One of the things I wasn't ready for when I moved overseas was the international hatred for Bush. This doesn't mean that people don't like the U.S. (or "America," as everyone refers to us), they just hold our President responsible for everything that's bad about the world today. This includes the Iraq war, the Chinese economy, declining morality, and everything in between - as if Bush single-handedly and intentionally lowered the value of the dollar and dreams about murdering Iraqi children in their beds.
Now, if I met someone for the first time and I didn't like their country's leader, I wouldn't feel like I had the right to insult them, but it's what people do! "What country are you from? America? Bush is such an evil man, I hope Obama wins." I'm not even kidding. I've had encounters like this in three different countries from Asians, Arabs, Australians, and Europeans.
The latest conversation was really amusing. Anna and I were at the famed Silk Street in Chaoyang District at the tailor shop. We walked past the saleswoman we had bartered with a few minutes before and she was with two new women arguing over the price of some silk. Somehow we struck up a conversation with the ladies, who were Yemeni.
They started talking about the Iraq war early on, especially their impressions that our government is fighting a war that all civilians and soldiers are against. Then one woman mentioned the sadness of the destruction in Sichuan Province, and how the rescue and clean-up was being done so poorly. She said, "Terrible, terrible. I wouldn't usually say this, but it's even worse than Bush."