Users of this forum might be interested to know what visiting China is like. Other than the surprising, futuristic skyscrapers that stand out, China is still a dirty, backwards, poor third world country where most everything Western countries have like cleanliness, quality, ethics, freedom, comfort, wealth, or politeness is not easily available. Most first time China visitors think they have stepped into the future when they arrive until some retard wearing a dirty suit and slippers squatting next to a tricycle shouts "Hello!" and giggles. Vistors are quickly jerked back to reality that they are not in Kansas anymore when they raelize that they have instead fallen into a time warp back to 1900. Foreigners can live here for years and never adjust. If you are traveling to China, here are some observations and weird facts to be aware of to lessen the cultural shock:
1. China is dirty. People eat from the same dish using the chopsticks they are eating with. Littering and spitting is common. The air quality is very poor due to non-existent or unenforced pollution laws. Kids often don't have diapers and parents whistle to encourage them to pee on the street or on the floor of stores. People here often don't wear or use dental floss, mouthwash, deodorant, perfume, cologne, makeup, nail polish, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick, hairspray, earrings, jewelry, rings, bracelets, or necklaces. Some people go six months without taking a bath in the winter because they have no hot water. Most women don't shave their underarms and some use cloth instead of tampons. Many men don't shave and grow long pinky fingernails to clean their ears. Toilet paper is used for napkins and toilets don't have toilet paper or soap. Toilets are often squat toilets. Vomiting in public is commonplace. People cover their noses instead of cleaning up the environment.
2. Just about everything in life is or was once banned here within the last 50 years including education, books, democracy, capitalism, personal property, free speech, protests, religion, superstitions, free movement, pets, puppets, movies, long hair, baseball, rock music, psychologists, Disney, art, pre-marital *censored*, flunkyism, splittism, flowers,
sending newspapers abroad, UFO associations, gambling, world record attempts, smoking, cooking at home, cosmetics, prostitution, footbinding, opium, guns, story-telling, opera, theatre, concerts, acupuncture, Confucisism, feng shui, dresses, rickshaws, golf, jewelry, and majong. In just 10 short years, 5000 years of Chinese history, relics, temples, paintings, buildings, palaces, books, and art were destroyed. Now China is only left with poor rebuilt copies of the past and basic, ugly tile buildings. Life in China was grey, drab, and dreary. Today, Hong Kong and Taiwan are more Chinese in some ways than mainland China.
3. Some things that were good in China are bad now and what was once bad is now good. Warning of a possible overpopulation problem, for example, lead to prison for one person and warning of SARS lead to prison for another man. Both were found to be correct and policies were reversed.
4. Mental health treatment is not encouraged or popular here. There are very few psychiatrists or Western drugs available for the mentally ill. This may be one reason China leads the world in suicides. Alcoholics Anonymous is also nearly unknown here.
5. China has a strict one child policy where women are forced to have abortions and be sterilized if the have more than one child. Since there is very public welfare and sons traditionally care for the parents, daughters are aborted or abandoned in favor of sons. China is predicted to have 60 million more men than women by 2014. Sadly, *censored* education and birth contol pills are very uncommon here. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5953508
6. Chinese people eat almost every kind of food including snakes, worms, eels, dogs, cats, and all parts of animals like chicken feet, duck lungs, and fish heads. Even human meat has been consumed here. Ironically, however, most Chinese dislike cheese. Restaurants often have live birds or fish outside for customers to choose from. Seeing wildlife like birds, squirrels, and pigeons is rare because everything gets eaten in China. Most Chinese people hate uncooked food like sushi or salads and don't know how to eat with a fork and knife. Meat is cut into small pieces before cooking and the bones are usually included in the dish. Diners spit the bones onto the table while eating.
7. Rudeness in China is well-known. Cutting in line, staring, not holding doors, not saying "thank you", "sorry", or "excuse me", or shouting "Hello!" or "Laowai!" to foreigners is common.
8. Many Chinese guys look like girly-man nerds because they are super thin, short, out of shape, don't comb their hair, carry purses, and hold hands with other guys. There are few joggers or weightlifters in China. Ping Pong is one of the most popular sports here.
9. The huge population of China and poor business practices means stores are overstaffed to keep the population employed. Most stores have an employee stationed on every aisle to watch customers shop.
10. Corruption is common due to a lack of ethics in China. Chinese people are generally much more individualistic than countries like Japan.
11. Ironically in a country founded for the workers, labor protests are banned.
12. Some Chinese people are so brainwashed that they are grateful to the government for restoring their rights to start a business.
13. Owning a car is rare here. Only 1 out of 100 Chinese people own a car compared to 75 out of 100 Americans who own a car.
14. Windows are often opened in the winter or don't have screens or glass.
15. The annual per capita income of China is US$5600 compared to US$40,000 for the USA.
16. Only 5% of Chinese have a college degree compared to 25% of Americans.
17. 500 million Chinese have never brushed their teeth.
