Friday, October 08, 2004

Well, my vacation is over and it's back to work again today. I'm not ready for it to end, but I suppose that's always the case. They have a strange policy here regarding vacations. For example, we have to work this weekend, rather than keeping our normal days off. It's a way to make up some of the time we missed during the vacation. From what I hear, from some of the people who live in my building, most Chinese will be working this weekend, also. Eight days off and now eight days on.

Angela and I went out for dinner yesterday evening, which was perhaps our way of celebrating the end of my vacation (Angela had to work all week as she doesn't work for a Chinese company). We had a nice dinner near Tiananmen Square and then took a stroll through some of the sidestreets in the area where many vendors sell typical Chinese souvenirs. Sitting down to enjoy a beer, many young Chinese people started talking to us (Angela's Chinese is quite good) and we were temporarily a popular showcase in their little Avenue.

It's really difficult to travel within the city, especially because we don't live so close to the city center. We have to transfer from a bus to the subway and, like yesterday evening, another subway line, the entire trip totaling about one hour. The time it takes and the transfers we make are not so problematic, but the people themselves make it very difficult. Whenever there is a line for anything, like buying a ticket or waiting to get on the bus, there is simply no order. All people shove their way forward or cut in front of each other whenever possible.

It's quite frustrating. It makes me want to act the same way, but I am trying to be a decent human being, a good American, a good representative of my country, which is, unfortunately, in dire need of proper representatives. I can't let that rude behavior rub off on me so I never force my way onto the bus or cut in front of another person to buy my subway tickets. Blame it on good parenting. I'm not above wielding an angry expression and positing a few choice expletives in rugged situations. Even if the Chinese people don't understand my English, I'm sure they understand my tone.

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