We're in some place that I forget the name of on route to the sugar cone mountains. Apparently this is supposed to be the 'LA of Asia.' This basically means that it is hot, humid, overpopulated and all the streets are lined with Starbucks, KFC, and McDonalds. Very glamorous.
Fortuitously, we're merely passing through.. There's a sense of relief when you visit a place like that. You can observe from a distance, safe in the knowledge that you rapid escape is assured.
Reading the guide book on the train from Hong Kong, I was amused to read that when China first opened its borders to tourists many Westerners were shocked by the amount of public spitting that goes on. This I find faintly amusing, simply because you have to wonder what sort of traveller is offended by the sight of someone 'hawking up a loogie.' They'd have a touch time surviving in Varanassi, India where it wasn't uncommon to see someone with their pants around their ankles having a dump at the side of the street. It's hardly what I would call a major culture shock that's for certain.
Apparently street brawling here is also quite a regular occurence. Given the vast number of people and the limited resources it's not uncommon for a minor fracas to break out over a bus ticket or the accidental spilling of a drink. Sounds a bit like Ealing Broadway on a Friday night then.
I'm rather looking forward to seeing my first street brawl, as long as it's from a safe distance of course. I wonder if it will be proper fisticuffs or some sort of ancient Kung Fu? Given the Chinese cultural obsession with gambling I suspect you'll probably be able to bet on the outcome within a few minutes of it starting.