Yesterday I flew the last leg of the journey from Shenzhen to Changsha. Almost immediately after crossing over from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, I noticed differences in the culture. Most of the people waiting at gate number 30 with me were simply sitting there... no multi-tasking going on; no one was reading or knitting or playing games, just a lot of sitting and some light text messaging.
I also noticed that there was some "double pretty" going on. (Double pretty deserves a blog entry in itself) but basically "double pretty" is a word coined by foreigners to mean an outfit that has several pretty and cutesy components happening at the same time but not really complimenting each other. For example, I noticed that one Chinese woman sitting across from me was wearing a navy dress with some large paisley print on it. she was also wearing very loud and large light pink earrings that had little balls on the end. Finally, she was wearing brown slip on dress shoes that had cream colored fur on the toe. The outfit as a whole was simply too "pretty" shall we say. One of those elements (the paisley dress, the big pink earrings, the fur-tuffed slippers) happening at a time would be enough, but all together the look exemplified "double pretty."
And finally, people were starting to stare a little more at the foreigner. After being away for such a long time though, I didn't even mind. In fact, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, "I'm back."