A Few Odd Things About China
After a month of traveling through China, I’ve come to a very profound observation: China is weird. There is no denying that. It is a big, sprawling, dirty, heaping orderly mess of a country. So, I thought I’d share some weird things I have noticed during my time here
1. Of all the western products and ideas that have made their way to China, diapers are not one of them. Parents cut big gaping holes in their children’s pants so that their wee wee and butt hang out. They waddle around like that, and when they need to go, they simply squat in whatever public place of their choosing and drop one on the floor.
2. Chinese people smoke like chimneys. I have never seen anything like it. In restaurants, stores, trains, bathrooms, airports, all over the streets. A non-smoking sign is a mere hopeful suggestion. Chinese men smoke EVERYWHERE.
3. A beer will be served warm, unless requested otherwise. Chinese believe it’s not good for your system to drink anything cold- water, beer, juice. So, you must specifically request that your beer be served cold or you will get a nice warm one. Nothing like a warm beer on a hot day! Same goes for air conditioning. They don’t believe air conditioning is healthy for you. I cursed my luck each time I had Chinese dorm mates in one of the hot humid cities I visited. We always battled it out with th AC. Cold air = Bad. Smoking = Good.
4. Couples often wearing matching outfits when they go out together. I’ve even seen matching outfits for the entire family. Cute?
5. They LOVE Mao. Not all of them, but most of them seem to. His picture is absolutely everywhere, and people speak highly of him. I have to be honest with you- this one I find completely mind-boggling. I understand that Mao’s contribution to the Chinese economy and its growth has been positive in many ways, but I still find it so appalling that a man who killed somewhere around 20 million of his own people during his rule and made some of the most ridiculous decisions is still regarded so highly around most of China. Not judging, just observing.
6. They drive like absolute maniacs and nobody wears a helmet. This seems to be a theme through many parts of Asia I’ve visited. Families of four or five pack themselves on a motorbike, and often times the five year old child is tasked with steering the vehicle and the father is the only one in a helmet. Every man, woman, and child for him/her self.
7. The toilets. Oh God. I thought I had it bad in Bangkok. But here in China, I have seen the worst of the worst. I will spare you the dramatic imagery, but just think: hole in ground, no bathroom doors, shit on the floor, piss on the wall, no toilet paper, awful awful smells.
8. Sorry to add this directly after number 6, but there is no soap. Anywhere. Nobody washes their hands in China. Bring all the Purell Sanitizer your little heart desires, but I guarantee you the guy who is cooking your food is not doing the same.