Adventurer, Writer, Couch Potato.
If you are from a western country and have travelled to China, you would have almost certainly run into these situations before. For those who haven’t had the chance to visit the the People’s Republic of China then you will be ready for these once you arrive.
The Chinese public transport system, although efficient, is somewhat of a challenge to master. Upon arriving, you stand in what appears to be a line, so you politely wait like the others, until… as soon as the train arrives you find people appearing out of no where like ninjas, all pushing in your way, cramming inside the train. You think to yourself…
“They won’t leave until everyone’s on safely will they?”
The beeping sound of the doors begin, you have two options.
Option one, wait for the next train and stand at the front this time or option two, hulk smash your way in.
If you’re a cool calm and collected person you will feel rude for pushing yourself in, but don’t worry, the locals are used to the hustle and bustle, its every man, woman and child for themselves on the Chinese subway.
As soon as you are seated on your flight to China you will start to hear it. Maybe it’s in the back row, maybe it’s someone still boarding, but once you hear it, you will never stop hearing it.
As much as I love China and their people, the one thing that boggles my mind is how spitting (and I’m talking about full throat gargling phlegm spitting) became a social normality. Was it always there? Did we do it in western society long ago? All I know is if I was walking the streets in Melbourne and hocked a loogey onto the side-walk abuse would be hurled; I probably would get fined if a police officer were present.
In China though, spit wherever, spit often, and spit freely! I once had a lady turn to me on the train mid spit and sneeze all over my face, she then smiled and started eating some type of boiled meat, I hope it wasn’t dog.
There’s a fashion in China, where toddlers wear these clothes with a split in the buttocks region which then allows them to squat wherever they may be and perform their ablutions. To which their parents wait for them to finish, walk away and leave said ablutions for someone to slip on due to being distracted by a pre pubescent smoking a cigar.
Wherever you are in China, you won’t be too far from a food market. Now don’t get me wrong there you will find some delicious treats to gorge yourself with. You will also notice some other Chinese delicacies that you will shake your head too. Items to look out for (or try if you can stomach) are scorpions and seahorse on a stick, they are generally still alive and wriggling upon purchase. Or maybe deep fried baby bird seems more to your liking. One item I saw that burned itself into my memory is the dog, laid out on the table like it was sleeping, only to then find it had been cut into pieces and arranged to look that way.
Note: please don’t eat dog in China.
Remember back in the day when everyone had a t-shirt with Japanese or Chinese characters on it, and they all translated to the word cheese or some non philosophical quote. Well, it seems that they made bizzaro t-shirts for the Chinese. None I have witnessed made much sense. “I yum tum time” or “peace on timber” are the most memorable ones I’ve seen.
One thing that scares me is seeing some of the construction sites, as the country is booming with development there is a lot of work being done that would shut a site down back home for being unsafe.