You start not answering your mobile so you can call back from your house/ public phone
*130. You wear nylons when it is 30 degrees outside
*131. You honk your horn at people because they are in your way as you drive down the sidewalk
132. You regularly fumble for five minutes to find 10 jiao despite 10 people waiting in line behind you
133. When car accidents become a source of heartwarming humour.
*134. You ride around on your bicycle ringing a bell for some unknown f***ing reason
135. When shopping at Carrefour some laowai stares you down for catching you looking into his basket while you wonder to yourself what laowai's eat.
136. You start telling a story to a new expat friend about the crazy Beijing girl you slept with 6 months ago and he replies that he knows her and she was his girlfriend at the time. Neither of you care.
137. You have figured out that it is actually the Taiwanese who are running this country.
138. You start to describe delusional thoughts and fantasies as "healthy passions."
139. Hookers buy you drinks.
*140. You get your first case of bronchitus and you have never smoked a cigarette in your life.
141. The idea of seeing how this place will look at Expo 2010 and the Olympics actually appeals to you.
*142. You have a pinky fingernail an inch long
143. You haven't cut you finger nails in 8 weeks.
145. Armpit hair has become a new sex game and play toy.
*146. In a meeting you say everything will be 'wonderful' and give no details.
*147. You forget that the other person needs to finish speaking before you can start
148. You burp in any situation and don't care.
149. You see one foreign person eating Pineapple (or whatever) and say "Yes, all foreign people like Pineapple
*150. You start to watch CCTV9 and feel warm and comforted by the governments great work.
*151. You think Pizza Hut is high-class and worth queueing for.
152. You go shopping to buy gifts for a future business partner, just to 'smooth things along'
153. When having conversations with your friends you start leaving unnecessary words or letters out of sentences and end up talking like an imbecile
154. In the rain, you spot a vacant taxi which is 10 minutes away and you have already planned how you are going to jump out with great enthusiasm in the road, elbow everyone else trying to claim it, and wave your hands everywhere in a 'look at me I'm a goal keeper' kind of fashion
155. You have learnt how to detect someone is in a hurry behind you, and now have the ability to not only walk very slowly but also grow eyes in the back of your head, so when they start to overtake on the right hand side, you automatically cut in and walk very slowly directly in front of them
156. You watch taxi drivers picking their noses whilst stuck in traffic. Instead of feeling disgusted, you actually admire along with them, the length and breadth of the bogie.
157. You see people outside wearing shower caps in the rain, and instead of thinking what a freak, you actually understand the practicality behind it. The same with clipping pegs on your trousers when riding a bike
*158. Your eating manners in restaurants are now totally shot. Elbows on tables and spitting food out onto your plate is now seen as being dead classy
159. When you turn the volume on the television in the restaurant up so high that you cannot hear what the person across the table from you is saying
160. When you insist on paying the bill and fumble with your purse or wallet so long that the other person pays anyway
161. When you sit in the restaurant with your finger up your nose to your elbow and stare at the Laowai. Then you pull it out, inspect it, roll it into a ball and casually flick it onto the wall or the closest person's plate
162. When you are able to jump the queue because the idiot Laowai left 2 centimeters between themselves and the person in front of them.
163. When you wear nylon knee-highs with your best dress
*164. Before asking someone's age, you ask what animal they are.
*165. You start picking at other people's dinner plates before they even offer you a taste.
166. You eat family style at any and all restaurants, Chinese or not.
167. You would rather wait on the street for an extra ten minutes for a 1.20, than pay the extra for a big cab.
168. You don't have to speak to taxi drivers. Every cab in town has taken you home at least once, so they all know where you live.
169. It seems entirely sensible to take a cab across town for 12 yuan in each direction to buy something that costs 4 yuan, and they sell right outside your house anyway.
*170. You have absolutely no sense of traffic rules.
