Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The People of China

While Zoe napped, Kathy watched the kids, and Lisa and I got a chance to steal away for lunch together. We went to Noodles and Chopsticks, a great restaurant in the hotel. We had a big bowl of noodles in broth, two pork chops swimming in a yummy sauce, two orders of spring rolls (3 on each) and a huge local beer that served up 3.5 glassfuls. The bill came to about $3.50 US --and we had leftovers.

Anyway, at lunch, Lisa and I were talking about the Chinese people and how nice, helpful, friendly, attentive and accommodating they are. The hotel staff is always smiling, and each one seems to take real pride in his or her job.

There is a line in a poem called "Desiderata" that says, "Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time" The Chinese people seem to take this to heart.

Before we went to dinner last night, we noticed a group of waiters and waitresses standing at attention outside a restaurant, in uniform listening to the manager give out the evening's instructions. Then, in Pizza Hut, the salad bar attendee was refilling the pineapple, but instead of just placing a bowl there, she made an artful tower -- piece by piece. Why? Probably because it would look nice, and make the diners happier. She seemed to enjoy doing it, too. Also in Pizza Hut, about 7 staff members lined the exit aisle and said goodbye to us and thanked us for coming as we left.

We went to a very large department store today called Carefour (like a super Target or Walmart). There were almost more staff members than customers. They were located on every aisle, waiting to help you find what you needed. The same was true in the super huge shoe store I went to the other day. And the amazing thing is, those that aren't helping customers are busy cleaning. Very different from our Walmart!

We've also noticed, if you snooze, you lose. In America, we will wait in line for our turn. In China, they seize on opportunities to get where they want to be. Example: Your group of 8 is waiting 3 minutes for an elevator. A Chinese person walks up 10 seconds before the elevator arrives. The doors open, and the Chinese person walks by you to get in first. This is considered rude in America, but here, it's just part of life. I guess with this many people, you have to take advantage whenever you can.

The Chinese also seem to love children. We are often stopped and told how beautiful Katie is, and all of the waitresses want to play with Zoe.

One other thing we all get a kick out of is that many of the children about age 2.5 and younger do not appear to wear diapers. They wear these split pants, that are open on the bottom. You see bare bottoms everywhere. I guess their parents hold them over toilets every so often.

Oh, another amazing pricing find . . . motorized scooters at Carefour sold for about $300 US.


At 7:32 AM, Anonymous KYRA said...


At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Ruth Ann Hepler said...

We had the same observations about the Chinese people. Americans could learn a lot from them! They know a lot about customer service. Watch out at the airport b/c they will definitely cut in line in front of you, which can be bad if you're in a hurry!

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Sandy Harris said...

Good morning/evening, dearest ones!
How VERY much we enjoy getting up in the morning to read your latest comments - have we mentioned that we think you ought to print the blog in book form?? Certainly a treasure for SWEET Zoe - AND for the rest of us. You are both such gifted writers! We laugh, we cry; wish we were there, wish you were here - LOVE you ALL so much!! News from this end: Grandpa Alan is safely home from VT. Can't wait 'til you're all safely HOME...........
Kisses and hugs all around, please.
Sandy and Grandma Gertie

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Glenn said...

With prices like that, the next Parents-Night-Out will have to be at a restaurant in Hefei... You guys should probably just wait there for the rest of us.


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