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China quirks

I think quirks is a funny word. It’s a word I like teaching!  But in this instance it’s not a funny word. It’s unusual things that I find slightly disturbing and things I won’t miss when I leave China.

1.  The spitting/horking that everyone does. If it was just spitting and just men doing it, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. But everyone horks and its probably the most disgusting sound a person can make.  And when I see fashionably dressed women walking toward me, then hork and spit ~  they suddenly don’t appear so fashionable anymore.

2.  The constant noise. Noise pollution here is almost as bad as the air pollution.  I feel like every store is competing with each other, not for customers but to see who can be the loudest.  Seriously, it’s so annoying that I try to avoid busy areas now.  I am lucky to live in an area where I can get everything and avoid some of the noise!  My area is loud too, just not as loud as other areas.

3.  Children using the streets/sidewalks/wherever as their personal bathroom. It’s disgusting and yet parents seem to be okay with it. And the babies with no diapers and parents letting them go wherever. I just don’t get it.

4.  The smog. How the population is as high as it is baffles me. How they survive without apparently having serious lung problems is beyond me. And smoking in the smog. Double whammy.  These people must have lungs made of steel. 

5. Let’s talk about the smoking. Coming from North America where it’s illegal to smoke anywhere is a blessing. These people smoke in restaurants, bars, shopping centres, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and school bathrooms. The adults are doing this. And they think it’s funny to see kids pretending to smoke.  Frightening.

6.  The squat “toilets”.  Thank goodness almost everywhere I go has either one regular toilet or a handicap toilet.  Oh and having to carry tissue with you everywhere. Because it’s not provided. Add that to my list of things I’ve learned to never forget!

7. Washroom facilities at my school.  I am lucky there is a regular toilet on every floor at school. But there is no hot water. No soap. No paper towels or air dryer. And on the one floor, the regular bathroom does not have running water in the sink. Seriously, isn’t it time to upgrade?

8. One of the most disturbing things is street meat. There is a street vendor that I pass on my way to the shopping center.  I know what he is cooking because they are right there in a cage for all to see. I refuse to eat pigeon. So gross.

Am I going to miss anything about China when I leave? Yes of course ~ there are so many things I will miss but the above things I will not miss at all!!


More tips on China

To continue with my personal tips on being in northeast China,
6.  Shopping centres ~ they have specialized shopping centres everywhere! Furniture centres, clothing, shoes ~ it’s fascinating. And there is even one for tea!!! There are lots of general ones that have everything but sometimes its fun to go to the specialized ones!
7.  Squatting ~ okay this is one that surprised me. I had no idea about the squatting “toilets”. I cannot get used to that. But whats been more eye opening are the parents letting their children go to the bathroom anywhere. Parking lots, on the grass…anywhere. They squat and they go. Be prepared.
8. Bathroom etiquette ~ more on this. Carry tissue, and hand sanitizer. There is rarely toilet paper. Never hot water. Rarely soap. And rarely paper towels to dry your hands. It is very disconcerting. So again be prepared! Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut are exceptions to this.
9. Restaurants ~ when you go to a restaurant here, they bring you a menu and stand there until you order. It does no good to ask for a few minutes. They wait. Its stressful!! On the plus side, the bigger restaurants will usually have English menus. So if you know what you want when you go in, it is a good thing.
10.  Public transportation ~ most buses I have been on are crowded, loud and people are pushy. More pushy than I ever experienced in Canada. It does not matter if you are “first” in line. They will push you out of the way. I have learned to push back. They don’t care if you do ~ it is just the way they all are! They expect it I think!
Stay tuned for more tips and observations!!