When you come to a foreign country there are always things, which are not very easy to accept and get used to. I am getting used to more or less everything. After sharing what I love about China it is time to share things, which are not that bright, that over time might irritate you or become things you’ll hate.
What I mean is no traffic rules to be exact! No one on the streets follows rules. I mean in many countries you can see some people going against the law, but here it seems like no one knows.
Firstly, what makes me really crazy is that everyone ignores the lights. Red, yellow, green – does not matter. Yesterday, I crossed the road on the green for my side of the street and a taxi bumped into me on his red. I mean, this is a dangerous one, no?
Another thing, which is quite annoying is complete ignore towards the lanes. No one cares what the direction of the line is. It is actually considered alright to go against the motion. However, the main rule is while doing that don’t forget to press the horn so everyone can hear you. Otherwise, you are good to go.
These two are my major concerns, however there are more to it like either no lights or bright lights (which are forbidden in Russia by the way); beeping even when there is no need, overtaking from the wrong side etc.
I truly believed I can get over it and used to it, but I can’t…
Fishing and swimming.
It has been a while since I last ate fish in Beijing. You want to know why, especially, considering that it is pretty healthy food? Because you can never be sure that it is actually healthy. Throughout the year you can see people fishing in the small rivers of Beijing. In spring, where the ice finally goes off, you can see how dirty it is.
Funny thing is that they actually manage to get fish from the river and eat it. Therefore, I never order fish in the small eateries or places that I do not trust.
Apart from that, from May to September you actually see people swimming and diving in this place. How ewww it is? Another cringe.
Public transportation etiquette.
I have already mentioned in my preparing for China article how it is to take public transportation. However, there are more to it. Firstly, the buses are absolutely not safe. How? Well, they are the most dangerous on the road. It is actually quite scary to take a bus, because it is too fast and the drivers do not follow rules.
As for the etiquette, in my country it is commonly agreed that when you see an elderly person, pregnant woman or a kid, you give up your seat and offer it to them.
What you see in China? Every day I see battles for seats. Well, it is OK if it is in between people of the same situation. But when I see a young guy taking a seat over a grandmother, I become furious.
It doesn’t happen very often that I get a seat in the metro. But when I do and I see a kid with mother or anyone else who should get it, I always offer it. Sometimes, when I do it, some young folk will try getting it and then my anger takes the best of me.
When they see I offer a seat, people are usually very surprised and thankful. They look at me in a kind of special way. And all I can say is that isn’t it how it supposed to be done?
Bad air inside and outside buildings.
Soon it is going to be a month since I have started to cough. I can’t do anything. No medicines help, no way to get rid of it… Now, I figured that actually partially it is pollution that causes it. There is not much I can do or anyone else. But I learnt how to wear mask, keep your windows closed and tracking the air app.
So now each morning starts with opening an app to check the air quality, before I leave home. Most of the times, as I am extremely tired of metro, I take a Mobike and cycle to work. I know it is not good, but by checking app, I know exactly when I need to wear a mask.
Before, I used to just open the door to the corridor to just get my apartment a little refreshed as if you open a window, you get pollution and dust in. But now I stopped it as it is quite common in China to cook extremely smelly food like tofu with open doors. So instead of refreshment you get ugly smell which gets inside every piece of furniture and clothes.
To be frank, this is very hard for me as I am a person who sleeps with open windows and need fresh air in the apartment. When I go outside and see smoke (yes, see, it is visible), I get really annoyed. Not really sure, how the rest of the foreigners deal with it in Beijing.
I did not know how to call this part, so I just decided to name it as noises, which will include everything. First of all, in China there is no rule on a quiet time. In difference with Russia, where you can only do construction from 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-19.00 on weekdays, in China there no restrictions at all.
It is extremely annoying to be at home on Saturday evening at 21.00 and hear an axe going on and on. Since there are no regulations, you cannot do anything.
Next noisy point is how loud people are. I mean as Russians I can’t really complain, but in China it just beats our level so much. It is pretty difficult to have any kind of conversation anywhere as you are constantly interrupted or attention is dragged away.
Moving on to the noises that I can never get used. That would be public farting, burping and making other noises. Regardless where you are – restaurant, streets, taxi – anywhere, it is considered normal.
There are many other things which sometimes make me cringe, but for now, I have mentioned the main ones. What do you think? Would you be able to deal with it?