Snot-rockets, etc

Beijing Travel Blog

 › entry 30 of 45 › view all entries
Trash littered many of Beijing's neighborhoods

Be warned. This entry is not so much a "blog" as it is a diatribe. A rant.

I am cranky. I am growing quite tired of Beijing. And it is so crowded here! Over 36 billion people live in Beijing! Okay... it's only 20 million. But that's still a hell of a lot of people! To try to cross a street is to know what it is like to live on the edge! Beijing drivers are among the worst, most-rude drivers I have EVER seen (surpassing even the murderous taxi drivers in Egypt!). I have nearly been hit TWICE while crossing in a crosswalk while I had the green "walk" symbol.

Do you remember how I said it was "foggy" on the first day I arrived? Well, it ain't fog - it's smog. Pollution hangs over this city every single day, it seems.

It has also rained every day - usually in the form of violent thunderstorms that strike each night.
China welcomes visitors! (As long as we can watch you at all times.)
Last night, however, I was not so fortunate - and got caught right in the middle of a near-monsoon. Within minutes, the calm skies turned fierce, and let loose with a downpour of biblical proportions. Of course, in the ensuing chaos it was impossible to find a taxi, as all traffic came to a halt in the flooded streets. So I walked home, umbrella-less, literally drenched from head to toe, and wading through puddles up to my knees.

When not raining, it is so-o-o-o hot. You really need at least 2-3 showers each day, just to keep from reeking. The smoke and dust clog your throat and make it hard to breathe at times. I've actually had a bad respiratory infection for the past week or so, and I'm finding it hard to get rid of it.

Snot rockets and loogie-launching

But walking in China also revealed another danger - the infamous "snot rockets!" Have you seen this before? Blowing your nose directly onto the street without using a tissue? Then they tend to rub their nose with their hand - undoubtedly right before they go to shake hands with some tourist!

But equally disgusting is the apparently-popular Chinese pastime of "loogie launching.

Parking an litter control may need a little improvement.
" The procedure is to cough and cough, then clear your throat and hack up a loogie as big as they can - then launch it clear across the sidewalk full of people ahead. Usually they will do this as near a doorway as possible, undoubtedly so people will track the phlegm into every restaurant, school and business nearby. How in the world can anyone think this is okay?

Please... don't take a seat
Since I'm being disgusting, let me get into the toilet topic. Specifically, the Asian "Squat Toilet." Okay... I DO understand that the "western toilet" may seem equally disgusting to our Asian friends (I mean, touching your bum to something that was just warmed by someone else may not, in fact, be the most sanitary idea). But frankly, I simply cannot master the idea of squatting while "doing your business." Being able to aim properly - while maintaining your balance with your pants down around your ankles and avoiding the puddles around you - takes a feat of gymnastic ability that I doubt even the Chinese Acrobats possess! To make matters worse, it tends to be a "communal activity." Short walls allow for your neighbor to watch and giggle from his stall next door, or even try to start a conversation! At least there should be a door on the front to let us retain what little dignity we Westerners have left during this experience!

And then there's the habit of urinating in public, as well. At least 10 times so far, I have seen men simply whip it out and empty their bladders in the middle of the city: a subway tunnel; the side of a building; even around the corner from a sign that said "toilets."

So, yeah, I'm a little pissed off. But I guess that's better than being pissed on, right?


End the trip early?

A sad posting today. My coughing has gotten considerably worse. In fact, many Chinese look at me terrified when I start my whooping cough - as if I might give them SARS, or something. I just can't seem to get rid of it - and the oppressive heat, pollution, omni-present cigarette smokers, etc, certainly isn't helping.

Thus, I am fairly certain that I'll be looking to end my 'round-the-world journey sooner than later. I'm about halfway through my planned 3-month trek, but I just don't think I'll have the energy to go the distance.

And - on a lighter note:
I finally found an English-speaking travel agent who could help me arrange travel out of Beijing. (I have had to extend my time in Beijing by several days, as I just could not find anyone to help me with independent travel.) I'll be leaving tomorrow.

But the agent also helped me discover my "inner Chinese" heritage, and deduced that my actual name in Chinese was "Long Fei." This means "Flying Dragon" - a rather apt name given my temper of late, don't you agree?

mfmcp1982 says:
OMG we're kindred spirits! The spitting and snottering got to me so much! It was the first thing we insisted kids DIDN'T do in class, and they couldn't understand why. But they think blowing your nose into a handkershief is digusting. Weird...
Posted on: Mar 26, 2008
TYoungTX says:
Very well written, Long Fei! I chuckled, cringed, and gagged as I read this one.
Posted on: Mar 25, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Trash littered many of Beijings n…
Trash littered many of Beijing's …
China welcomes visitors! (As long …
China welcomes visitors! (As long…
Parking an litter control may need…
Parking an litter control may nee…
photo by: Deats