I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, but already I’ve noticed a fair few differences between China and Ireland.
From the places I’ve been to in China, being Beijing, Harbin and Chengdu, I’m pretty sure 4 out of 5 cars are insanely nice cars. I’m talking Porches, BMW’s, Audi’s, Mercedes, Passat’s here. They are kept immaculately clean, with hardly any scrapes and bumps (with the way Chinese people drive I’m shocked they don’t have any). This was one thing I was surprised about. I hear cars are cheap here, but literally every person, bar taxi drivers, have gorgeous cars.
People like to beep their horns… all day every day. Whether it’s to beep at a person crossing the road even when the green man is lit, to beeping in traffic a mile long and literally at a standstill. My teaching group came to understand our bus driver’s beeps; quick beeps to warn a car in front that they are passing so the car won’t swerve in front: Chinese people don’t know they have wing mirrors. Then there are the loud, long and abusive beeps, where the bus driver is in a foul mood and wants everybody in the vicinity to make way for him.
I’ve often heard on other blogs that it’s hard to cross a road. They are right. It’s almost impossible! Even when the Green light in on, cars come veering out of nowhere and literally would plow into you if you don’t move out of their way. It doesn’t matter if the light is on for pedestrians, the cars rule the roads here and they make sure you know that!
I am going to become so tight with money when I go home. Everything is so cheap! A large bottle of beer is about 80cent, while a huge plate of rice, meat and veg is about 1 euro. From what I see, shampoo and conditioner are quite dear, with the likes of Starbucks and Costa have Western prices. What is dear however are nightclubs. Drinks are ridiculous, with one cocktail being about 80yuan, about 8-10euro. Girls are free in though!
All I can say is; Rock Hard. Now I don’t mind hard beds, I’d rather a hard bed than a real soft one, but these are like sleeping on wood. Only a real thin blanket separates me from the base of my bed. I’ve noticed this with all 4 beds I’ve stayed in so far in China so it must be a universal thing.
The weather fluctuates so much here. The first day I arrived in Beijing the weather was glorious. Clear blue skies and about 35 degrees. Then the next day it was so hazy, most likely due to the pollution. Up North in Harbin, the weather was cooler, one day it would be sunny, the next raining. In Chengdu, it’s mostly cloudy all the time. In the winter though it shouldn’t fall below zero which is good.
The people are so friendly and helpful. They are quite reserved people, but they would help you with simple things, like helping you with your bags ( when I arrived in our hostel in Beijing, a group of employees came and took our suitcases into the hostel) to even helping to bring drinks outside. They are eager to help which is lovely to see. Even the older generation are lovely!
Construction of apartments:
Everywhere I went, apartments and buildings were being built. Like I mean everywhere! Passing in the train, we saw endless amounts of large apartments being built in desolate areas. It was really sad to see because to me it seems like they are ruining their landscape without caring. Every city I’ve been to there were loads of buildings under construction. Not only that, they are building them in mass. Not one at a time, 10 skyscraper apartments all at one. It’s sad.
Girls hold hands:
I’ve noticed a lot of students hold hands. Well I’m meaning the girls from 17 onwards. They link arms and hold hands when walking together. It’s nice to see and they seem comfortable with each other!
People speak as if fluent in Mandarin:
When we were lost in Harbin, we asked some people for a specific place. Blabbering on they went, talking in Mandarin to us. It really seemed as if they thought once we said Ni Hao to them, they automatically thought we could speak Mandarin. But the people do try to be helpful, most of the time anyway! Some people would ignore you if they thought we wanted help, this happened to us in the subway. A man turned his head away in a ‘I don’t want to talk to you’ kind of way. We found our way back though, no thanks to him!
Loads of toilets in Beijing:
There are copious amounts of toilets in Beijing. I think they all popped up when the Beijing Olympics was on, because they didn’t want people to urinate in the streets. ( I could be totally wrong on this though)
The amount of dogs I seen here is crazy. And I’m not talking about the ones they eat. I mean small dogs like little toy dogs. They are adorable. I have only seen 1 big dog since I arrived, it being an Alaskin dog. They love their small dogs. I suppose they are easier to care for and are better suited to apartments.
Will post more differences when I can!