One Month in Review: Weird Things In China

This is almost exactly what I saw the other day. A man carrying an insane amt of Styrofoam on his bike.

So it’s official, I have made it in Shanghai for a month — and just barely. I’ve been wanting to report about some of the really strange things that go on here from an American’s perspective. I wish I had more photographic proof of all of these things… but that will just have to wait for my second month in review. So here ya go… Weird things from an American female’s perspective…

  • First, people spit — with disgusting gusto. And it doesn’t matter where you are… outside, inside, in the subway… they will hauk-a-loogie anywhere. And sometimes towards you. Oh, and I give that, “eat sh*t and die” look any time that happens.
  • While we’re on disgusting bodily habits — people are completely open about peeing, farting, and burping in public. Yep, I’ve seen or heard all of these things.
  • People where their pajama’s out everywhere. AND I’ve heard that these aren’t their real pajama’s, they are their “going out pajama’s”. It’s been explained to me, that people want to appear as if they don’t have to work… therefore they go out in their pajama’s.
  • Oh Lord, get this… we’ve seen this phenomenon often… Couples Shirts. That’s right. That’s when a boyfriend and girlfriend dress alike and where the same t-shirt. Sometimes these are even specially designed.  Here is a site trying to explain this phenomena — God, bless them.
  • OH gross… Long fingernails. Men have them and women have them. And they are long and ovally — like any good wicked witch in a Disney movie. But the men especially have one long pinky nail. I’ve heard that it’s suppose to be some sort of aristocratic symbol. A symbol that you don’t do hard labor. But I’ve also heard that it’s for dope, and picking your ear and nose.
  • While we’re on that discussion… I saw a girl in the subway picking her boyfriends nose–like digging in his nose. Now my momma raised me right and we have a saying in our house, “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends nose”. But people here… publicly pick their nose. Ewe.
  • This is common. Women wear these sunshades devices all the time. Especially if they are on their bikes or moped’s commuting.  As well as the cape thing you see on her arms. I’ve even seen some that have built in gloves — Watch out — they gettin’ fancy.
  • Ha. Women’s fashion… well their is a lot to be said about this.But one of the strangest things that I’ve noticed is how much they enjoy wearing hosiery. Girls in my office where knee-high’s like it’s not unusual at all. Girls of all ages where the little sock hoses. Yahoo Answers tries to make sense out of all it here.
  • Men, late in the afternoon, can often be found where their shirts halfway up their belly. Like they roll them up to under their armpits.
  • Have I mentioned that people don’t run in China? It’s really rare that you will find someone exercising out on the street. Like running on the road. They will; however, dance in courtyards at night or do tai chi… and they play music really loudly really early in the morning.
  • Oh my goodness, I almost forgot… Chinese baby split pants — I have honestly seen a woman holding her poor little child, spread eagle over a trash can, while the child uses the restroom.
  • Everyone has a uniform. From the guy who collects money for watching your bike on the side of the road, to the subways workers who look at the scanners, to people working in the grocery store… if you have a job where you talk to people — you probably have a designated uniform.
  • Oh, people at work often where one or two outfits a week. Sometimes they will change their shoes and where a special pair in the office.
  • It’s completely common at work to find people taking a nap at their desk. They will turn off the lights and close the blinds… cuddle up with their pillows and put on their eye shades and zonk-out for about 30 minutes.
  • Pregnant women where smocks. I don’t know why. Someone said it was to reduce UV rays. Say what?
  • Hair cutting places are open really late here. But I guess if a majority of the population works 12 hour shifts… you gotta stay open a little later.
  • People talk on their cell phones really loudly. I think my mother must be part chinese for this little antic. It’s ridiculous. They are sooooo loud. I think Americans are often apt to being more quiet when they talk on their cell phones in a public space… but the chinese talk louder. I mean, come on dude, the whole subway is listening in on your conversation — chill out!
  • People sit on tiny stools. I don’t really know how to better explain this…
  • Oh, and last but not least– HONKING! Honking is like another language here. People honk all the time. Where I’m from — it’s rude to honk your horn. Here, they honk to let you know they are behind you, they honk to let mopeds know they are coming around them, they honk to let pedestrians know where they are .. and they do it all the time. So you know when you’re walking to work… and your still kinda sleepy… and then you hear this loud screeching horn in your ear… or when you have a headache… or whenever… ughh–it’s just not what I like to hear all the time.

