Whenever I’m on the road I always love getting to know local people. Seeing the place from their perspective is what I value the most. But to be honest Chinese people in China annoyed the hell out of me! I tried to understand their behavior, that they’re not that used to the Western people wandering around, I really did. And I even found amusing how they ask to have a picture with me (braver ones) or just sneak a picture from around the corner while giggling loudly. But most of their behaviors were just too much for me and eventually lead me to my small crisis on my second to last day in China.
So what annoyed me the most in the behavior of Chinese people? What I’m not used to and surprised me big time? Here are some examples:
* They stare at you, in a arrogant way. I tried to star back so they would get shy or something but it didn’t help and I was the one who looked away, not them. I get it, they’re not very familiar with non-Chinese people and are probably curious but why looking like they have a problem with me (or any other tourist around?). The only exception here was Shanghai but maybe they have so many business people there that they don’t care anymore.
* There will be one sound that will always remind me of China – it’s something like “rrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh” and spiting that comes after that. Chinese people didn’t care that they are in the train, at the airport or in the middle of the city – they spitted everywhere around. And I had always pictures spitting with older men but no, in China everyone does that, no matter old or young, men or women. Add to that farting, burping, gulfing and swallowing what’s in your nose and you can imagine it was the grossest experience of my life.
* Chinese people can’t wait patiently in the lane, just can’t. Even if there’re only 2 people before them they’ll push their way to the front of the line. And what’s even worse – no one really reacts at such behavior. After the first day in Beijing when I understood the rules of this game I had so much fun when I didn’t let someone to push in in front of me (but oh boy, it was a battle sometimes!)
* Even if there’re trash bins around people seem not to notice them and throw everything on the ground. Even the smallest kids do that but well, if they have such example from adults… It was pretty disturbing to wander around the Great Wall of China or The Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang and see empty bottles or paper lie about.
* Chinese people are extremely loud! Not only there are so many of them everywhere but they don’t talk but yell. And they sing, loudly and not exactly nicely. I’ve also met lots of older people with portable radios playing screechy Chinese music. After couple of days it drove me crazy whenever I heard it!
* The smell. I’m not saying they didn’t wash or something, it was more of a natural smell of the body, everyone has one and Chinese wasn’t actually my fave one.
* The famous kids pants with the hole in the bum, like this. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them first. Whenever a kid in such pants needed to do what he needed to do – he just crouched and the work was done. Uh, not the nicest thing to see in the middle of the city…
* But the situation that annoyed me the most happened in the night train from Pingyao to Xian. I had my seat on hard seats and the carriage was really packed with people, every single place was taken, people were even standing in the corridor. Of course everyone was staring at me and I already couldn’t stand it. I tried to get some sleep and when I had my closed eyes I heard the sound of picture being taken. It turned out that the Chinese guy siting in front of me was taking pictures with his mobile phone of me sleeping. He didn’t even look ashamed when I looked at him with devil eyes, he just kept staring…
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Well, some people I met were nice and helpful too but these were in the minority. I blame cross-cultural differences here – I’ve never encountered Chinese culture before, Chinese people aren’t used to Western people. But they really gave me a hard time here and I really believe big part of why I didn’t fully enjoy my time in China was, sadly, because of people…
Have you ever been to China? Or did you have to struggle with cross-cultural differences somewhere else? Share your stories with me!
If you think of visiting China or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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