Monday, September 30, 2013

China recap: The Country in General

How best to summarize the differences that we noticed on our trip?

The spitting

The children wearing split pants and relieving themselves on the street

Motorcycles and bicycles carrying more people than I ever would have thought possible

Bone splinters in meat and all parts being included

The spicy food

The squat toilets

The confusion brought on by our own near-illiteracy

The crowds

The smog

Overall, we certainly loved China.  I'm so glad we went.  I think it's one of the most interesting places I've ever been with so many beautiful things to see.  But there were definitely aspects in which it was very, very, VERY different from home.  So I attempted to capture some of those differences in photos.  I especially laughed at some of the translations included below, but of course, any English at all was helpful to us. 
Here you go, some were things were considered worse than the US standard, but since we overall loved it, I tried to include a few of the positive differences too: 
The spitting.  It was everywhere.  On the street of course, but beyond that to places you wouldn't expect.  In the art museum.  In restaurants.  In the airplane on its way to Chicago.  And it wasn't just the "hacking up a lung" sound -- there was also the spitting onto the floor in all of those places. 

The smog:

The spectacular floral displays, frequently very patriotic:
Chinese patriotism on prominent display:
And of course everything about Obama stood out to us; we guessed a fair number of the Americans in China must be tea party people or something:
We saw Walmart in Xi'an and actually went into one in Chongqing:
 Just different:
The Chinese don't like the number 4, the word "four" in Chinese sounds similar to a word for death:
Different clothing than we'd see at home:
The children with @sses exposed for all the world:
The toilet habits (while public restrooms were prevalent, they weren't the best, frequently just several holes in the ground that reeked, occasionally with dividers between the holes):

Note number 6 above -- because people need to be told that.
Clusters of people in many public spaces playing games (oh, how I wish people did that here!):

The fairly uncommon dog pets (note, while some people eat dog in China, it isn't as common as some Americans seem to think, and it was generally made very clear when it was on a menu or in a restaurant, and it was uncommon at least where we traveled):
The song birds in cages:
Birds that looked new to me:
The public exercise areas -- being used!
The traffic -- to the point that this man just go out of the car and started urinating:
Trash on the street (this wasn't common, but we saw it our very first night in Beijing all over this street with many restaurants on it, no idea why):
The immense population -- skyscrapers and apartment buildings stretching on for infinity: 
And wall-to-wall people at times:
Crowded even on a little motorcycle (wish I'd gotten a better pic, we saw this all over, 3-4 people on a small motorcycle): 
The food displayed live in some cases, spread out on the street in others, and sometimes both:
The "challenging/interesting/confusing" English translations (of course I have to note that obviously, making any effort at all to include English was unnecessary by them and very kind, and of course my attempts at writing Chinese would produce much funnier results than these "bad" translations, and shoot, we don't even have signs in Chinese readily available for visitors, so really, I feel kind of bad sharing these, but still, they made us laugh and/or scratch our heads):


Weirdest of all?  The dentistry on display -- windows opening onto the street from dental offices.
There you have it, all kinds of things we found to be unusual in China! 


  1. Interesting! A lot of those "unusual" things remind me of Peru! Hope you are having a good time and your race went well :D

  2. Cool. I did an independent study on China's economy and no where in my books did they talk about spitting and pissing in the streets :) So interesting. The birds, the signs...its just not something you see advertised. And the dentist? Interesting.