Westerners BEWARE! The following post may shock you!
Have you ever felt like you were misunderstood?
Maybe you felt like no one understood a word you were saying. Better yet, you had no idea what anyone was saying to you!
This is exactly how I felt in Hangzhou, China. West Lake in Hangzhou to be exact. My husband and I decided to take an adventure to “the most beautiful place on earth” as Marco Polo once wrote about West Lake, Hangzhou, China. This was definitely an adventure to remember! Not one person that we met while we were there spoke a word of English! It is still a mystery how we got there, and that is another story!
Hangzhou, is beautiful.
There is one breath-taking view after another. West Lake in Hangzhou is by far the most beautiful places I have ever seen, but when it came time to communicate with the locals, our adventure turned into a giant game of charades with no winner in sight! When we arrived at our hotel, the staff was pleasant, courteous and helped us to our room. Communication here came in the form of my husband showing the manager his passport and Visa which had his name written in Chinese.
Check-in a success!
Our taxi arrived thanks to a sketch of a taxi shown to the hotel staff which took us down towards the main part of West Lake. It was beautiful. We walked, took pictures, and enjoyed the outdoors. After hours of walking, we decided that we were going to eat at one of the local restaurants. We were so hungry after walking past several restaurants that we settled for one that seemed to look larger than the others and we hoped would have a menu we could read, or at least have pictures. No such luck! And for the English speaking staff, they were on vacation too. The waiter sat us at a table that was next to 4 large jars of snakes and snails! Hangzhou had proved to be a place for all sorts of surprises! After some charades that ended with my husband drawing a picture of a chicken, we ordered our meal. We had no idea what we ordered, seriously no idea. We only knew that we “thought” we ordered chicken. Imagine our surprise when our waitress brought us a bowl of soup! Chicken soup! Imagine my surprise when I scooped up the head. If you could have seen the look of horror on my face. The rest of the meal consisted mostly of laughter. There we were, in China, with the most exotic food in the world and we were looking at chicken head soup! Come to think about it, chicken head soup was probably the best option given the fact that the jar filled with a huge snake sat next to us!
Talk about perception! What we westerners think is unimaginable, the Chinese think nothing of. In China chicken soup is best with all it’s parts!
For me and my husband, we are sticking to our western ways…”If it has a face on it, we ain’t eatin’ it!”