Thursday, March 23, 2017

What is CHAOS

Bell tower and the daily smash up derby in progress
CHAOS Theory  loosely states that if you watch chaos long enough patterns suddenly emerge.
CHAOS: behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.
CHAOS: the formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe
CHAOS in Xi'an can be explained in two words. Vehicular Traffic.

Drivers rule the roads so do not even think about the fact they should stop, they will absolutely not! Cars, buses, scooters, bikes and any assorted mode of transportation will run your butt down. For that matter people will not think twice about it either. So, how do I cross a massively busy intersection? I side up to a group of locals and do what they do. They stop, I stop. They go, I go. They run, I run faster.
Here  are some of the most interesting/odd/disgusting things I have experienced or observed in my short time here.
1. Parents will drop the pants of their child and that child will pee right there on the street. OK these kids are usually about 2 or 3 and, well they have to pee!

2.Cars honk constantly and have the right of way at all times. They will run your shit down.
3. Smog. This city is enveloped in a hazy fog that is clearly visible. Xi’an it turns out has some of the worst smog in China. It is on par with Beijing. What does this feel like? Well you emerge from the subway or your apartment and you walk into a continuous bath of second hand smoke and you can actually smell it at time. 
How good can this be for me, or anyone for that matter.  I have seen the sun one day for about 30 minutes and I have not seen any blue sky as of yet.

Smoggy view from my apartment
4. Spitting. It is mostly old dudes who hork/spit all the time. I am talking hocking up a huge lugee with the beauty of a guttural throat sound.This I will not get used to. Speaking of which I was in MacDonalds for a coffee the other day because in the land of tea I wanted coffee so leave me alone. Anyways I heard the tell tale sound of a lugee producer and thought what, where?. She was working the fryer and proceeded to hock that lugee into the deep fryer and nobody thought twice. I wonder if it crackled? Seriously,  I went to my happy place of no thinking as I took the next sip of my coffee...knowingly
5. Tiger Moms. They are everywhere and they are mean. In the middle of a busy street, hell anywhere really these Tiger Moms scream and berate their kids until they cry. I can not even imagine why. I was told that it is a tough life in China and kids need to learn early. Cultural differences smacking me right in the face.

6. Public washrooms. I was in a public washroom and an old guy was taking a dump and did not have the stall door shut. He was just squatting and grunting for the world to see and hear. Again it must go back to the 1.3 billion people here and there is no privacy anywhere so after a while who gives a "shit when you shit"
7. Technology. The use of technology here blows Canada away. It is a WeChat world and if you are not a part of it you are not anything. Public buildings use motion detectors for lighting so as to not waste electricity if nobody is in the room/hallway. Escalators do not move unless they are stepped on, again why waste electricity on a constant moving stairway when nobody is using it. Brilliant in it's concept. I use a finger scan to clock in and out of the school, and cash is rarely used. WeChat is used to pay everything so you go to the local food stall and transfer the price to their WeChat account (which is connected to their bank account). All this is being done with a QR code. Again, brilliant in its simplicity.

Know it, love it, live by it

Hello my name is Yang. I turn to look at a huge gapped tooth smile staring up at me.
My shaver decided to suddenly stop working. It has been with me for the better part of 10 years and owed me nothing. There is a Wallmart near my apartment so off I went. Sometimes finding something familiar soothes the psyche I find. I stopped for a coffee at Macdonald's and was sitting on a bench just taking it all in when a kid of about 10 sits down beside me with a big smile. In bad English he tells me his name is Yang and he is China. We go back and forth with hims speaking Mandarin and I am doing my best to toss in the few words that I know.  I tell him I want to go to Wallmart (wo yao chu Wallmart) so excitedly he jumps up to show me the way. Oddly bold for a kid I was told.
I say thanks thinking that is the end of it and leave him a big forlorn on the steps into the store. I am just staring to wander around when I hear a bright an cheery “hello” and there is Yang, big smile and all. He proceeds to just follow me around the store happy to tag along. Who was I to be rude. As it turned out he helped me find what I was looking for and was proud to do so. He just about lost his mind when we stumbled into the electronics department. We hung out for about an hour just wandering the store looking at different things and on the way out he asked if I wanted Tea (cha). We wandered to a tea house near in the plaza and he ordered 2 tea and made sure we sat on the patio which I presume was so people would see up together. There we chilled, Yang and I sipping tea on a Chinese Saturday morning in an outdoor Xi’an shopping plaza.
The one time I did not carry my little point and shoot camera with me to have picture of us chilling like thugs sipping tea on a smoggy Xi'an afternoon.

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