Monday, August 16, 2010

Duty Free

I made it back from China about a week and a half ago. It's kinda interesting...we took off around 1pm on Friday and landed at 8am the same day, which made it a very long 39 hour "day".

My boss went, too, and a few days before we were scheduled to fly back, he had a little stomach trouble. Another of my coworkers suggested that I just take Immodium AD the entire time so that I wouldn't have to deal with any stomach issues, but I figured I would take it as needed. On the flight back, I felt my stomach start to rumble, and for a few days after arriving home, I, unfortunately, didn't feel so great.

Things have since cleared up and I'm feeling fairly well, but what made me feel quite uneasy while I was there was the almost constant staring, especially when I was by myself.

Sure, I realize that China (and a lot of Asian countries) has less diversity than the US, especially San Francisco (which is probably one of the most diverse cities in the US), but I know they are used to seeing foreigners to some degree.

When I was out with my boss and some of our vendors (who were American, but living in China), I didn't notice as many stares, but we were often waved down in order to attract our attention to their business when we were in smaller shopping districts.

When I was out running in the morning, there were not many people out and about, and those that were out seemed to be quite older and performing their exercises. I often got stares from people in buses during my runs, or sometimes from the sparse people I did see on the sidewalks.

When I went walking on my own, that's when I noticed quite a bit of staring, again, mainly from people on buses or in cars, and only sometimes from people on the sidewalk. Inside one of the shopping malls, though, things seemed rather nice and there were far fewer stares.

I'm sure they were harmless stares, but either way, I felt a bit uneasy, mainly because almost all of the women are dainty and very feminine. I almost felt out of place to a degree, due to my lack of uber feminine stature and my semi-infatuation with lesbian gear. I tried wrapping my head around the illegality of being gay or lesbian in China, and couldn't imagine how awful it would be to live there and be attracted to the same sex.

It was nice to see, though, that a majority of people just went about their business and focused on where they needed to go, because I have to admit, their traffic methods are utterly insane. If you're not watching where you're going in China, you're probably not going to last long there.