18. Counterfeiting is rampant in China due to low creativity. How many Japanese, German, or American brands are there? How many Chinese brands can you think of? Items like sawdust are too often
used in goods like fake milk powder or fertilizer. Even cars are copied.
19. Elevators are rare in China since buildings less that nine stories tall are not required to have them.
20. Chinese made products in China have very low quality. Expect products like umbrellas, nail clippers, belts, shoes, coats, shirts, pens, lighters, furniture, watches, surge protectors, washing machines, speakers, clocks, batteries, pants, necklaces to not fit or to to fall apart in less than six months. Stores do not have return policies.
21. Physical fights are more common here.
22. Furniture is very uncomfortable. Beds, stools, and sofas are often little more than wooden planks with
23. Buses are often overcrowded here.
24. Male smokers are very common. Smoking is considered healthy. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... ernational
25. Public welfare is very scanty. Private domestic and international charities are very rare in China. Many crippled beggars and old people beg on the street, as a result. Seeing handicapped people in wheelchairs or scooters is uncommon.
26. Chinese people seem to be able to sleep everywhere and anytime including during the day at work.
27. Small store owners in China often bring their children to work with them.
28. Free speech is not encouraged in China. Many websites are censored.
29. Prostitution is illegal, but commonplace. Brothels and streetwalkers operate openly in many places.
30. Around 30 million people in China were killed or starved to death during the Cultural Revolution.
31. Traffic is dangerous in China. More people die in China on the roads than anywhere else in the world even though there are a lot less cars here than in the USA. Running red lights and driving on the wrong side of the road or the sidewalk is commonplace.
32. Many Chinese live in company dorms and have no hobbies. Crowds of people watching TV outside of some stores at night is a common sight.
33. China leads the world in executions.
34. Torture is sometimes used to obtain confessions.
35. Many people have mobile phones.
36. Many Chinese like to squat instead of sitting to rest.
37. There are few lawyers and lawsuits in China.
38. Common products like the following are very difficult to find in China:
Parsley/oregeno/paprika/dry mustard/cumin/basil/thyme/dill weed/celery salt/rosemary/peppercorns/cinnamon/garlic salt/tarragon/onion powder/cilantro seasonings
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Shrimp cocktail sauce
Easter egg dye
Ice cream cones
Canned pineapple/prune juice
Hot dog buns
Au gratin potatoes
Birth control pills
Campbell's chicken noodle soup
Macaroni and cheese
Lettuce, butter, cereal, raisins, fresh milk, and cheese are very difficult to find here. Many of the above items may be available in Asia, but the brand may be not be very good or the price will be very high.
Maybe some of these items are seasonal or can be bought in large cities like HK, but it's still amazing how such common and simple products are so difficult (impossible?) to find here. Many Chinese just don't realize how deprived they are. People looking for dried fish, cooking oil, noodles, rice, or 50 kinds of tea, will find China to be heaven. Other people may find Zhongguo to be a bit boring after a while. Eating rice, noodles, and dumplings everyday gets old quick. Overseas Chinese are lucky that they can go to the local Chinatown if they get a little homesick when they are abroad. Too bad foreigners can't have the best of China and the best of their home countries, too. At least saving money is easy since most things are cheap and there's not many good things to buy.
Although foreigners in China probably won't miss these items if they are just coming here for a little two week holiday, those who plan to stay longer should consider having someone send them care packages or packing an extra large suitcase.
The few imported goods already in China are just a drop in a bucket. Pepsi, Coke, KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonald's are fine, but it would be nice to have Thai, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, German, Greek, and Indian food, Italian Garden, Wendy's, and Taco Time, too. China has been cut off from the rest of the world for years and they don't know what they've been missing.
39. Fashion sense is a often muddled here. People often wear dark socks with shorts or white socks with suits or two-piece suits to do construction work or pajamas to go shopping. Many people only have one or two sets of clothes to wear everyday. Men usually wear dress pants and rarely wear jeans. Men often roll up their pant legs and shirts if it is hot outside.
40. English is rarely spoken or spoken poorly here. There are almost no English books or magazines here.
41. There are few foreigners in China.
42. Hot water and heaters are hard to find.
43. Electricity, water, and Internet services may often have outages.
44. Ice and tap water are usually unsafe.
45. Western medicine is very difficult to find.
46. China seems advanced in some ways and behind in others. For example, China still uses oxen to plow, yet has DVD players and telephone cards. China has bullet trains, but the stewardesses and nurses wear uniforms from the 1960's. John Denver, The Carpenters, Micheal Bolton, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston are very popular here.
47. Visitors should also be aware that China has many pickpockets. Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and many other cities have gangs that wait on busy corners and target unaware people with bags. Be careful!
