Slap dat Buddha Belly

So, it gets very hot here in Beijing, it’s humid as ship and I have been walking many miles a day here so I am sweaty and sticky and smelly all the day long. Another truth, traffic is insane, I am risking my life every single time I cross the road. It has never been truer that there is safety in numbers. I have learned to cross the road with other people. I follow the crowd weaving around; motor bikes, scooter bikes, bikes driven by grandmas, bikes driven by grandpas, garbage bikes, recycling trikes, delivery bikes, good for nothing bikes and most carry more than one passenger all aside from the cars and buses, oh my! I’ve learned you only take “taxi-taxis,” never the black wanna-be-taxis as they might be human trafficking taxis. My sister told me not to get sold or stolen while in China, so I will only ride in real taxis or on the really clean subway (that isn’t sarcasm, it really is clean, except for that one staircase by line 13 that smells like urine). Here there are humans, millions and millions of people EVERYWHERE and there is no order for the people traffic, “red light, eh, stop if you feel like it, but proceed if that is what the crowd is doing even if you’re walking blatantly in front of vehicles that clearly have the right of way.”photo-2

Even with lack of order there seems to be a nice flow here, people seem to be traveling at a content, but purposed pace and none seem too burdened.

Also, here in Beijing there is a thing. A thing that is a thing in China is a very big thing because there are so many people doing the things. One bewildering observation I have made of the things here, while out and about showering in my own sweat, is of Chinese men cooling themselves by folding up their shirt to expose their bellies, all of them, young and old all over the city. At times you even catch one playing with his belly button or slapping his big Buddha belly, I have to admit, when I see them, as sweat is running down my swass crack, I feel completely jealous. If I were a Chinese man, I’d be The Man with the friendly chin hair, slapping my buddha belly and I would hold extreme direct eye contact ALL THE DAY LONG.



Current Agenda: 1. Have all the fun 2. Be more thankful 3. See the world 4. Laugh until I cry more often. This list was compiled in effort to focus on possibilities, not casualties or fear. I'd like to recognize and be animated by joy, and hope.
Image | This entry was posted in Beijing; China; Chin hair; mole; freedom; people, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Slap dat Buddha Belly

  1. chicinchina says:

    9/1/2014: I have to interject and update here: Today is different from what I had written in the last sentence of the first paragraph. I am no longer walking around with the glaze of excitement and adventure over my eyes. It has been an electrifying, breathtaking week to say the least, but reality set in today and China has Ship. I could feel it today, it didn’t help that it was rainy and gloomy out, but I was tuning into something burdensome and it goes beyond what I can perceive with my 5 senses. I felt it in my gut and my spirit was heavy. I just keep thinking about all the babies and kiddos in the world who are getting stolen and exploited. It was triggered by an article I read on Facebook about Jacob Wetterling and then on my walk, through a park, on my way to work I had observed yet another toddler with crotchless pants. I don’t understand this cultural practice of not using diapers for children here. It really bothers me. I don’t think it is appropriate and they just have these kids exposed and peeing all over the city. This is an extreme aspect of this culture that I am just not able to understand. I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, but in a world where the climate is such that Child exploitation is a concern and something to be fought against, I just think caregivers need to leave no room for that darkness. So that’s how my day started after a brief discussion about culture shock with a friend. So, I have a balance to find because focusing on this could really damper this experience. On one hand I am happy to be having this new adventure, but I want to be of use here too, whatever that means. At least I can find the humor in some of these ridiculous practices, e.g. “pirate kid wearing an eye patch blasting a deuce in the street (literally saw this in live action). I guess I am looking forward to having more of a routine and to finding more ways to be a contributing member to this society rather than a muted observer. Anyway, pray for the kids, I hate how dark this world can be.

  2. Heidi says:

    Hey there – I’m Heidi, a friend of Anna’s and Ryan’s from Brookings, SD. I spent a year in China back in 2009 teaching English to graduate students at China Agricultural University. I still recall many of the same observations that you have identified…yes, somewhat disturbing or at a minimum surprising. However, fear not, many are just cultural differences…and some happen in the US, but they take just a slightly different picture in Chinese society.
    As for the bottomless baby/toddler clothes, these aid in potty-training. Unfortunately allowing kids to go “where ever and when ever” does not aid in the need for sanitation, it is a cultural norm. Think of it in “farm kid” terms…most farm kids are more than willing to squat outdoors when duty calls because it is acceptable in the rural context of not having a bathroom close by. However, in a large city such as Beijing, we look through our US city eyes and wonder how someone could allow their child to just pee anywhere. Afterall, in the US we pick up after our dogs in city settings! Your revelation of how it can impact human trafficking is more than a gut feeling. Allow Our Father to show you more and find your fit in your local community. Think about how things are in the US and then look for the similarities in China. They are still there: WE ARE ALL HUMANS…the similarities just may look a little different.

    I am more than happy to share some ups and downs with you about my experiences. Beijing has many wonderful things to offer and the people are more than willing to share in your life if you allow them to, and when asked, they will more than open their homes for you. Be brave and look for meaningful relationships that open up, and be brave and continue exploring the wonderful city. Take the subway to the expat areas and rejuvenate on more familiar foods and see more familiar looking faces. Meet and greet as many people as possible from around the world and share in their experiences and share yours.


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