Saturday, September 8, 2012

Delightfully Disoriented

It's time to divulge the details of my delightfully disoriented adventure.

[Background Info]
I was out shopping w/ the L girls until they got picked up to go back to the farm.  I could have taken the easy way back - a taxi - but it was a gorgeous afternoon, I thought I knew where I was, I needed a few things, so I decided I'd walk.  It was only 4:30.  I had plenty of time.

[Real Story]
Once the girls left I headed up to a bakery that I love.  They have this bread that I call 'Crack By Hands'. Honestly. (I saw it a few weeks ago and the sign said 'crack by hands' which I thought was hilarious.  Therefore, I eat 'Crack By Hands' whenever I can.  And I love it.)  Anyway, I got my Crack By Hands, got my map out, thought I knew where I was, and headed back to my apartment.  After about 30 seconds I realized I was going the wrong way so I turned around and went back up to the bakery.  Then when I thought I knew which way to go, again, I started walking.

 [SIDENOTE: My sense of direction SUCKS.  Awful. Terrible.  Non-existent. If I think I need to go one way, I might as well turn the other way.  That'll probably be the right way.] 

After a few minutes on this new road, I knew I was in market territory.  There were vendors everywhere.  That was when I realized I didn't know where I was.  But I decided to just go with it.  There are taxis everywhere and I could have grabbed one if I felt defeated, but I didn't! HA!  I ended up finding a fruit vendor that had those sugar apples that I now love so I decided I'd try and buy a few.  I had a fun little conversation triangle with the woman who worked there and this guy just chillin in a chair.  I asked how much. She started using way too many words.  Before I could tell her I couldn't understand her, the guy beat me to it with a huge smile on his face.  After a few round of this she gave me a bag, I grabbed what I wanted and paid for it.  Then I continued on my journey that included probably hundreds of stares.  Oddly white American girl, wearing sunglasses (strange occurrence here), wandering around by herself on Old Street? Weird.  Yeah.  That's my life now.  I'm used to it finally.
By this point I realize that I'm on Old Street.  I don't know if that's what it's actually called but that's what we call it here.  It's in the middle of town but you feel like you just regressed a few decades as you wander down the choppy dirt road filled with locals who make you feel like you're walking through a movie set.
It took me 40 minutes to get to the bottom of Old St. and, just as I approached modern society, I saw something that finally gave me an idea of what to do w/ my bare apartment walls and tables.  I tacked that little note in my brain and continued back to my apartment, now completely aware of where I was and how long it would take me to get home.  I ran a few more errands since I was already on a roll, said hi to a few guys who decided to throw out probably the only english word they know - hello - and maneuvered my way through the dinner crowd back to my apartment where my poor blistered feet (dumb flip flops) got to plop up on a table while I watched a movie and ate a somewhat Chinese meal that I made.  It was a pretty great day. I'm glad I got lost!  I can't wait for it to happen again! (Sorry everyone at home who is freaking out because of that statement.  China is a lot safer than you think.  I can jump in a taxi whenever. I go out when it's light out.  I DO have a phone even though it's 10 years old. I'll be ok.)

[Follow Up]
This morning, after A and I finished our morning tutoring class, I made her come w/ me to the bottom of old street to grab some bottles that I saw while on my adventure.  When we got there, we saw the piles of bottles... and an old woman who was collecting them.  So A suggested that we ask her if we can buy some off of her.  Sure. Why not?  So A asks her and she says yes.  I paid 2 RMB (she only asked for one) for all 4 bottles.  And yes, they were beer bottles.  Massive, pretty, green beer bottles that will now looks all fancy in my apartment.  I promise.  We stopped up the road to take a picture of us holding my lovely adventure finds.  Who does that? Who buys empty beer bottles off of an old woman on the streets of China so she can decorate her apartment?  I do!  Yup!

My life here is odd.  I love it.  It's great.  I am so glad I have 10 more months here.  10 more months to find the adventures that are hiding all around here. WOO!


  1. Awesome! I am Jealous, keep having those great adventures!

    Dave Cushman