Archives for August 2013

Chinese Culture


After three trips to China (four for me), reading a number of books about China written by Chinese authors as well as our favorite American in China, Peter Hessler, and learning some rudimentary Chinese we’re starting to feel like we know a little something. So we’ve got the Chinese outfits, have learned a little Chinese, and we think we’ve got this nailed, right? Not so fast…2013-08-01-DSC_0582

Turns out that there are not pandas everywhere.  We had to buy these guys since pandas were a close second to a new sister for Rion.  He nearly threw at tantrum at the Great Wall because there weren’t any pandas there.  We did see one sleepy panda at the Hefei zoo.  She was hiding in her glass enclosure due to the extraordinary heat.  She ate a few bites of bamboo and went to sleep with her posterior (as Julia likes to say) facing the window.  Rion didn’t understand why there weren’t pandas at the Holiday Inn since they had small bamboo plants on the breakfast table.  He asked Julia’s foster mom why they didn’t have a panda on their rooftop garden since they had bamboo.  (Yes, we met Julia’s foster family – more on that in another post.)

2013-08-01-DSC_0556It turns out there are a lot of things you can do on the streets of China that you might not find in the U.S.  A quick haircut on the sidewalk is common-place both in in Beijing and Hefei.  What was somewhat unique in Hefei were the earwax ladies.  Every day we walked past these women with lights strapped to their foreheads and a handful of tools with little brushes on the end.  Business was thriving.  It was rare to see them without a client apparently suffering from severe earwax.  I’m not sure the ladies would have passed California’s standards for sanitizing those tools.


We didn’t find anyone familiar with fortune cookies by the way, and this is what a real Chinese take-out box looks like: