Chi.na is a country that is changing faster than its people can keep up.
For a country that's only been "open" for 30 years, the rapid development (in the cities - not widespread) is crazy fast. (But you know this, just read the news).
In the 3 years I've lived in Hangzhou there have been a zillion noticeable "westernizing" changes. We now have 4 H&M stores, a Coldstone, an IMAX theater, and yogurt. There are import sections in the grocery stores (most with only random assortments of chocolate and alcohol, but hey - better than nothing). I feel like I am witnessing history - living here during a very exciting time for Chi.na. The economy is at rapid fire, but somehow society still lags behind in social norms. (more on this later).
Every time I leave and come back there are changes. Even being gone three weeks, I noticed differences upon my return. There is a new restaurant, "Lotus" where there was a massage place on the end of my street, yogurt went up in price .30, and the never-ending construction on my alley way has resulted in 3 new ditches along my walkpath.
But perhaps the most interesting change in the last 3 weeks is the new murals along the street on my walk to the grocery store.
The murals hint at what I find as Ch.ina's biggest irony - a rapid economic growth with backwards societal practices. People drive BMW's down the road while children are pooping on the sidewalks. (no lie).
But thanks to these public notices, maybe things will change...
Winnie the Pooh is teaching us to say, "hello."
and my personal favorite, this one roughly translates to, "Pay attention to public health." (*cough* 6 months on TB pills):
Yes, in a city of 10 million people and in one of the world's next "power" country's, they need to have signs teaching citizens basic manners.
I'll report in if these make a noticeable difference.
walk slow. xoxo.