7 Things You Might Not Know About China

I spent six long interesting weeks in China. Here is what I have discovered after living in Shenyang and traveling among other cities. Some things are good, others bad, and the rest are just strange. (Just to culture you it is pronounced Shay-Young… not Shen Yang.)

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Travelers Night Life

1. China is beautiful.

China is absolutely gorgeous in three ways. The cities are much bigger and more intricate. China is filled with unique aspects which separates the city life here from America drastically. When you need something you don’t ever go to a chain store, whether it’s for food, medicine, shopping, nearly everything is independently owned.

Secondly China has very old and incredibly well constructed buildings in which their ancient rulers lived. Each building is surround by open space ten times larger than a football field and then again surrounded by more walls. The amount of detail and design that went into the architecture of these old palaces is quite indescribable.

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Great Palace

Lastly is the all nature. Outside of the big cities and beyond the ancient palaces you will find many hidden gems of natural beauty. I traveled to a placed called Zhangjiajie which was one of the most breathtaking places I have ever laid my eyes upon. Endless free standing mountains that went on for miles in any direction. This is also where the Avatar movie was filmed, and yes it is quiet obvious as to why they chose this location.

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Avatar Location: Zhangjiajie

 

 

2. But Just as Beautiful, China is Also Ugly

Now for this part of the blog I won’t be posting any pictures because I feel it is unnecessary and I will also keep it very brief. Possibly the most depressing part of my journey was the rarity of seeing a blue sky (or the sun for that matter). It could be that I live in America so seeing a crisp blue sky with bright yellow sunshine keeps me happy. Believe it or not  we really do take our beautiful sky for granted. No sunshine somehow really cuts down on your ability to feel cheery.

Any public restroom is incredibly shitty (no pun intended). Not that this is uncommon across the globe and it may sound arrogant, but I cannot accept toilets that are flush with the ground. It’s not even the fact that you have to squat if you have to go number 2 rather than pee literally is everywhere in any male bathroom with these foe toilets. One bathroom I was in didn’t even have walls to separate each toilet.  Secondly, 90% of bathrooms in the city and rural areas do not offer toilet paper nor do the sinks work, and you can bet your bottom dollar that soap is non existent. Speaking of sinks, males and females share them in a weird sort of common room.

If you decide you want to try some of that delectably authentic Chinese food don’t expect any of the waiters or waitresses to pay any close attention to when you need you cup of tea to be refilled. Waiters and waitresses do not get tips in china so customer urgency is about as good as my ability to speak Chinese. If you unfortunately cannot speak mandarin have no fear because no matter what language you speak all the workers act as if they are deaf when you try to get their attention.

OKAY so maybe just one picture.

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At A Hotel Near Dalian

 

3. Food In China Blows American Food Out Of The Water

The food here can be equally compared to the succulent taste of sweet ambrosia. Sure their is no FDA to regulate food safety and so what if meat is left out of a freezer for hours, the food in China is the best, especially the street food.

The food is glorious. Nothing I have ever tasted can even come close in comparison. Believe it or not almost any meat that you try will be covered in spices that can occasionally be overwhelming yet somehow are more than necessary. I am no food expert nor an I a professional Instagram food photographer but I can assure you that you will never be disappointed with whatever you choose to eat.

Hell even the fast food (which is incredibly rare) is amazing. The KFC here tastes better than most Olive Gardens. The produce can be bought almost anywhere, stores, markets, the side of a highway, and it is always fresh. The food here is definitely one of my top three favorite things during my stay.

 

4. People Are Intrigued By You If You Are Foreign

In America we are so accustomed to seeing people of all different races and nationalities. When I see someone who is of Asian descent I do not even think twice about it. But in China people constantly stare at you if you are foreign, especially if you have blonde hair and blue eyes like I do. You will begin to notice that you stick out like a sore thumb. You begin to realize that you are the only man that actually looks like an adult because you actually have hair on your body. And then… unfortunately, you begin to feel self conscious because you do in fact look like a monkey.

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Escape Into The Mountains

5. The Driving…

The driving… Dear God the drivers in China are awful. First of all police do not pull people over for anything, and I mean anything! China has cameras set up everywhere, so if you are a speedster like I am, plan on receiving a ticket when the cameras snap a picture of you and how fast your driving.

Secondly all of the taxis are stick shift. At first I was excited about this, being a car enthusiast I prefer stick, but none of them know how to drive manual transmissions properly. For anyone that cares, taxi drivers will simply dump the clutch without giving the car any gas when entering first gear. I can’t tell you how many times I felt my heart drop as I constantly heard gears grinding and smelled burnt clutch. I am half tempted to open my own driving school in China and a transmission shop because I will surely make a fortune.

Even though people drive in an outrageous manner in China, somehow, it works. It is a smooth and fluid rush of people on whizzing past on scooters with children, taxis blaring their horns (sometimes at no one), and people rushing across busy streets like ants. Yet with all the craziness it is the smoothest traffic I have ever seen. Rarely do you see traffic backed up (in Shenyang anyway).

Lastly, you can forget about fellow drivers obeying any type of traffic laws. My cop friends would have a conniption watching people drive. I was once in a taxi as the driver decided to drive into oncoming traffic scaring me half to death.

Yes I can assure you that I indeed have a picture.

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Are We In London?

 

6. Underground Malls Are The Best!

While walking around through the city of Shenyang I noticed steps in the middle of the walkway that led underground. I was astonished as to what I saw next. I had assumed that it led to an underground parking deck or maybe a small shop. I was wrong.

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This under the earth shopping center felt as it it went on for miles. Now I know that this claim isn’t entirely true but my GOD was this intense. Did I forget to mention that it was a two story underground mall as well?

Essentially it was a long narrow hallway with a new store on either side every twenty feet. Most of the small shops are clothing but none of them are your chain retail stores which was highly refreshing. The options are endless.

At the very end of it all you still haven’t reached the end. This is somewhat depressing when you visit a place like this with a girl who has a love for shopping. You are then greeted with an enormous circular track of mostly bathing suits and an endless amount of shoes.   TRAVELER TIP: Do not go here with a girl.

7. People Move Quickly

People in China have a ‘me first’ mentality, so if you are not quick to walk or drive make sure you are on your toes to pay attention. If you are waiting in line just remember that you are not in America anymore. Lines do no exist. It is simply whoever can get to their destination the quickest that win. Almost a survival of the fittest type of environment.

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I will be posting more facts about China later but for now I hope you enjoyed this read! Please like and share this page and also enjoy these highly unprofessional iphone 5 pictures!

 

 

–Michael

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