48. China is very noisy due to population density.
49. Many grown men ride tricycles in China. Bulky goods like queen-sized beds, refrigerators, and televisions are often transported on bicycles. Very few people have a driver's license and U-haul and Ryder don't exist here. Occasionally it's possible to see five or six people on one motorcycle.
50. Car jackings, illegal drugs, food handling inspections, and background checks are NOT common in China.
51. There is no drinking age enforced in China.
52. Hotels usually don't have keys. Guests must ask workers to let them into their rooms.
53. Odd crimes such as kidnapping groups of women to be sold as wives or crippling children to be used for begging happen here regularly.
54. Many Chinese cannot swim. Women wear conservative swimming suits from the 1950's and men prefer to wear speedos.
55. Playing badminton outside in parking lots with no nets is popular here.
56. Most delivery trucks are blue for some reason.
57. Chinese people do not have many good places to invest their money since land ownership is prohibited, many banks pay very low interest rates and are unstable due to bad loans based on government connections instead of risk and reward calculations, and investing in the stock market is risky due to poor accounting practices.
58. Some doors are too short for many foreigners.
59. China is very poor. Some people don't have enough to eat and rarely eat meat or fruit, never had toys, cameras, lawnmowers, or bikes. Many homes have a dirt floor and no running water or electricity. Homes in China that have carpet are practically unknown. Many people had to share a single public bathroom.
60. Chinese people needed permission to travel and obtaining passports was once difficcult. Chinese people often go sightseeing in groups with their companies or schools. Foreigners could not visit China easily and still need to stay in foreigner approved hotels due to government mandated discrimination.
61. Until very recently, Chinese people needed permission from their employer to get married.
62. The government once assigned work to everyone and Chinese people were not allowed to choose their jobs.
63. Chinese people prefer hot drinks to cold drinks and drink much more tea than coffee. Drinking anything other than alcohol or tea at meals is not very common.
64. Chinese people are generally very reserved and do not hug and kiss family members or strangers much.
65. Tipping is not expected in China.
66. There are almost no big box chain stores like Target, OfficeMax, BestBuy, PetsMart, ToysRUs, PepBoys, or HomeDepot in China. Parking lots in China are small and always have a parking lot attendent. Drive-thru windows or drive-ins are almost unknown.
67. Construction workers live in the building they are building or on-site in temporary dorms. Construction sites are surrounding by temporary brick walls instead of wooden or chain link fences. Scaffolds are made of bamboo and covered with green netting. Construction workers sometimes wear flip-flops instead of steel-toed safety boots and don't often wear hard hats.
68. Chinese people are very patriotic.
69. China is mostly a cash-based society. Checks are not used very often and the personal lending industry is very undeveloped.
70. Auto parts stores, laundromats, fire trucks,sirens, funeral homes, car rental agencies, vacuum cleaners, greeting cards, car stereos, ovens, and pawn shops are also very rare here.
71. Political correctness and religious sensitivity and knowledge is not common in China. Racist ignorance also exists. Sexual harrassment is also accepted.
72. Soap operas set in ancient China are constantly on TV.
73. Workers in most restaurants don't wear hats. Cooks sometimes smoke while cooking.
74. Barbers in China do not seem to soak their combs and scissors in disinfectant.
75. Bathrooms do not have baths or shower curtains. Water from showers falls on the floor.
76. Many businesses, including banks, are open everyday.
77. Wiring or taking a lot money out of China is difficult. Converting RMB to other currencies is also usually difficult.
78. China's curency is set by the government and not the free market.
79. People go to the hospital for even minor illnesses like colds. Appointments are not needed to see a doctor or dentist.
80. Many banks require customers to take a number instead of waiting in line.
81. Most people in cities live in apartment buildings, not houses.
82. Babysitters are not popular in China becuse grandparents usually take care of children.
83. Women use umbrellas on sunny days and skin whitening lotion because they hate dark skin and don't want to look like farmers.
84. Bras are small and usually padded here.
85. Most city streets have street sweepers.
86. Holidays like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and St. Patrick's Day are not celebrated here.
87. Wedding rings are not popular here and wives do not change their names.
88. Phone books are not free here and not many people use them.
89. Not many people get a lot of mail here.
90. There are few movie theatres.
91. Outdoor meat markets don't have refrigeration. China has very few buffets and they don't have sneeze guards.
The best things about China is the weather in Hainan, the thin girls, and the cheap prices, but as a result of Communist policies, the USA leads China in almost everything despite having only a fraction of China's population. China trails the US in railroads, roads, hotels, income, GDP, life expectancy, cars, religious freedom, human rights, free speech, Ph.D's, airplanes, democracy, mental health treatment, science, dentists, charities, healthcare, credit bureaus, insurance, credit cards, mutual funds, ski resorts, and comedy clubs. No wonder why so many Chinese want to emigrate to the USA. If you live in a free, developed country, thank your lucky stars. http://www.fuseki.net/home/comparison.html http://www.expats.org.uk/features-eggorbanana.html