When it came time to go through our “You Know You’re In…” file for China, it was bulging at the seams! A country that doesn’t give a damn what other people think, this behemoth is bold, brash, and beautiful. While some stereotypes like incessant spitting were true, the streets were cleaner, the people friendlier, and nature was more pristine than we’d ever imagined. Then there were things we could never have dreamed up (carnival dentistry, really?), always keeping us on our toes. From the Great Wall to the Great Language Barrier, You Know You’re in China When…
– When you need your iPhone translator, hand signals and a calculator to buy a train ticket or a piece of fruit.
– A country’s most passionate tourists are the people who live there.
– Chopsticks are the utensil of choice for just about everything, trash collection included.
– Western tourists are so rare in central China (we were the only two white people out of 500 tourists on our Yangtze river cruise) that you become an instant celebrity.
– Your parks are more likely to host a Tai Chi class than a soccer game.
– Your forests are so magical they inspire $230 million movies.
– Western toilets are so exotic they can inspire porcelain seating and a chocolate-based menu for a restaurant.
– You realize the Chinese restaurant paintings of misty mountains dotted with temples are not just a throwback to ancient times, you can trek through that painting today.
– A Dremel is not just a tool for cutting bathroom tiles, but your traveling dentist’s tool of choice. (Photo taken at a carnival in Benzilan)
– Cities are so futuristic they star in sci-fi films without any CGI.
– A slit in the back of a kids pants is the next best thing to diapers (For best results, hold child over a sewage drain … we saw this happen in Fenghuang!)
– A short walk through a Yunnan meat market might just turn you vegetarian.
– Spitting is accepted in restaurants, carpeted trains, and office buildings…but they draw the line at Buddhist monasteries.
– Your toilets look more like crime scenes than restrooms.
– Sightseeing usually begins with name tags and follows with a yellow telescoping flag pole, an obnoxious microphone, and 200 of your newest friends.
– Anything less than one million people is considered a village.
The good, the bad, the ugly…China is what is and we loved it! Let us know what you liked best!