I go to China every year to Beijing or Shanghai and its usually pretty much the same. Beijing is a mix of traditional and modern with Chinese style buildings and skyscrapers. Shanghai on the other hand is more modern and somewhat less smelly.
In Beijing you encounter more of what are known as Hutong areas which are basically little alleys where hidden restaurants and small I guess you could call them apartments are found. Here the smell of Chinese food filters through your nose and if you need the toilet prepare to squat. They do not have traditional toilets like us but a hole in the floor.
|Hutong in Beijing|
However on this trip I had a colleague with me and she wanted to visit some sights. We went to Tiananmen Square which is very important for the Chinese. As soon as we entered the square people started pointing at us and giggling. I really felt like something was terribly wrong with me (I got out a mirror to check) or maybe they had mistaken me for a celebrity!
This had never happened to me in China and I asked my guide why we were getting this attention. He explained that for the Chinese a visit to this square is like a pilgrim and most of the people here had never left their village. So most would have never seen Western people, moreover blondes! We even got asked several times for them to take a photo with us.
This got me thinking. I started noticing certain things I would normally just disregard as ‘just being Chinese’.
For instance a tourist in front of me was quite forcefully slapped across the back because he stopped his toboggan (yes I was tobogganing) in the middle of the slide. I was very roughly grabbed by a security officer to use another exit than the one I wanted to use. We were even shouted at to stay in a single line like school children to queue to pay for tickets. And of course you cannot access Facebook, Instagram and even the site I blog on in China. Imagine me without social media for 3 days!
All this is normal for the Chinese who have a very regimental communist mentality. You would say they follow rules as they are supposed to but then what confused me is their driving. Oh my… close your eyes if you are in a Taxi in China, you are in for a ride.
Whilst we might see them and their attitudes as weird they see us in the same way. Thats the beauty of it all.