Hello, all. My name is Miranda and I’m a foriegn exchange student from California studying abroad in Changsha, China. This is my blog(:
Okay, now that that’s over…I’m currently in the FX hotel in Beijing. It’s a very nice hotel, everything is black, white and silver. The hallways are REALLY dark, though, which makes it pretty sketchy because it always looks like it’s night. It’s so dark in the halls that the room numbers are lights. I’ve been here for two days, and I’m leaving on a train to Changsha today around 3 pm. The time difference from California is 15 hours, which is pretty confusing for my brain and body.
Lisa, Kazoua and I (they’re also foriegn exchange students from America) walked around near the hotel today because the AFS people didn’t have anything schedualed for us to do while we wait to leave the hotel. There were lots of stores, some dirty-looking, some very nice. I bought Bri a Gaara notebook for 1 yuan, which is less than a dollar. I also got a English-Chinese dictionary for the equivilant of 4 USD. Not all of China is insanely cheap, a lot of it is about as much as in the US. Food is very cheap though, we went to a supermarket along with Benedicte and her Danish friends, where I got Pocky and a Grape-Appl-Peach-Pomegranite drink, which is very delicious. My Japanese roommate, Midori, just woke up, and soon we’re going to the supermarket because she missed breakfast. She’s also going to Changsha. She speaks very limited English but we’ve gotten pretty good at communicating.
When we walk down the street, I get stared at, which I actually sort of like. It’s pretty funny sometimes, this one guy biked past us and turned his head to keep looking at me, even when he was far ahead of us. Speaking of bikes, there aren’t as many as I thought there would be, although the traffic is pretty crazy. There are hardly any regulations, and despite the fact that you’re supposed to drive on the right side of the road, drivers have to navigate around bicyclists and pedestrians so they often drive all over. There are also few crosswalks, and sidewalks are irregular. A lot of China is dirty, although my hotel is definately not. There are lots of stray dogs on the street, which makes me sad and nervous because they just sit in the middle of the road.Drivers are good about navigating around them. Drivers also honk randomly, which is frightening sometimes because you think they’re almost going to hit you. Maybe they’re just saying hello, I’m not sure.
We’re watching TV right now, and man is TV different. Everything is more colorful and “cute” (with the exception of the news channel). A lot of it is very random, and the talk shows always feature people wearing crazy outfits. So far, China’s pretty awesome.
Check out my photos so far @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/bright-