Many of the Chinese men wear leather bags on their shoulder - like a purse only very masculine. It seems to be a fashionable thing. Also, I have seen men who are casually dressed in t-shirts pull the hem of their t-shirts up to their underarms in the heat and go around with their stomachs showing. Not the most attractive thing!
Squat toilets have gone auto flush!! Yes, it's true. In the "International" hotels there are Western toilets, but squat toilets have not yet disappeared. They are still at the Great Wall, Tianneman Square, the cloisonne factory, restaurants, and other places, only now there is a red laser "eye" for motion detecting that auto flushes! I have heard other adoptive parents refer to them as "squatty potties" and they are not very popular among us Westerners, as you can imagine!
Weight has descended upon the Chinese people! Yes, it's true. As they have become more affluent, they have been cursed with America's plague. Not that the majority of them have a weight issue, but I have seen far more overweight people on this trip. Of course,, they are still smaller people than us. As Aleah said, she doesn't feel short among the Chinese.
Money is more difficult to exchange. Not only are the hotels less likely to want to exchange our U.S. dollars, but yesterday I went to a bank that declined to exchange many of my bills because "they're not new." They don't want a bill that has any wear on it, or even a small tear. What does that say about the value of the U.S. dollar?
The Chinese trucks I saw lined up on the road are nothing like our trucks back home. They sort of resemble old (think 1940s) farm trucks but with a longer bed. Many of them seem to be blue. They are very unusual looking to the Westerner's eye and I always enjoy seeing them.
There were more cars in Beijing and fewer bicycles. Fewer people pedaling and more people using motor power to get around (might have something to do with the weight thing)?
The beds in our Beijing hotel were wonderful! Of course, we had just spent over thirteen hours on a nonstop airplane and that might have something to do with it, but I think I would have noticed if they had been the hard beds I remember from last trip. Also, the beds in our Chengdu hotel are decent. They brought Ava in a rollaway that doesn't look as comfortable, but it appears far from sleeping on those rock hard beds I remember. I was always convinced those beds were part of China's population control program!!