Friday, July 15, 2005

The Lessons of Travel

It's amazing how much travel can teach you, a week or two in another country can bring more knowledge, experience, and true understanding of how another culture lives than a semester of classes. This has become evident to me in the weeks following my trip to China as I walk through China Town here in San Francisco. I see this district and the people who inhabit it in a whole new light. Before my trip, I was very familiar with the specific stores, knowing where to get what, dealing with the lack of personal space and the Chinese ladies butting in line, all to get the Chinese goods. Today, as I walk down Stockton Street, I look past the dead barbecued birds hanging in the windows and notice all the small dim sum restaurants and noodle places. I sometimes crave broth and noodles in the morning because I now know this is breakfast food and rice is for dinner unless it's boiled for an eternity until it breaks up and becomes congee. I don't mind the pushing in line, and even find myself joining in. After all when you live in such a congested area, you're going to have to push a little to get anywhere. I don't think that dried fish and scallops are wierd anymore and I realize it's normal to slurp your food and spit on the ground. Ah, the wonders of China.

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