171. You invite friends over for dinner, and serve thousand year old eggs as an appetizer.
172. You buy a round trip air ticket in China.
*173. You no longer need tissues to blow your nose.
*174. You start calling other foreigners Laowai.
175. You think singing Karaoke on Friday nights is fun.
176. Other foreigners seem foreign to you.
*177. You consider McDonald's a treat.
178. You ask how much people are making and expect people to answer.
179. You talk louder than is necessary.
180. You are the last of your first group of friends still in China.
*181. You prefer using chopsticks.
*182. Chinese fashion starts looking hip.
183. You no longer notice the hooting on the streets.
184. You start cutting off large vehicles on your bicycle.
185. Your body no longer needs dairy products.
186. You think Yangshuo is a nice place for a holiday.
*187. The last time you visited your mother, you gave her your business card.
189. You start to enjoy the taste of baijiu.
*190. You go back home for a short visit, get in a car and start giving the driver directions in Chinese.
*191. You have to pause and translate your phone number into English before telling it to someone.
192. Your idea of a larger home is an extra 10 square meters.
*193. You get used to having a before dinner, during dinner, and after dinner cigarette.
194. You think no car is complete without a tissue box on the rear shelf and a feather duster in the trunk.
*195. You go to the local shop in pajamas.
196. You wouldn't think of buying any appliance that doesn't come in lime green.
197. You wonder why none of your friends back home have VCD players.
198. You see some real cleavage and think WOW!
199. You ask fellow foreigners the all-important question "How long have you been here?" in order to be able to properly categorize them.
200. You speak putonghua better than the locals.
*201. You buy the local newspaper because you forget that you can't read Chinese.
202. When looking out the window, you think "Wow, so many trees!" instead of "Wow, so much concrete!"
203. You seriously contemplate putting bathroom tiles on the outside of your house back home.
204. You can swear in 3 different dialects.
*205. Pollution, what pollution?
*206. You think squat toilets are more sensible.
207. You notice you've forgotten how to tie shoelaces.
*208. You start wearing long thermal underwear on October 1st no matter what the temperature is.
*209. You stop wearing long thermal underwear on May 1st no matter what the temperature is.
210. You phone an English-speaking laowai friend and somehow can't bring yourself to get to the point for the first 3 minutes of the conversation.
211. You stop enjoying telling newcomers to China "all about China".
212. You think "English literature major" is a polite way to say peanut brained bimbo.
213. You are not surprised to wake up in the morning and find that the woman who stayed over last night has completely cleaned your apartment, even though you'll probably never ever meet her again.
*214. You develop a liking for corn flavored ice cream.
*215. You think the best part of TV is the commercials.
216. When you think it's alright to stick your head into a stranger's apartment to see if anybody's home.
217. You think that you can impress foreigners by drinking Budweiser.
218. You have run out of snappy comebacks to compliments about your chopstick skills.
219. You think "white pills, blue pills, and pink powder" is an adequate answer to the question "What are you giving me, doctor?"
*220. Someone doesn't stare at you and you wonder why.
221. 70 degrees F. feels cold.
*222. You see three people on a motorcycle and figure there's room for two more.
223. "Squid" sounds better than "steak".
*224. There are more things strapped to your cycle than you ever put in a car.
225. Looking at a dog makes you hungry.
*226. Firecrackers don't wake you up.
227. Your family stops asking when you'll be coming back.
228. You don't mind when your date picks his/her nose in public.
229. You wear out your vehicle's horn before its brakes.
*230. Smoking is one of the dinner courses.
231. You (male) wear white socks with your business suits.
232. You (female) wear socks over your pantyhose in summer.
234. People who knew you when you first arrived don't recognize you.
235. You speak Chinese to your foreign friends.
236. You buy a top-of-the-line karaoke machine.
237. None of your shoes have laces.
238. Chinese stop you on the street to ask for directions.
239. You leave the plastic on all new purchases.
*240. Forks feel funny.
