Up to this moment all of my posts have been about the positive experiences and the things that I have enjoyed during my time in China. The time has now come to share the things I dislike about China and the things that I just simply do not understand.
Pushing in the supermarket – I have seen students at school and the street dancers at night form the world straightest and the most orderly queues ever. These rows are formed with military precision and have equal amount of space between each person. Having said this, this concept cannot be taken outside of the exercise park. If the person behind you in the supermarket queue is not nibbling on your earlobe then they simply are just not close enough!
Noise – Absolutely everything in China makes noise. Public announcements, bus stops even rubbish bins make noise. Walking down a main street can be a nightmare at times as each shop will have some promotional offer of which beckons you into the store. The only trouble with this is that the shop next to that, across from it and nearly every shop on the street will also have an announcement or music playing trying to compete with its rivals. I will not even begin to discuss the man that walks around my neighbourhood every morning chanting at the top of his voice!
Spitting – Why? I can think of nothing worse that seeing someone hacking back on a bit of phlegm. Worse that that the women who work in my school, dress nicely are well spoken and all head to the toilets to violently spit. A delightful experience to hear from the next cubicle.
Air pollution – It really is a nightmare. I have an app on my phone which monitors the air and gives me a daily update. Living by the sea I am quite lucky that the air quality is usually pretty good but on the days that the levels have been high it’s been horrific. You wake up in the morning to what can only be described as sea fog only it stays like that for the entire day. During the prolonged periods of times where the air is poor you start to get a headache and generally feel lethargic. And I won’t even go into how it makes your skin feel.
Slurping and burping – I was brought up to have what I consider to be good table manners how this has all changed. Lunch times at the school feel like it’s the survival of the fittest. Chinese people seem to throw their food down their necks and then go straight back to work. Any sort of bones, skin or inedible food gets thrown not onto one side of their plate but just casually tossed onto the table and left. The noises that can be heard during meal times are incredible; they would never survive any sort of western dinning experience.
Peeing in the street – Anytime and any place! You are unable to sit out for dinner on an evening without someone unfastening their trousers and going to the toilet. This goes for men, woman and children. Even if there are facilities close by people still seem to prefer to go in the nearest bush or by a tree.
Lack or organisation – I can say this myself and I have it on good authority from friends at others schools that there is a real lack of organisation. For myself working on a weekend causes trouble in regards to the national holidays and whether we can actually have them off. Each time a holiday comes around it’s a case of “maybe we can have it off!” Its frustrating for myself because these holidays happen every year and are not a new tradition yet there’s nothing in place which gives a definitive yes or no answer. It tends to be you find out two days before hand that you don’t have to work, which leaves no time to plan any sort of trips or excursions.
These are all small things which in the grand scheme of things are rather insignificant. However over a period of time or if you are having a bad day each of this things has the capacity to really rub you up the wrong way! Having said all of this I understand that it’s the differences between my own country and others than makes travelling and living amongst other cultures so interesting.