The blog posts so far have been about my personal tribulations and triumphs but I think it’s time I share some of my observations over the past 2 weeks. Every outing is an experience, whether it’s to Joel’s office (something I have mastered but still get strange things happening) or to the shops underground (always weird since some areas are just opening up and it’s like a setting for a zombie movie).
So, every outing to a grocery store means exiting the apartment building directly into a mall (The Friendship Store, think HIGH end shops within a big multiple story mall, hence the $1,000 dress). I go down two floors to GT Land Plaza (the actual underground mall area). GT Land has many, I mean lots and lots and lots of places to eat. It seems to be all café style Asian food restaurants. We haven’t eaten at any, mainly because I can’t read the menu or decide which one to go to. Once in GT Land (passing 2 Starbucks) there are a few walkways to find Aeon, the grocery store which uses WAY too much plastic. Around Aeon is a McDonalds and Starbucks among other places. They also have a little bakery and macaroon station. Not that I have gotten anything from there yet, my sweet tooth is actually being stifled here. Chocolate is too expensive (*note-visitors, bring chocolate!) It took us a few trips down to the depths to make our way around. GT Land has 4 sections: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. We’ve sorted out Aeon is in Spring and BLT is Winter (pictures from last post were at BLT). The depths of GT Land also connect to the Metro (subway, underground train system). At peak hours this place is insane. The 14 million+ gather in these passage ways and there is no order to any of it. Fortunately the Metro management organises people by places fencing to guide them to the escalators which take them even further down. This does not, however, prevent people from pushing in, moving the barricades and sliding in to the throngs of “chattle” (it really feels that way) and pushing to the front. This is to say, only during peak hours it is like this. and I have not actually travelled on the subway yet, only purchased my Metro card to prepare myself for our first trip tomorrow. This will not be during peak hour but I will still update on the comparisons between GZ subway and Melbourne.
The masses of people have been a challenge for me to overcome, which is not happening at any speed.The same can be said of these people. They have no speed, at all. I am a speedy walker, possibly due to the fact I have trained myself to walk quickly in order to keep up with my longer legged counterparts. I suppose in a country where the average height is closer to my five foot nothing than the countries with people that have an average 6 inches on my little stems (or trunks as I think of them) they have no need to keep up with anyone. Or maybe they just don’t hurry here at all. I know they definitely don’t hurry on weekends as no one is awake earlier than 10am. Now, many of you know Joel likes his sleep-ins but he even noticed the lack of human activity on weekend mornings, which also makes brunch a difficult weekend outing. As we’ve been told, have breakfast then go out for brunch at noon, when places actually open. And that’s another thing, I saw more than one coffee shop (Starbucks, Zoo Coffee and Costa Coffee) all still closed at 9am on a weekday. Where are people getting their coffees before work? I suppose it is a tea drinking society but seriously, I think a 7am coffee is also a nice thing to have.
And just to touch on a few more observations, clothing choices are odd. I was worried about what was appropriate and normal, but there is no base level of appropriateness nor normal-ness. Tight cloths, loose clothes, short tops, long tops-its all good here. Not to say I haven’t gotten looks. Mainly for my shoe choice. I love runners but it is too dang hot here (runners are a popular choice here as I see many girls wearing any and all style of runners with dresses) so I wear thongs (flip-flops for the North Americans) or my Birkenstocks or Chacos. Those two styles are not too common and get some looks. Now I like to figure out what will get me strange looks. I am not too outlandish but I can stand out and I like to figure out what it is that gets me those looks. It’s a fun game.
More observations to come…oddities may become fewer andfewer the longer I am here too…