[Edited for Privacy. E-mail me if you have any questions.]
Today, on my way to a friend's house in New Jersey, while approaching Canal Street, I remembered that I would be driving through China Town, where there would certainly be Chinese people to talk with and to bargain with. I was feeling sad and nostalgic that I was no longer in China, and that my busy life had taken me over again. There was no rest; I was again on a tight schedule. I stopped the car, I found a parking spot, I parked and paid the meter, and I walked towards the main market. It was refreshing being back among the Chinese; however, it didn't feel the same.
Although I spoke in Chinese to each vendor I passed, they weren't interested in hearing me or to do business with me. Nobody would bargain, and nobody would negotiate. They were actually horrified and insulted by the thought that I was negotiating with them for something with a price tag on it, while in China, they would have gotten out their calculator and engaged me in bidding warfare, trying to get every dollar they could out of me. In the end in China, everything I showed an interest in, I ended up purchasing because the vendors were so interested in selling the products to me at any cost. I was so disappointed that here they didn't even try.
This afternoon, I decided to go to the kosher Chinese food store in Fair Lawn, New Jersey to get take-out lunch. I wanted to someone to talk to in Chinese. The guy that was helping me order was very gracious that I was talking to him in his language. I didn't feel though like I was in China anymore.