I know, I can’t believe this blog post title either.
But really, you give this story “How I Became A Minor Celebrity In China (After My Stolen Phone Ended Up There)” to anyone familiar with China and ask them how surprised they are that the chain of events happened the way they did.
Of course this story went viral, of course there was a positive human flesh search engine twist that resulted in 60 million Chinese netizens reading about this on social media, and of course there were adorably funny Shiba Inu emoticons.
This story is so typical China, I love it!
Aw China, I do miss you.
*Sidenote – nice unintended consequence for Facebook and Twitter with all the Chinese netizens braving the great firewall (both sites are blocked in China) to sign up for the services, eh?
Zhecheng county, Henan province, China, April 2013
In China, delicious street food is ubiquitous. Just look for slapdash food carts, makeshift roadside grills or dingy storefronts with battered wooden tables scattered on sidewalks.
I like to talk with vendors while checking out their food. They’re usually super friendly and up for a chat. These guys in the photo – a family serving the regional speciality of sheep noodle stew – were no exception, especially since I was with several foreigners in a town that rarely ever sees one.
As I was the only Chinese face and hailed them with a hearty ni hao, they directed my way all the usual questions locals ask foreigners:
Where are you guys from?
Are you guys here to film a movie*?
Are you the group’s translator or guide?
How could you be American??? (aka you have Chinese face, not white face)
And then, the main question I was waiting for: The Comparison Question.
The father asked, “Is China or America better?”
(literally translated, is China good or America good?)
While waiting for my luggage at San Francisco airport, I chatted with an Indian-American woman who had just returned from a trip to India.
She asked: “What did the immigration officer ask you just now?”
Me: “What the purpose of my trip back to China was. Why, what did they ask you?”
Her, with a slight smile: “Whether I had brought any sweets.”
Indian-American woman standing next to her interjects: “Oh yeah, me too.”
Me: “Really? Does this happen often?”
Both of them nod vigorously: “Every time.”
So now you know. Apparently Indian-Americans are known to love carrying sweets back from their motherland. Can’t say I blame them, yum.
Interesting related tidbit from a friend of mine who’d done some contract work with TSA – the guy said he looks out for cookware when Mexican-Americans come back from Mexico. Why I have no idea, but perhaps specialized cookware to make authentic food?
Either way, I love how both Indians and Mexicans are known to bring back goods in the food category. I can absolutely understand that, having ferried handmade woks (I know, how more stereotypical can you get? Hah!) and countless bags of tea, speciality Hong Kong snacks and so forth.
I could go on and on and wax lyrical on how fundamental food is to culture and identity, but I’ll spare you. Basically, this is an empathic nod to others like us.
You know you’re a die-hard people watcher when after years of consistent flying, you still find the pre take-off airplane belly view fascinating!