Random facts and observations
Xi'an Travel Blog› entry 6 of 12 › view all entries
There are several small things I've noticed here that didn't fit in to any of the other blogs, so I'll just create one for them.
1. Street sweeping vehicles play music constantly. The favorite seems to be Happy Birthday. It sounds a lot like an ice cream truck, but they seem to stay in the same area for a while because I've listened to Happy Birthday for at least half an hour while trying to sleep in on a few occasions.
2. Fire crackers are constantly going off. For the first few days it really scared us, because they echo off the buildings and sound a lot like bombs. But we noticed that the locals didn't even flinch, so we realized it was common. They can go off any time of day between about 7:00am and 10:00pm. We assume that some of them are for celebrations, like weddings, but there are so many that some must just be for the fun of it.
3. Crossing the road here means taking your life into your hands. At most crosswalks there are no lights, and the pedestrian do NOT ever have right-of-way. If traffic is heavy you really just have to walk out in front of cars and they will just go around you. Traffic lanes seem to be non-existant. The drivers can create new lanes in unbelievably small places. It is funny how quickly I became used to seeing a huge bus heading right towards me and still step in front of it.
4. No one uses clothes dryers here. All laundry is hung out to dry. Since we live on the 14th floor of our apartment building we have to hang it all around our apartment.
5. Spitting and smoking seem to be required of all men in this city. And I don't mean a little spit into a hanky, I mean a full body clearing spit out onto the sidewalk. It is a lovely sound to hear right next to you as you walk along.
6. Men in Xi'an tend to squat and sit on their heels rather than sit on something when outside. I read this in my guidebook, and I've seen it everyday. But I haven't seen any women do this.
7. It is not possible to find orange juice or butter anywhere. There is a lot of orange drink, but no juice.
8. School kids here are responsible for cleaning their classrooms. After certain classes they get out the mops and rags and clean the floor and boards. I think that is a really great idea as I see far less littering here. I expect that it gives the kids a sense of pride in their school that is often lacking in the US.
9. The school where I work has a lot of plaques with little phrases on them in both English and Chinese. My favorite so far is located near a trash can in the courtyard and says the following: "What you dumped was rubbish. What I picked up was morality". All of these signs show the school mascott, who is a little cartoon anime-ish superhero kid. He is dressed in orange and he can fly.
That is all I can think of right now. I'm off to my school.