last thoughts on China...

China Travel Blog

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I got a flight on Air Asia (great prices) from Macao to Bangkok. On the flight I had some thoughts on the country I've been in for the last year...

China is a country I have spent a good number of years in, a number of times. I learned the language and developed a deep understanding of the people and culture.

The food culture is very rich. Eating is very important to daily life in China and is an important way to socialize and forge human bonds for Chinese. The cuisine is varied the north is bread and noodle eating and the south is rice eating. Some interesting/common dishes are: eggs scrambled with tomato, lotus root, bamboo shoots with peanuts and chicken, dried tofu salad, caramelized sweet potato, smoke cooked duck with crepes and plum sauce, clay pot baked rice, leeks and mutton, black pepper spare ribs etc.

Yet Chinese have some bad culinary habits such as eating all sorts of filthy inedible creatures. Cats, dogs, rats, birds nest (congealed bird saliva and sticks), snakes, genitalia of animals,  bear paws, monkey brains and so on. When I ask them about this revolting appetite and they always make excuses such as “We had many famines in our history… blah blah” I don’t see why they have to continue this shameful practice in this day and age. I mean really, how good can bear paws taste? It must be something like leather boiled in soy sauce. Chinese table manners also have much to be desired.

Drinking is really important for North Chinese as the weather is frigidly cold. They usually force spirits down your throat. I personally dislike Chinese alcohol especially Maotai.

As a teenager I would often teeter down to the grocery for a ladle of Gaoliang (hooch) dipped out of a earthen jar, must have damaged my brain permanently. The beer is cheap but generally it’s plonk.

The infrastructure is good enough. Transportation is cheap but not very comfortable. Everywhere dirty, there’s piles of rubbish, sewage, and pollution in the cities and countryside. Law and order is quite dodgy I’ve seen plenty of abuse on the streets by police and crimes by gangs as well. Some urban areas are crime infested.

The Chinese are very nationalistic but what can you expect from a Communist state. Everything is controlled by the state. They’re friendly enough as long as you don’t mention certain taboos. It’s an exercise in futility anyway, as you won’t change their minds.

There are some pretty women (come on, it’s the world’s biggest population) and some of them have character. Yet, Chinese women can be very mercenary. They still are learning about fashion and make-up etc. They’re not very sensual. I get along with them all right but not on a very intimate level. 

There are many poor and desperate people everywhere. The cost of living is not high and the incomes are minimal. The disparity between urban and rural areas is amazing. People are not extremely happy overall most are ambitious and everyone is obsessed with money (worse than the decadent west). The cities have a depressing atmosphere, a common feature of communism.

China is a nice place to visit and has some good spots. It's a land of great contrasts: breathtaking beauty and hideous ugliness, warm hospitality and inhumane cruelty, ostentatious wealth and grinding poverty. You just have to take everything in stride, this is the 3rd world. I’ve learned how to live there with time....

Aopaq says:
Very interesting perspective.....
Posted on: Dec 08, 2007
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