Monday, February 18, 2013

Seeing Is Believing

I've been living in China for going on three years. It's not easy to live here. I'm sure it would be more enjoyable if I were in Shanghai. But it's Qingdao. It is what it is, as my Mom says. It could be far worse. I mean, I am in the place known for Tsingtao Beer. And for plastic bags. All joking aside, China can be a difficult place to endure at times. But when I see other parts of the world on the news (Syria comes to mind), I'm grateful that things are more or less normal here, even if some things can be irksome (my in-laws come to mind).

It's not all annoying all the time though. Sometimes, it can be rather amusing to live here. When I first got here, I was fascinated at the sight of these:
A three-wheeled car! It's like a motorcycle with a cheap car chassis thrown on top. Honestly, I feared my husband, who likes to be thrifty-borderline-cheap, would buy this thing when he was first hunting around for a car.

I remember my brother had told me a story about how he knew when he had been living in Poland too long. He said he was driving and noticed in his rear-view mirror a horse-drawn carriage pulling garbage. He recalled thinking, "Oh, I better move over so he can get by," and he said with that, he realized he'd been there far too long. As he told me, I cracked up over the image in my head. But he's right because the longer you live in a strange place, the less likely you are to laugh at all the absurd shit you encounter daily.

That's quite true with many things here. Like the car pictured above. I don't giggle anymore when I see them. But there is something that still cracks me up every time. I have been trying to catch a photo of it when I see it. I'm either without my camera or just too damn slow in most cases. Finally, my moment came when I could capture it on camera for all to see. In my mind, it is the vehicular version of Sasquatch.

Presenting the motorcycle garbage truck!
Here it is from behind. It looks like it's on some sort of half-assed cart, right? Well, the half-assed part is right, that's for sure.
Now you can see it from the side. What craftsmanship it must have taken to secure all that crap on there! You can also see that it's no cart. But it IS half-assed. It's a motorcycle/cart thing. They love these things here. Many times, you'll see them with migrant workers in them. I once saw what looked like someone's ancient grandma riding around on the back of one. Poor old lady.
 And here's a shot of it from the front. You can see these two people carting off this hot mess of what looks like loads of styrofoam. Predictably, Jeremy doesn't laugh when he sees these. He's Chinese. He's seen this his whole life. He says he always feels sorry for the people driving these garbage-motorcycle contraptions though. Here, you'll always be poor if you don't break some laws, he explained to me. This isn't exactly legal to do but just find a police officer who will stop these folks here. They won't. Then again, I wasn't too impressed with the police force here to begin with. My general impression of them is that they don't do very much more than chain smoke and eat noodles. I'm always taken by surprise when I see an actual police car on the road. In the states, you see them everywhere, but here, very rarely. Probably because they are back at the station smoking and eating.

Speaking of eating, you won't find the cops stopping anyone with random food carts either. People love to set these things up here. I'm never amused by them. You can pretty much bet on diarrhea if you eat at one of them too. Once you've seen one food cart, you've seen them all. Or so I thought. We were out shopping in Taidong the other day and while walking around, I could have happily lived the rest of my life without ever seeing what I am about to show you. But because Jeremy had to point it out and I had to see it with my own eyeballs, now you get to too! As disgusting as it is, I could not control my laughter. Only in China would this be a selling point for street food. Ready to see???

Look closely at this food cart. What do you see? It looks like some meat on a stick pictures. Big fucking deal, right? Why don't you look to the left of the customer.

Can you even believe it? Here is a better shot...
Why, YES! It IS a REAL ram's head! Because when I'm hungry, I want to look at the face of the poor animal that died to become my meal! And beyond that, how sanitary! Like anything coming from a cart of this type would be bacteria-free! Gah!

1 comment:

  1. We had to drive to Miami today to take care of some things at the courthouse and had similar experience. As we were driving down 163rd Street, we passed a woman with what had to have been an attempt at a Marge Simpson-esque beehive hairdo (minus the 12 bottles of blue dye), only it could really only be accurately described as a wasp's nest hairdo. Seriously, it looked like one giant vertical dredlock! Not 10 seconds later, on the same side of the same street was a pump - who was stereotypically pumped out in a royal purple velvet suit with zebra lapels, patent leather (or plastic, I'm not really sure which) shoes, white fedora, cane, and of course (because he just wouldn't be pumpin' without it) flashing a gold "grill." Keep in mind, it was 1 o'clock in the afternoon and over 80 degrees outside. It occurred to us, "only in Miami..." I couldn't help but wonder what city/town I'll be replacing Miami with in a few month's time, and what oddities would become simply "local flavor." I can't wait for the new adventures that await us!