When I was welcomed into the home of Dr. Wang and his wife, Ms. Guo, we immediately began preparing delicious dumplings filled with vegetables, mushrooms, and shrimp together for lunch. They shared that it is customary to prepare dumplings together when you wish to welcome something. They said that we would eat noodles on my last night to signify a long and lasting friendship, like the length of the noodle.
- People are very friendly and polite. Here in Handan, foreign tourists are not very common, so many people say “Hello” in English and some even want to pose for a picture with me. People generally call each other by their family name (i.e. Mr. Pei)
- A future blog entry will center on food. For now, please know that it has been delicious and plentiful. Food is served around a round table, family style, on a large lazy susan. When you are welcoming guests, elaborate banquets with lots of dishes are prepared along with many toasts. Lunch today involved….no exaggeration…22 courses.
Discourtesies or just customary?
- Men often spit. I know this happens in the United States, but the spitting here involves throat-clearing and is loud and frequent. Maybe it’s because of the pollution although I have not seen any women spitting? Some places, there are “no spitting” signs posted.
- Honking horns is constant. Perhaps this is necessary. If there are traffic laws, they do not seem to be obeyed. The streets are flooded with cars, mopeds, bicycles and people without clear marking of lanes, frequent driving on sidewalks in various directions, and three-point turns on highways. Apparently, drinking and driving was allowed up until a year and a half ago after laws were passed after some major accidents. So maybe the horn serves a purpose, but it seems excessive.
- Young children pee in the streets. Toddlers wear pants with their rear ends exposed (no diapers) and just go in the road. I don’t suppose we find that rude as much as unsanitary. A future blog entry will involve the bathroom situation. It is not always pretty.
~ Melissa Kapeckas