Warning: You should also be careful of the blog you read after breakfast.
This is where I normally insert a photo. You’re going to thank me for leaving it off today…
So this morning I checked us out of our hotel and we now are officially living in our apartment. In reality, we have been staying here most of the time for the last week but kept the hotel a couple of extra days because they have been working on the hot water here. Anyway, I had to get a cab back to Riverside and it was rush hour (around 9 am). At this time of day, you are just happy if there is a cab that will stop and let you get in. Sometimes they won’t let you get in when they find out where you are going. It is very interesting to me. I’m going to pay either way so I don’t really understand why they won’t drive me. Sometimes they just don’t want to drive that direction. It’s odd.
Anyway, this morning, a taxi stopped for me. Now it wasn’t the nicest taxi I’ve ridden in. Let’s just say it was a little rough around the edges… driver included. But he stopped. And was willing to drive me. So I tossed my bags in the back and got in the front.
People ride in the front of the taxis here. It took us a while to figure this out. But now, I really like it. It’s much easier to point, explain where you’re going, and I like to see the city as we’re driving.
Anyway, I got in this taxi, and he asked (in Chinese) if I was German… or American. I replied, “Mei gua ren” meaning American. He seemed very excited about this, smiled really big, and gave me a big thumbs up. I was pleased. Not really sure why that’s so great, but they really like Americans here. So I explained where I wanted to go (in Chinese… and he understood the first time, without the taxi book. I was very proud of myself.) and we headed off.
It’s actually a pretty quick little ride, usually only 5 minutes or so except it takes a little longer at rush hour. I was also pleased because this particular driver didn’t attempt to stare at me while driving. They usually do. Which I tend to ignore (what else are you going to do?) although it can be a bit stressful if the traffic is bad. I almost died yesterday because the driver was staring at me instead of the road and all the cars in front of us were stopped. Luckily, instead of dying, I only had to eat dashboard. On second thought, maybe the back seat is better. Then they just use the mirror but at least their eyes are forward.
But I digress… (ha. I’ve been hanging out with some British folks around here. Can you tell?)
We get about halfway down the road, and he starts to cough and clear his throat. I tried not to listen because I knew what was coming next…
For those of you who don’t know, spitting and “ridding your body of phlegm” is something that happens very often here. Apparently, the Chinese believe that any kind of mucus that collects in your body is a bad thing. So it’s expected you’ll get it out. And spit it on the ground, wherever you are. “Watch out, they spit.” (Quick. Name that movie!) I’ve heard the “farmer’s blow” is also popular, (you can click that link if you aren’t familiar with the term. However, I wouldn’t advise it.) although thankfully I haven’t witnessed this one.
So anyway, this taxi driver proceeded to cough up the biggest phlegm wad I’ve ever heard. I mean, it had to come up from his stomach or something. I don’t think your throat goes that far down. It was obvious he’d had some practice at this.
At this point, I’m trying not to gag.
he started chewing on it. I swear to you. He was smacking on it like it was gum.
Now, I’m just debating on whether I need to roll MY window down so I have somewhere for my breakfast to go in case the contents of my stomach decided to join his. On the outside of my body. I gave up trying not to gag. There was no use. I was definitely gagging.
I wonder if he saw me. I’m very glad this driver wasn’t one who stares at white people.
I wish you could close your ears like you can your eyes, without something so obvious as sticking your fingers in them. I think he would have noticed that.
At some point, he rolled down his window and finally spit it out. I’m not sure when, I was too busy trying to think of something else… ANYTHING else.
On a happy note… I did make it back to my apartment with my breakfast still in my stomach. It was quite an accomplishment I thought.
And now you know why Chinese people don’t wear shoes in the house.
And see, I told you. Aren’t you glad I didn’t post a photo?