July 6, 2012

Quirky Qualities of the Chinese

Dumpster diving in China is dangerous!
I read articles, blogs, and literature about China before visiting the country and I also went to school with many Chinese students during my semester at Corvinus in Budapest so I thought I had a significant grasp on their distinguishing actions. I have to be honest, when reading about the spitting and pushing in article after article I thought perhaps these writers are over exaggerating. I prepared myself for the frustrations and freak-outs but I was shocked at how accurate the recollections were.
I decided to give a little more detail into the way of the country so if you visit China you will be prepared. Don’t forget your face mask.

Another day in paradise (Beijing).
They could use a little help in this department. Hygiene doesn’t seem to be a concern at all and I think (hopefully you agree) in a country of 1.3 billion people, you need to make sure everyone is disposing of their bodily fluids in the most beneficial way.

Pretty clean toilet. The smell, not so much.
Bathrooms: A great way to sum up the bathrooms in China is “hell on earth.” If you don’t believe me you can take a looksey at an article about the latest law on bathroom regulations in Beijing: If there are more than 2 flies in one stall, someone is not doing their job. I won’t go into great detail about what you’ll see in the bathrooms, but be prepared for bodily fluids from all categories spread on the squats, floors, and walls, of a Chinese WC. Bring a fly swatter and a scarf to tie around your face because I think just breathing in a Chinese toilet could give you a disease.

Spitting: The Chinese believe it’s bad for you to swallow your phlegm so spitting and hawking loogies is a daily occurrence. Between 6:00 to 8:00am, it’s like a competition of who can make the most commotion when hawking a loogie due to the superfluous quantity of phlegm after waking up. When you walk, don’t look down because you will vomit in your mouth at the globs mucus dispersed along the path. A word to the wise: when you hear someone revving up, move out the way because you may receive a fresh glob presented in your path and you don’t want to deal with that.

Eating: In China, I sometimes ate with my iPod in my ears because of the disgusting sounds that engulfed me. Pretty much dinner table etiquette that westerners consider inappropriate is kosher in China. Slurping, smacking, spitting, and excessively loud clearing of the mucus in one’s throat are common sounds while consuming a meal. If any of these noises annoy you during mealtime, it’s not a bad idea to bring an iPod or sit in a corner of the restaurant.

Trash in a cemetery in the mountains. 
Trash Disposing: Unlike Thailand, there actually are trashcans throughout the cities. Even with that said there is a mass disregard for trashcans in this nation. Citizens throw litter on the ground with no qualms yet there are philosophical signs all over cities about saving the trees and flowers. With 20 million people in one city and everyone throwing a piece of trash on the ground, it adds up. Don’t do as the locals do and find a bin to rid your rubbish.

A pile of vials ALMOST in the trashcan in Xian, China.  

No space bus ride in Luoyang.

Personal space: Do not try to form a line or queue up anywhere. It’s every man for himself, you have to be aggressive, BEE-EEE AGGRESSIVE! This was very difficult for me at first but after getting pushed and shoved and cut in line after I’d been waiting I started getting right back in people’s faces. The old ladies are the worst by the way, they will run you over like a bulldozer.

Smoking: Everybody and their mom chain-smokes cigarettes in China. Folks are allowed to smoke inside any place desired including trains, shops, hospitals, buses, restaurants, and daycare centers. I don’t know how they can get out of bed in the morning with the mix of pollution in the air and smoke filled lungs! It’s really unfortunate on long train rides because you step off smelling like you just walked out of a pub.

Taxis and buses on a street in Luoyang. 
China is the scariest place to ride in a car or any type of moving vehicle.  Drivers honk constantly so it just blends in with the everyday city sounds and becomes less of a warning signal. People blast their horn when they are in drive just to simply say “I’m driving down the street, so watch out.” Red lights mean go, green lights mean go. Make sure to look both ways when crossing the street to avoid getting pancaked by two oncoming cars. 

These are just a few observations to help prepare you during your trip to China. In order to stay safe and healthy, be aware of your surroundings and don't forget to buy a trendy face mask and hand sanitizer along for the journey.
The one time people use a trashcan. When they want to "recycle" the pokers. 


  1. I love it Leash Dawg! Thanks for the cute article. It's always more fun to read about someone being frustrated than having to be the frustrated one.

  2. Thanks Cat, I don't mind being the frustrated one for Travel on My Face. I am just trying to help everyone out so they're prepared when they get to China!