We are at our destination finally. We are getting used to this new culture. It is always weird to go to a country where you can't speak the language. We are learning some words but the learning curve seems quite steep. In order to be here for longer, we would need to learn the language.
Our first experience with this culture was on our airplane ride from Singapore. We had a great time on our last day in Singapore. We had spent pretty much all our time in malls going to and from our conference. On the last day, the Ehrmans, a family from home took us to the orchid garden, to the famous merlion statue and out to eat. We also got to spend time in their luxurious apartment. It was an awesome blessing.
On the airplane, we witnessed an intense argument. We did not need to know Mandarin to understand what was going on. The crotchety old man was insistent that the window shade stay up during take-off. The young professional lady next to him wanted it down. The man made a big scene and started yelling at the lady who yelled back. This went on for a few minutes until the steward came over. He brought the woman to a new seat away from the intense old man. After this, the man proceeded to stare grinning out the window for the duration of the flight.
After this outburst, we knew this guy was one to watch. We encountered him again at the baggage claim. A lone brown bag was circling the carousel for about ten minutes. Apparently the grumpy, obnoxious old guy had an identical suitcase. He kept grabbing the bag and loudly exclaiming. Finally the officials came over and tried to placate the man. Finally his suitcase arrived and he was escorted out, probably as not to make another scene.
Most of the people here are not like this man, though they seem to speak a lot louder here than in other parts of Asia. Yesterday we got a tour of the city by the security guard in our building. He is not on our team but he has been reading our book. I think there were some cultural differences as he didn't speak much English. The 14 year old son of the people we are staying with was our translator. After telling me that I was fit, the guard starting asking me things along these lines: Why aren't you married? What do you look for in a guy? What do you think of long distance relationships? Do you want to go to a Chinese wedding? How do guys and girls show they like each other in the USA? Do you believe in love at first sight? This was all through a somewhat naïve 14 year old boy. So apparently I am hot stuff even overseas.
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