We visited a Buddhist temple yesterday. It was a beautiful place, and quite interesting, but I had mixed feelings visiting. Jaycie was not too sure what to think either. It gave us a good opportunity to talk about the issue of "little 'g'" gods, but I think she left still a little puzzled. I think it's hard to fathom that many people worshiping any other being than Jehovah. I was glad we didn't have the monks blessing the babies ceremony; we just walked around and observed.
After that, we went to a mall, with floors and floors of pearls and other beads. The number of stores with strands of necklaces and tons of jewelry showcases was overwhelming. I've suffered several times from sensory overload on this trip. It happened again when we went to find some lunch for us. We found a McDonald's nearby and encountered tons of people in a very crowded shopping mall area.
The huge numbers of people everywhere we've been highlight the severity of the population problem here. There are tons of high-rise apartments throughout the city, and the city stretches way into the countryside. The buses are typically packed, as are all the stores we've been to. Each store has more than enough people working there, too many by American standards. They have people doing every job you can imagine. There are people with brooms sweeping the street. There seems to be at least one salesperson for every customer at nearby shops. Here at the hotel, there are hosts/hostesses at every floor, just waiting for you to get on and off the elevator. They push the up/down buttons for you if you're leaving and indicate the hallway your room is on when you exit the elevator.
I'll have to say that we have encountered amazingly sweet, helpful people in all the stores and restaurants. It seems that they are appriciative of our being here and thankful for our business. Everyone is genuinely polite, although some of the salespeople's flattery seems a little thick. But who can blame them? They're trying hard to make a good living, which I really admire.