Friday, April 9, 2010

A few observations...

Hello all! Things here are great, can't believe I have been here for 9 days already! After a few days of observing all of the groups, I have now increased my training group to 9 swimmers. Recently added to the "stable"- 2- 4:18 500 Free guys, a 1:58 IM girl, a 47 100 Fly guy, and a 19.7 50 Free boy (just turned 17). This should balance out the group, and provide some great training opportunities, I can't wait!

We leave on the 18th for a big competition in a city called Shaoxin, in the Zhejiang Province (similar to our states back home). I have NO clue where it is in China, just know that it's a 5 hour bus ride. The competition doesn't actually begin till the 21st, and last 6 days. Championship meets here run VERY long, and include the 50's of everything (which is probably why 6 days for the meet). But it will be my first chance to see these guys race, which will be great to see!

So I have started a list of things that I notice are different / unique / strange in comparison to our culture. I will update this list as I note new things!

My Observations:

1) Daylight Savings time doesn't exist here. Today the sun was up at 5:15am, and it sets at 6:30. and JUST when I was all excited about longer days!
2) The Chinese wear shirts that have American words, but the words don't make ANY sense (example- One of my swimmers wears a shirt that has a picture of Charlie Brown on the front, but says "Have Face Charlie Brown". She has no idea who Charlie Brown is...
3) The Chinese youth are easily the most disciplined and respectful group I have ever seen. They are not late, do not talk back, do not whine, and do every single thing they are asked. Hmm, how WILL I get by?
4) I am finding that I am starting to use "broken English" when I speak (which is what I use to make sure my interpreter understands). Funny but scary as it sounds, I find myself thinking thoughts in that same English (thus why I need to speak to people back home a LOT, lol!)
5) As I mentioned earlier that everyone stares at me a lot, I passed the first dog I have seen on campus today, and he stared at me as well the entire time I walked by. Not wagging his tail, not excited, just STARED...
6) Everyone here in China has a washing machine, but dryers cost 2-3 time more, and are considered a "luxury", which means 99% of the population uses clotheslines.
7) Me saying "ok, we will start the set in 2 minutes" takes 5 minutes to translate in Chinese.
8) Things here are UNBELIEVABLY cheap! You know the 20 ounce sodas you see in the stores or in machines that cost anywhere from $1.25-$1.50? They are 25 CENTS here! I bought a TON of groceries the other day for only $20. I like this :)
9) I have now learned how to eat soup with chopsticks. I will make a video of that soon.
10) Traffic here is bad, but not nearly as bad as Cairo (see my other blog for video of that), which has the WORST traffic on the planet. People here drive in whatever lane they can make, and I still don't get the horn blowing for no reason...
11) Napkins in China = Tissue in the States (a box of Kleenex is on every table).
12) The Chinese just can't pronounce the letter "L" as I can't pronounce maybe 20 of their words.

Looking forward to heading out to the city Saturday night and checking out the nightlife! More to come!

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