241. The shortest distance between two points involves going through an alley.
242. People who haven't seen you for months don't ask where you've been.
*243. Chinese remakes of Western songs sound better than the originals.
244. The only foreigners who have been here longer than you are buried here.
*245. You get homesick for Chinese food when away from China.
*246. It becomes a tradition that at least part of Christmas dinner is stir-fried.
247. Other foreigners give you a funny look when you tell them how long you've been here.
248. You realize that smiling and nodding is Chinese body language for, "Go away; leave me alone."
249. Metal scaffolding at construction sites seems much more dangerous than bamboo scaffolding.
*250. The Lunar Calendar ALWAYS takes precedence.
251. Pizza just doesn't taste right unless there's corn on it.
252. It has been at least 18 months since you used the word "tacky" to describe anything.
*253. Summers are too short; winters too long.
254. 250cc is a REALLY BIG motorcycle. (You think moving from a 125cc to a 150cc makes you more macho.)
255. All the top-level government officials you befriended for guanxi purposes when you first arrived are retired and living in your country.
256. Eating at "Western" restaurants, you wait until after dessert to drink your soup.
257. Your thumbnail is 2 inches long.
258. After being in an accident, you tell the ambulance driver which hospital to take you to.
259. You salt your fruit.
260. That unopened bottle of XO has aged longer on your living room shelf than it ever did in France.
*261. You start expecting the rice at the end of a meal
*262. Your company offers you a job in your native land, and includes regular "Home Leave" to China as an incentive.
263. Household furnishings are arranged for optimal fengshui.
264. You can make elevators go faster by boarding first and taking over the controls.
265. You stop calling the Guinness Book of Records people each time you kill a cockroach.
266. You think of "salad" as diced apples in mayonnaise.
*267. You don't recognize a bowl of chicken soup unless there are feet and a head in it.
268. Your favorite pizza toppings are corn and shrimp.
269. You don't bother to take the sticker off the lenses of your fake Ray-Bans.
*270. In the summer, you roll the legs of your pants up to your knees whenever you sit down.
*271. You (men) roll your shirt up to your nipples.
272. You only wear a suit when you dig ditches or do home repairs.
273. You have a purse and you are male.
274. You walk backwards in the park listening to a transistor radio.
275. You smoke in crowded elevators.
276. You like the smell of the bus.
278. You go to the hospital at the first signs of a cold.
279. You don't notice your gastrointestinal problems anymore.
280. You draw characters on your hand to make yourself understood.
*281. Your handshake is weakening by the day.
*282. You would never think of entering your house without first removing your shoes.
283. You can't put a proper sentence together in your native language.
284. You aren't aware that one is supposed to pay for software.
*285. Drilling on the walls in the wee small hours in the morning is considered acceptable behavior.
286. You get offended when people admire your chopsticks skills.
*287. You compiled a 3-page list of weird English first names that Chinese people of your acquaintance have chosen for themselves.
*288. Your collection of business cards has outgrown your flat.
289. You know that leather shoes can grow leaves during the wet season.
290. You speak enough Chinese to make your colleagues laugh their heads off (attempts with anyone else still only draw blank stares).
*291. You and a friend get on a bus, sit at opposite ends of the bus, and continue your conversation by yelling from one end to the other.
292. You get on a bus alone and pretend to have a friend at the other end of the bus!
293. You always get a seat on a bus.
*294. You cannot say a number without making the appropriate hand sign.
295. You cannot say "Call me." without making a pretend phone with your fingers and sticking to your ear.
*296. You eat at exactly the same time every day, whether you are hungry or not. Then eat again later when you ARE hungry.
297. You think a pedestrian crossing over the street is "beautiful".
298. You start liking the taste of the "meat flavor bean curd" lays crisps.
299. You think your nose IS kind of big.
*300. You like the taste of Green Tea and Chivas
*AND FINALLY 301. You start recognizing the Chinese songs on the radio and sing along to them with the taxi driver