Well the power cut off this morning after everyone left for work. I accidentally shut the door and locked myself out so I decided to venture up the stairs towards the roof. I read the sign and decided to wait for Hunt to get back. This isn’t the USA so I don’t want to push my luck being on the roof of buildings in a Communist country.
I hopped onto a few balconies and snapped some photos and took the elevator down to the first floor. I wandered around the streets for a few hours going in a loop so I didn’t get lost. Our building is pretty easy to spot out regardless. It’s the only series of beige, brown standing skyscrapers. Just in case I recorded my route on Strava. Since I have no way to communicate with Hunt or his two German roommates I decided this was the smartest idea.
Chris gets back from class at noon so I killed some time roaming the streets. Most of the city cannot drive to save their ass. No one stops for pedestrians. They see you and run you over. I almost collided with a few taxis and scooters already so I keep an eye out whenever I cross the street even if the cross walk is green. I noticed scooters and bicycles ride in both directions on both sides of the road. People scoot around the city with package bundles on their bikes selling merchandise to pedestrians walking down the street. If I look up I’ll see skyscrapers soaring into every direction of the sky, but straight ahead clerks stand at little corner stores selling fruit and other flea market items. Poverty sits below the rich and the middle class does not exist here. Wires dangle in the middle of the street and remain tangled in the barb wired fences and trees cemented to the ground of the sidewalks. Cars park in both directions on each side of the road and cameras lookout over the city like Big Brother watching your every move. People spit and smoke more than I’ve ever seen and the weirdest thought that popped into my mind, “Everyone carries toilet paper around to go number 2.” The public bathrooms don’t supply it so it’s like you’re preparing for camping every day of the week.
People look at me funny as I walk down the road with no place to go looking at the architecture; breathing in the different smells from fruits and cuisine to sewage and filth. The economy here is developing and the city is very welcoming to foreigners. I stopped at McDonald’s to grab some food since I feared accidentally eating dog and losing a potential travel buddy. It tasted the same, but cost much less compared to the USA.
I plan on eating more native food and learning some basic Mandarin so I don’t feel so out of place here, but the trip just started and there is much time to figure out what lies ahead. Just walking down the road made me appreciate my home country due to all the freedoms we take for granted. I read about communism in history, but opening that door and living in it is completely different than flipping through the pages of a book.
I’m undecided on my plans. I would enjoy teaching English, but no more than a few months since I’d love to backpack through China, Thailand and Laos. Whether by backpacking, hitchhiking, local bus, taxi, bicycle or moped it doesn’t matter. The idea of staying in the same spot for too long just kills my spirit.
I need to check into the laws on exploring vacant structures. I don’t want to get shot with an assault rifle for wanting a different perspective on the city.
Life here is really cheap. After paying a few bus fares, a hotel and food for the past 3 days I’m only down 500 RMB. Most of that I spent on the hotel since they gave me a deluxe suite due to some epic meeting going on in Beijing. They booked all of their single rooms so I ended up spending 360 RMB on that alone for a night of sleep.
It’s almost noon so I’m getting off to head back up to room 2203. Chris is going to take me to the phone store to grab a Chinese SIM card for a few months. I think two months is about 150 RMB = $24.00. Everything here is cheap if you’re an American like myself.
I wrote more, but somehow WordPress deleted it. Oh well. We hit up the grocery store. It is definitely different culturally here. Hunt’s parents have been making us lunch and dinner. I have no idea what I’m eating, but it tastes amazing. I’m going to charge my phone and head around the city to check out more of ChengDu.