Want to read about more weird things that I’ve seen in China. Click here. And you can see my Second Month in Review: Part II

Unfortunately… like everything else, I’m getting used to it. I know a lot of these sound like complaints… but it’s just the stuff you have to deal with when you enter into a new culture. I’m sure I do things that make Chinese people turn their heads as well — well, I guess we all know that’s true — but it’s part of traveling and learning new customs and how people deal with everyday life. I am still very thankful to be given the opportunity to be in China.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll try and take my own pics of all of these things so you can see them from my perspective. These are only the things I could remember, I’m sure tomorrow I’ll think of a million more… I’ll start jotting them down for you guys. Is anything weird going on with y’sll? Update me on life, I’d love to know how everyone is doing! Is the summer heat back home killing everyone? Does everyone have a nice tan? Is anyone out there?
Today I am thankful for: the best sister-in-law in the world! She has given a fool proof regiment for me to conquer my sinus infection! I’m feeling much better. I just think I need one full nights rest and maybe I’ll be back to normal tomorrow. For those of you who know me well… I’ve been walking around with a box of tissues and my nose is chapped from blowing my nose so often. Being sick in China is no fun at all!

Note: The source for all photo’s can be found in the title of the image — you can see this when you drag your mouse over the picture.

Yikes… I don’t need to talk and type… I’m still catching grammatical errors and I need to learn to proof-read. Do excuse them — I’m sick.

9 thoughts on “One Month in Review: Weird Things In China

  1. Yo yo! Nothin’ going on in Ohio as exciting or strange for that matter!! Loving reading your blogs ab China! Feels like I’m actually there, and I do know, from experience, you are a fun person to travel with!! Hope you feel better, and keep it coming with the oddities of other cultures!! Peace and love throughout Ohio?? hehe.

    • Girl! I heard about your interview in Charleston. That sounds so exciting. It looks like things are picking up. It sounds as though more than half of our class has found jobs somewhere around the US. I’m hopeful that things will pick up even more when I get back in August. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. It’s so good to hear from you. Give Franky a big pat on the back for me — from his favorite asian!!

  2. Just in ref. to the yahoo comments: 1. I dont think making your legs look tanner would be the answer that comes to my mind, esp since thats kinda opp of what you hear is diserable. 2. I think the answer might be a cutese look, but I never really saw anyone in the office who had on ph or leggings look professional. I dont understand the ‘work’ look…diffrent ideas about the way professionalism looks?

    • I always thought a business suit was classy — not knee high black stockings… but whatev. It’s really odd. I’ve never dressed so “relaxed” to go to work. Somedays… I feel like my jeans are dressy. But we rarely see outsiders come into the office… so I guess, in that sense, it’s kinda nice that we get to be so casual.

      How’s your new job?? Congrats by the way. I’m so excited for you! Hopefully, I’ll be there soon.

  3. the split baby pants had me laughing so hard I was worried about hyperventelating. Honking isn’t just in China! They do it here in NOLA too! Also, I have a sinus infection myself, hope your feeling better!!



    • Girrrrr-uh. These poor babies. They just walk around with their junk hangin’ out. And their momma’s and daddy’s just carry them around like that. I mean, what if the kid just poo’s while you carry them? I just don’t get it. I really want to get a picture of one in the wild… but I just feel so bad for them — I don’t know if I can. I hope your sinus infection isn’t as bad as mine. I have had the absolute worse sinus pressure in my hear and ears. It’s been pretty awful. How’s NOLA? Are you drippin’ wet in all that heat? Is it sauna weather, yet?

  4. Pingback: Second Month in Review: Weird Things in China Part II | Hänschen Klein

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