This is true, China is weird. I love it, this post is just about how my six months in China have been filled with extremely surprising things.
- My walk from my home to the closest coffee shop is weird. I exit my door, pass by two old tour buses full of old men playing cards. These buses never move, they are there specifically for the card playing. I think walk through a parking lot and at some point the cars just start parking wherever they can. It doesn’t matter if its a spot. After that, I walk over a bridge, past a kindergarten that has never had kids there to my knowledge, and then a park. After that I see a brothel, a new paris themed BBQ restaurant, liquor store, chicken restaurant open until 2 am, and finally MAAN coffee. This is all within a 5-8 minute walk.
- I will see an incredibly fashionable man or women, completely decked out in the hottest clothes and also the the silliest off brands ever walking right next to each other no matter what neighborhood.
- I once saw a grandma try to make her granddaughter try and ride a bike with roller skates on. This is one of my favorite memories ever.
- You can meet someone once, get invited out with the and be on the craziest, wildest ride. I have friends who have gone out to a movie with new friends, ended drinking their weight in vodka for free, and fall asleep in bed with a pint glass of red wine in hand. Like, that movie Crazy Rich Asians… it rings true in Beijing just as it does in Singapore.
- In a store I have found spicy cheetos, chicken flavor cheetos, AND SEAWEED CHEETOS. Why! Why China, why!!
- You will see these men driving around these trucks of various items. I have seem various straw items, coconuts, watermelons, fruit, plants(small and large), and then my favorite, small pets such as turtles, hamsters and fish. These men just drive around and park in a high traffic area to sell.
I arrived in Beijing at the tail end of February. Actually, because of the 16 hour flight and changing time zones, I felt like there were 26 days that month. It was cold, the air was dry, all the lakes were half frozen and trees were just silhouettes. The city seemed pretty lively, but nothing like I thought CHINA would be. I mean you hear China, and you think tons of people. You see videos of packed subways, markets and tourist attractions. Beijing is actually the second most populated city in the world, only to Shanghai.
I didn’t see millions of people though. Even in the forbidden palace, I didn’t see more than a few hundred. It was wild. The subways were clear. Now that it’s summer there are definitely more people around here. Not enough to get my attention though.
So summer. It started around May, after we have three weeks of spring, and there are positives and negatives.
- Everything is GREEN. I love it. There are huge trees, growing out of their cement holdings. The bushes are overflowing, the spring pollen has gone so I’m not constantly sneezing.
- Watermelons. Yes the coconut man from my apartment is gone, but he has been replaced by the watermelon man. This is a man with a giant truck full of watermelons. He comes around, sells some giant watermelons, and then goes on his merry way only to return tomorrow with more watermelons.
- Air conditioning. Unlike Europe, there is air con in China! or at least in most places in Beijing. China has a heating season and a non heating season. If it gets warm before heating season is over, doesn’t matter. They keep the heat on until it’s official. This year it wasn’t an issue, they actually extended heating season which is pretty rare. Most places you go will have air conditioning so you’ll be able to feel relived from the 100 degree weather, even most of the buses have air conditioning.
- The dry heat. For the beginning of summer, the heat here is a dry heat. Which I love. Stay tuned for the reverse of this.
- The buildings that you thought were abandon buildings, are just shops that open in the summer! Yay! Near our house there was a weird old shack and now it sells steamed buns and soup.
The Bad (or, like, the weird.).
- Air quality. The summer mugginess combined with 150+ air quality index makes you skin, face, hair, everything feel gross. Not to mention your lungs. Bleh.
- Tummies. I don’t quite understand this, but it seems like the men here don’t like to take their shirt off all the way. Instead, they just roll the shirt up to their chest and show off their tummy to cool down. Maybe we still need to free the man’s nipple here in China? In Beijing they do call them the ‘bejing belly’ and no, I haven’t joined in.
- Rain. Four months into my time in Beijing and it had only rained ONCE. Until we hit June and July. These are wettest months of the year and Beijing does not seem to have an amazing system for draining the rain. Recently the roads were flooded within minutes because of the amount of the rain and lack of of proper draining systems.
- Humidity. When it’s hot and humid… ugh. I have no other words. 100 degrees with 30% humidity, great. 100 degree heat with 80% humidity, horrid.
- There are are a lot more kids out, which isn’t so bad, but then the kids have holes in their pants.. and no diapers… because here they just think a kid should go and then let it fall out of their pant holes. I’m serious, I’ve seen parents hold their kids over a trash can so it can go to the bathroom out of the hole in it’s pants.
- People always seem to have a suitcase with them. Where are you going? Where are you coming from?? This isn’t bad, just weird and answerless.
If you live in China, I really want to hear more about your experiences here with the different seasons. I’m excited to experience the turn into winter and see what changes that brings. I still feel so incredibly grateful for this experience, learning a new language and a new culture makes me excited to continue exploring.