Lessons from my first half-week

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Things that don’t exist in China:

  • Ubiquitous wireless internet. Not so surprising, really, because Americans do have a rather unhealthy obsession with their wireless, but one would think I’d get wifi in the hotel room. Surprise, nope! Naturally this makes it rather less convenient to put up blog posts.
  • Washcloths. Seriously, China, what’s up with that?
  • Dryers. Or, they do exist, but for some reason dryers are considered a luxury item and are pretty rare. The Chinese prefer to stick to the traditional method of line-drying. (Hey, it’s environmentally conscious)
  • Smog. The weather has been pretty fantastic since I got here. From what I hear, outside of Beijing and maybe Shanghai, that’s actually pretty typical.

    View from on the CCNU campus
    View from on the CCNU campus
  • English speakers. Which, again, is not that surprising; China has its own language, so why would they speak English? Nevertheless, you’ll hear in a lot of places that lots of people in China speak English, even to the point that foreigners don’t actually need to learn Chinese! Nope, not in Wuhan.

Things that do exist in China:

  • Toilets, by which I mean something that Americans would recognize as a toilet. In hotels and international dorms, at least. Public restrooms still tend to have the Asian-style squat toilets.
  • Toilet paper. The piece of advice I got probably more than any other was to bring my own toilet paper. Well, not to worry; they have toilet paper here. (Which is good because I actually forgot to bring any.)
  • Really good noodles. I include this not because it’s characteristic of China in general, there’s just this one restaurant off campus that makes really good noodles.
  • Cooked whole animals. Nothing enhances the experience of eating fish like staring down its lifeless eyes as you munch on its flesh…

    A mostly-eaten fish
    A mostly-eaten fish
  • Good coffee. Or at least decent coffee. The particle physics group has their own $1500 coffee machine in the lounge. Let’s see how long I can hold out before becoming addicted.