China has a very interesting culture and history. Just like anywhere in the world – there’s some things you absolutely love and some things you could really do without. So here’s what you can expect when heading to China!
1. Love – History
Ancient cities are all throughout China! There are so many incredible buildings and monuments, many dating all the way back to 600AD, like the Tianning Tower. Today, it is still standing and functioning, and has been for over 1400 years. Just imagine if those walls could talk!
Hate – Strangers Taking Your Picture
I’m not sure if it’s just because I was with blondes but people were constantly staring and asking for photos. People would randomly just walk up with a huge smile on their face, take our photo and then show us, all while speaking Chinese. So I’m still not sure if it was a compliment or what was going on. I always wonder what they did with those photos later.
2. Love – Architecture
One of the greatest man-made wonders of the world, The Great Wall, spans across China for 13,170 miles. Stepping foot on the wall is quite a magical experience! Don’t forget about the Forbidden City or the Terracotta Army! So much amazing architecture to see and experience.
Hate – Traffic
There are pedestrians, cars, bikes, tuk-tuks, unidentifiable vehicles, mopeds, buses, push carts – you get the picture! And they’re alllllll trying to drive in the same space, at the same time. It’s complete chaos. In certain areas there are bike lanes for the mopeds and bicycles, but people are walking there as well. Walking on the sidewalk is a constant game of watching your back and jumping out of the way just in time.
3. Love – Food
Real Chinese food is nothing like your local buffet! Unless, of course, you love your local Chinese Buffet, then imagine 20 times better. There’s some really unique dishes to try – like bugs on a stick!
Hate – Smog/ Air Pollution
It’s heavy and it’s thick like fog. Some days it’s worse than others. At times you can’t see more than half a block in front of you. People typically wear face masks to combat the pollution problem. But I’m not talking about an old Doctors face mask, they have blinged-out, fancy fashionable face masks. I guess, if you gotta wear it, you might as well flaunt it!
4. Love – Safety
There were always police out patrolling the streets and security guards stationed on street corners. Everyone on the street seemed busy and on a mission.
People were out doing Tai Chi in the parks, as opposed to some of the other illegal/inappropriate things they could be doing. It speaks volumes about the Chinese culture.
Hate – Bathrooms
If you haven’t heard of squat toilets – you’re in for a beautiful lesson on what I like to call “squatty potties”!
Basically, you drop your drawers, squat down and aim for the pot. The catch is that not all bathrooms have doors or stalls. Some have a simple waist high partition between you and the person squatting next to you.
So, at any given time, you might just walk in and see grandma going #2. I certainly did, but that’s how I learned I had actually been using the squatty potty wrong the entire time. Thanks Grandma!
5. Love – Cost
Taxis were really cheap! It was easier for us to just pay a couple dollars for a taxi, than the hassle of finding the subway and figuring it all out. The money saved by taking the subway was like a dollar. The hostel was as nice as a hotel for a fraction of the price, at less than $20 a night for a private room. I was impressed!
Hate – Spitting
Imagine when you’re getting over a really bad head cold; all that mucus plugging your nose and throat starts breaking up… it has to come out somewhere. So you suck in your nose really hard, feel the ball in your throat and make that nasty hack noise to loosen it all up, and then spit!
That entire process is pretty much normal to hear/see, anytime, anywhere in China. A man in a restaurant actually had a bucket between his legs. I was lucky enough to be facing him and I witnessed him hack and spit into the bucket, over 10 times. I could barely finish my hot pot!
Leave me a comment if there’s anything you think I missed! Or if you really liked my post!
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