The travel is perfect, except the food. I am sorry but I still cannot enjoy the food in America. I tried different types of foods according to the recommendation from local listing, but I cannot find a good one for me. After eating American food for two days, I am feeling like I eat the food on the airplane everyday. You may imagine the feeling – hungry but don’t want to eat, eat but still feel hungry. I tried to stay at American restaurant at the beginning. Since I am here, I should do things like locals do. Food should be an important part of a journey, isn’t it.
I finally gave up and started to eat my favorite Chinese food at Chinatowns. In Washington D.C. we went to the Chinatown Express for three times. In Boston, we went to the Yan Jing Restaurant at the Harvard Square (just on the other side of the Harvard Widener Library). The second time, we took the red line directly from our hotel to that restaurant to have lunch before we start our tour that day.
I have visited the Chinatown in Washington D.C., in Boston, Chicago and New York. What amazed me most is that I saw so many people there who cannot speak or read English. Chinatown seems to be their jails that they can never step out. There are Chinese newspapers, Chinese signs and small businesses serving the local Chinese community. I saw many famous business names were translated into Chinese which I even didn’t see in China.
Meanwhile, I feel sad when I visit some local residents in the Chinatowns. The area in the big city seems to be a replica of old China’s streets – small shops, simple and cheap restaurants. The shops are good at lower the price for their service/good by decreasing the cost. Often, they decrease it at the cost of quality. It is for sure that any people who think China Town is a window for the current China will be misled. Of cause, for big countries like America and China, it is always risky to conclude situation in one sentence. I heard the conversation in Chinatown that went like this:
A: “It is cold, isn’t it?”
B: “Yes. In China, they still wear t-shirts”
The second person must forget China’s territery is large enough to cover the hot and the cold. It is the same to conclude on the economic or culture side.
I had very high expectation on the Chinatown buses, but I was disappointed this time. Taking the Chinatown buses running between Boston and New York as an example, they are cheap (15 USD per trip) because they don’t accept credit card; there are no waiting room for passengers; they don’t run advertisement; they don’t have automatic ticket vendering machine (so don’t need to hire anyone to design the system); there is no customer service; they stops at cities in the middle without telling the customer about it; they don’t need to print flyers; and don’t need to rent a terminal at the Port Authority Bus Terminal – they use streets. I am not comfortable to see the Chinese bus owners do business like there. Finally, I was disappointed with the Chinese bus although I took the motivation to try it and help to promopt it after that.