Dear Diary: I am wondering if it would be more manly to call you Dear Journal. Today's topic is mass humanity. There are people everywhere over here and, as best as I can tell, most appear to be Chinese. So, what happens when you cross good communists and hundreds of millions of people? It appears that you give them a job that pays 1/3 of the going rate (I am speculating here), but you place three people doing the same job (I am not speculating here).
I will give an example. We sit down at a restaurant in Beijing and three people inevitably will take our order. The first is old school, and writes stuff on a pad. The second is New China, and does her thing on an electronic contraption. The need for both records is beyond my cultural understanding. I'm also not sure of the responsibility of the third girl. I believe her duty is to check out just how pasty my skin is. I am wondering if she is there to settle a bet among the three cooks laboring over our steamed rice as to whether or not I'm breathing. I get the same thing in the States, as I am 1/16 albino - I think from my great grandmother's side . . .
In general, our food experience in Beijing was terrific (our guide ordered for us), and our food experience here in Zhengzhou has been less that terrific but still ok. Breakfast has been a buffet at both stops (sort of like a brunch arrangement of their best shot at selected western dishes and what you would have for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Muleshoe if they could get any of the ingredients shipped by train without spoiling). We even ventured out by ourselves to a Non-English speaking Chinese restaurant a couple of days ago (when I say ventured, I mean it was a block away in the same building as Holiday Inn Express; come to think of it, I am glad we didn't stay there since I might break into a Kung Fu fight because I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night).
Back to the restaurant story. Fortunately, the menu had pictures. Unfortunately, it didn't help much. I knew we were in trouble when I couldn't communicate that we wanted some water. Even the internationally accepted "agua" didn't work. Chemistry is not big here either, as "H2O" drew blank stares. We ended up having the Chinese version of Memphis style pulled pork. There appears to be no Chinese symbol for BBQ sauce. I have also had enough flavors of tea to make Baskin Robbins proud.
Back to Kung Fu. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the trip is to be in a city of 23 million people and there was not one Kung Fu fight breaking out anywhere. Don't these people watch movies? If Los Angeles is the city that never sleeps, then Beijing is the city that never puts on its jammies. Since I am uncertain of the international influence of Jill's blog, I am now hesitating to put that moniker on the Chamber of Commerce of Beijing. Let's see -- Big D, the Mile High City, the Windy City, the City with the Big Shoulders, I heart NY, . . . I know, "Beijing - the City with 46 Million Shoulders!" I hope I get credit from the three guys whose job it is to come up with a city slogan . . .