Here is a list of some big differences between China and the U.S.:
Tipping is not practiced in restaurants.
Prices for street food are negotiable and you can haggle for lower prices.
Food is much cheaper in China and it's easy to get a hearty meal for 2-3 American dollars.
Traffic is insane and drivers are crazy! Mopeds are common and it seems that they aren't officially considered vehicles because you can see them going in any and every direction and weaving through traffic erratically.
Restaurants don't usually supply napkins, so you have to ask for them and pay for them.
Smoking is allowed indoors in China
So far, it's been really interesting getting used to these differences. When I went to New Zealand people would ask me what's different and I didn't have much of an answer. But here, it is different in so many ways, and it's really fun to experience it. Many people stare at us because we're not Chinese, but I realize it's just curiosity. They seem flattered that we're here to see their culture and learn their language, especially since Wuhan isn't really a touristy spot.
This past week I also intensified my food adventurousness by eating liver, fish eyeball, and cow brains. In general, the food is very good, and they have much variety to offer. Lots of dishes are spicy and very flavorful, which I love. On Thursday, there was a crazy thunderstorm unlike any I had seen before. The lightning was almost constant and looked like a strobe light sometimes. The thunder was mostly low and rumbling with only a few big cracks. It poured so hard that the bathrooms in two of our rooms started leaking , and the rooms flooded! It was insane, and the water was pouring in and flowing straight through to the hallway! Needless to say, the students in those rooms were moved to different rooms.
This past weekend, we went to see the 3 Gorges Dam, which is the largest hydro power station in the world. It was pretty impressive. We also went on a tour through natural caves, which was awesome. There were bats flying around inside, and it reminded me of a scene from Scooby Doo or something. We saw the Yangtze River and took a short boat ride, too. After that, we went ziplining across the river, which was exhilarating! Our leaders and guides from the university have been VERY good to us, and they paid for our food and excursions. The class is going fast, and we're finishing this week. I'm kind of excited to not have to worry about it for the last week, and I will be officially done with classes forever! I'll have another blog entry in about a week!