Monday, April 18, 2016

N is for NOISE!

China is loud.  The trains are loud, people argue loudly in public. There are so many cars, so much traffic,  plus  all the people crowding into the subways, walking down the streets, in the stores, on the walkways – it does not only sound loud but it also FEELS loud!

Sonia and I were in a subway one day. Must have been rush hour, though every hour can feel like rush hour. We were all jammed up close together, and holding onto the pole, when a man started yelling at another man. Why? Of course, not speaking any Chinese dialects, I do not know, but it was obviously an intense disagreement. They argued for as long as we were on that train.

What surprised me about the scene was that most people were ignoring the commotion, and going on with their own conversations or silences. In New York, people would have tried to get away from the center of the conflict, some might have tried to reason with the two men, the scene might escalate into violence. 

Later, Sonia said that when she first saw scenes like that, she was surprised. In her native  Argentina, such a disagreement would have turned quickly into a fight. But here in China, the arguments are with words, and no one is shy about arguing loudly.

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