Trying to find words to describe our day proves increasingly difficult. ‘What’ and ‘wow’ make up just about 50% of our daily conversation. Everything around us is a constant source of amazement, awe, confusion, disgust, all at the same time.
China is in no way what we expected, even though we both admitted not having any expectations in the first place. I’d say today was bizarre, a sensory overload so big it gave me a headache, but in the best sense of the word. How a headache is a good thing I don’t know, but I suppose it captures the utter confusion I feel when I sit down to describe our day.
It all started out so peaceful. A ‘mood food power smoothie’ at our happiness spot around the corner, a lovely walk along the river with stunning views and generally no clue as to where we’re heading. We were happy humans.
But the peace wouldn’t last for long. As soon as we get back into town the bustling markets, honking scooters and people shouting even when having the most normal of conversations throws us straight back into sensory overload-mode. Nevertheless, we are fascinated by this city, or town, or whatever it is. We cannot take our eyes off of it, we can’t stop exploring, and so we roam around until our legs are shaking and our heads are spinning.
After a much needed break we decide to head out for some dinner. We enter a cute noodle-shop-looking place, sit down, and are instantly presented with a menu. In Chinese, the whole Chinese and nothing but Chinese. We make an attempt to translate it using Google translate but it doesn’t make us much wiser.
‘Kneeling dad on Liu’
‘A radish offal’
‘Swallow Taro sweet potato pill’
‘Zen fun take the floor’
‘Secret of the foot’
Either they come up with the most ingenious and creative names for dishes here or the people behind the Google ban decided to have a bit of fun and just confuse the heck out of Western tourists. Either way, we are totally lost and end up ordering by pointing at stuff on the menu. We end up with fried sweet potato balls, leek dumplings, and some kind of orange-y ice tea. It surprisingly satisfies our cravings.
We hit the streets once more, what else are we to do. Not surprisingly we soon find ourselves in the middle of a market once again. Kids in egg-shaped 9D experience capsules, prices that go down from 100 to 30 just by walking away, chicken legs on sticks, mangos carved like pinecones, the constant deafening scream of salesmen, flashing Chinese symbols everywhere. Little by little we are getting closer to the point of mental breakdown due to sensory overload. But again, in the best sense of the word.
China. You amazing, confusing, stunning, smelly, inexhaustible source of entertainment. We can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us.