Thursday, March 18, 2010

Some Simple Things

Dear Gentlemen,

I've taken so long to finally update this thing, my apologies. Internet connection in my university is absolutely horrible and blogspot is even blocked in mainland China. I purchased a personal VPN from Witopia which helps me access youtube, facebook, and this blog. If you're ever in China or any other country that blocks any sites, Witopia is pretty reliable in helping you surpass the "Great Firewall of China" In the last post, I mentioned how horrible the manners here were of the Chinese people. It's not their fault however, they simply aren't acquainted with many Western ideals and etiquette. What is acceptable in the States, may not be acceptable here and vice versa. There are definitely some things that need to be rid of, really disgusting and unacceptable things and I thought I'd just go over some things that may seem like common sense to many in the West, but unknown to tons of people here.

1.) Spitting

This was the first thing I noticed. When I got off my plane from Incheon, Korea and arrived in Hangzhou, China I waited at the terminal for my dad's friend to pick me up. While I was waiting there a middle aged woman (probably in her 40's) was walking by and spit a giant glob just a few feet from me. Disgusting. I don't think I've ever seen a female spit like that EVER in the U.S. This wasn't the only instance either. If you walk around China, you'll notice people literally spitting everywhere no matter what sex or age you are. Another woman who was riding a bike past me "hawked" up a big one and spat it at my feet and then pedaled away...amazing. If you absolutely need to spit something out, do it in private somewhere like a bathroom or somewhere you won't absolutely disgust the people around you. It's not a good look at all and will most likely turn off everyone who witnesses you doing it. I couldn't help but think of this scene:

2.) Kleenex and Tissues

Its rained here everyday for 3 weeks and just recently has been getting a bit sunnier. Tons of people are sick and blowing their nose into tissues. No problem with that but what I noticed, both natives and foreigners, is that after they blow their nose into the tissue they open it up and look it at and then throw it away....? I've actually seen quite a few people in the states do this as well and it is a really nasty habit. There is absolutely no need to see what is left in the tissue, once its used just throw it away..please.

3.) Family Style Restaurants

Have any of you ever eaten with a bunch of people at a Chinese rotating table? Something like this:

Well here in China, when my friends and I go out to eat some Chinese food we are almost always seated at something like this. This is a family style dinner, where everyone shares each dish that comes out. We ordered maybe 2 meat dishes, 2 fish dishes, some vegetables, and tons of rice. I was with with around 8 people, 3 other Americans and the others were from the UK, Kenya, Congo, Austria, and Italy. I was really annoyed at the fact that 2 of the 3 Americans completely devoured the meat dishes before even giving a chance to the other's. It seemed like it was a race to see who could eat all the meat as fast as they could. I kind of made eye contact with the other foreigners who were equally appalled at the fact that the first dish only made it to 2 people on the table. I was embarrassed and wanted to say something to them but was told not to by one of my Italian friends. Point: When you're eating at a restaurant, especially a family style restaurant, offer or serve other's a portion of the dish before devouring 90% of it on your own. This happened again and again and many of us just go to eat in smaller groups now...bah!

4.) Soups - Eat them with a spoon please

Every time I go to eat, I hear loud slurping...everywhere. People slurping food from their dish, soups from bowls, people even slurping their drinks. It's not very nice to hear every 3 seconds. Now I know probably nobody in China may read this blog however this is just a reminder for those of you that do follow this site. Please do not slurp while you eat. If you order a soup like dish at a restaurant, you can finish the soup easily with a spoon without making a racket. There should never be a reason for you to hold the soup up to your face (the natives hold everything, even their food plates to their mouth and just inhale everything on it) and slurp up what's left in it.

I'm sure there are some other things that crossed my mind that I wanted to write about but that seems to be all for now. It's almost been a month already since I've been here, I'm still being culture shocked everyday but I have really grown to love this place and I know for sure that China will become even more of an amazing country in time. Here are some photo's of some places I've been to so far, just to share with you guys.

Night Market in Hangzhou
031.jpg picture by jelee920
032.jpg picture by jelee920
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024.jpg picture by jelee920

Shanghai Circus
shanghai071.jpg picture by jelee920
shanghai083.jpg picture by jelee920
shanghai096.jpg picture by jelee920
shanghai073.jpg picture by jelee920

shanghai139.jpg picture by jelee920
shanghai141.jpg picture by jelee920

Closing Words: There are so many pictures I've taken since I've been here. The ones posted were only a few of them. China is a really amazing place, if you get an opportunity to ever visit this country, do not hesitate! Travelling is honestly one thing I want to keep on doing for the rest of my life, exploring other parts of the world really opens up your eyes and expands your mind to so many things. I hope all of you keep the simple things in mind when you are out eating with your friends or with other people. I believe we should always be aware of others and as often as possible try and put them before ourselves. I've said this time and time again but the more you give, the more you will receive. More pictures/videos to come!


  1. The pictures look great. Seems quite hazy there, is there a lot of smog around the city? When I've been to Hong Kong the air just feels so 'thick' with humidity and pollution. Market looks brilliant too, even though most of the stuff they sell is tat! Really glad to hear you're enjoying your time there. I should be visiting family in Hong Kong this September, your posts are making me even more eager to go! All the best.

  2. I agree with the spiting thing. That is totally gross. The Chinese are notorious for that and that's one of the reasons chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. Yes, it is illegal. I also do agree that the slurping thing is annoying, but that's simply because we are not accustomed to it in the States. I did a report recently for my International Business class on Japan and actually found that slurping while eating shows your hostess that you are thoroughly enjoying your meal. It's actually considered rude and insulting, if you DON'T slurp during your meal. This is a common thing in Asian countries, including China. So while you may have thought that you were on your best behavior by not slurping, you may have just insulted your host. Hey, blame it on the culture!

  3. I agree. It's a cultural difference. Just like when I went to India the locals used their hands to eat. You could show respect by doing the same, but I don't recall people expecting me to follow suit, perhaps understanding that I am from a different culture (and I'd make a huge mess!).

  4. I agree with the first two things you said, but I see nothing wrong with slurping... I don't see what's so wrong about enjoying food?

  5. hey man, great blog. when's the next update??? it's september already!

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