I think it’s interesting how my attitude on paper products, like toilet paper and napkins, has been changed during my month (minus a day or two) in China. In the U.S., I never really thought about my use of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, etc. In college, they provided rolls of tp in the basement free of charge or refilled the stalls. Here, the restaurants and cafeterias rarely provide napkins and definitely not paper towels. The bathrooms don’t have toilet paper. Everyone carries around little packages of tissues. I feel as if I’m very aware of my use of paper here: how many squares, how many sheets. Gone are my days of heedlessly cleaning things with paper towels! In the cafeterias, they have hand-washing sinks instead, which is a pretty good idea.
It’s probably a good change, an awareness I didn’t have before about how much paper I waste in the U.S. but I’ll admit to missing napkins and free toilet paper in bathrooms. Is it weird to miss America for that reason? But hey, they’ve got all the oreos you can possibly want! My roomie told me that there’s a saying/song that Chinese men have Audis, women have Dior and children have Oreos. Also, apparently, Oreos are a major contributor to the growing problem of childhood obesity in China (at least that’s what I’ve been told.) Obviously, Oreos are pretty popular here!
In other food news, I tried pizza in China yesterday! Of course, not as good as New York pizza and incredibly small for the steep price (20 yuan for a personal pizza) but not bad although my veggie toppings mostly consisted of corn and onion. Here’s a photo of N & T with T’s miniscule pizza. Afterwards, A and I stopped by a 小摊儿 (small stall) selling 烤冷面 (roughly translates to roasted cold noodles.) The stall owner was super friendly so I asked her about the taste (sour/sweet) and watched as she made mine. First, she laid a sheet of the noodle upon the griddle and cracked an egg on top. She spread the egg around before flipping it over. On the other side, she brushed a sauce (not sure what kind it was), sprinkled on some sugar and maybe a bit of curry?, added some vinegar and spice. She filled the noodle with onion and cilantro, added more vinegar then folded it all together and cut it. It was a really good snack for 3 yuan! Plus, she complimented me on my Mandarin so obviously, I’m going back 😛 Yesterday, I also wandered down an alleyway within campus that led to the front yards of apartment buildings. Giant sunflowers grew everywhere, some of them hanging their heavy heads. They were easily 8 feet tall. And in the front yards, gardens with eggplant, tomato plants, corn and other vegetables. I was pretty amazed at the variety, all packed within such a tight space. I’ve realized that HIT’s campus is actually pretty small. It’s pretty easy to wander through the entirety of it although the park and some of the labs are further away. Anyway, here’s a photo of the random little Apple store located in my dorm (obviously, they’ve got everything you could possibly need here!)