My Travels…

February 19, 2009

My Impression of China

Filed under: Asia — Tags: , , , , — Glenn @ 2:22 am

Traffic is hysterical. Look in every direction before you cross the street. If you don’t, you’ll die. Here, yellow means “Get ready to haul ass and hit people” as the light goes from red to yellow to green. Some actually are yellow before red. They love using the horn, too. We aren’t allowed to drive here for safety reasons. The good news is taxi’s are cheap. All day long you hear car horns, bus horns, truck horns, scooter horns. HORNS, HORNS, HORNS!!!!

Serious air pollution here. Someone was telling me last night that once summer hits you won’t see the sun again until it cools down because it’s so thick. A lot of the people you see in the streets wear face masks because of this. Some of them only cover their mouths, though. Doesn’t do much good that way. I’ve also seen some people wearing something like you see on ER, a full face shield. They’re cool because they’re tinted.

If you ever wondered why the USA didn’t ratify the Kyoto treaty come to Shanghai. China was exempt because they are an “emerging” nation. They didn’t have to cut back emissions but we did. I doubt you’ll ever see smog like this anywhere in the US.

Also, seems like most people here have this throat clearing thing going on. Every 30 seconds or so your hear a kind of grunt. Couldn’t be the pollution, naaaaaah….

Went to McDs for dinner tonight. You could tell the kid behind the counter was tickled as hell he had an American to serve. Gave him a chance to speak English. And he was pretty good at it.

Shanghai must be growing. Everywhere you look there are high rise apartments going up, hundreds of them. Like 18 million people aren’t enough.

If a Chinese person wants to live in a different city they have to get the government’s permission to move.

I was in a store one Sunday waiting in the checkout line and a group of about 20 employees started chanting something. It must be one of those psych ups for work you hear about the Japanese doing every morning. They were lined up like a military unit. Pretty cool, actually. The only way into the grocery section is an aisle about 2 feet wide. But they have about 30 checkout lines.

Speaking of the military, there must be an army base near where I’m working. Several times I’ve seen platoons running through the plant (exercise, not attacking). There’s also an airbase. Last week there were fighters all over the place. Pretty cool to see them flying low over the city. None used afterburners, though. Hopefully they didn’t have a war and not tell me.

The people are very nice. Haven’t come close to having a problem yet except for one girl begging money for food outside the hotel. Problem was she was a pretty big girl. You could tell she hadn’t missed many meals lately. She literally chased me to the hotel. Almost had to deck her. The strange thing was it happened three times that night in a span of about 15 minutes. Always 2 girls. One speaks to you in Chinese. Once they see you don’t speak Chinese the other one starts in in English. Time to use some German on their asses. That’ll throw ‘em.

Quite a few cute girls around. You see them all the time. I never really thought Asian girls were cute until I was around them a lot.

Quite a few ugly girls around as well.

Chinese girls seem to have a problem wearing shoes with heels. I saw a girl on the street the other day with a strange walk. Didn’t think much about it. Then I started noticing it more and more. It finally dawned on me that all the ones that walked funny were wearing shoes with heels. Bizarre but entertaining.

There are a lot of scams in the big cities you have to watch out for. Luckily I read about them before I came here. The most notorious is a cute Chinese girl will come up to you and start talking. She’ll ask if you will go to a cooffee house with her so she can practise her English. You go and have a coffee or two. When you get the bill it’s for $100 or some ridiculous amount. The scam, apparently, is the girls works for the coffee house and gets a cut of the high bill. There are variations like the museum and art gallery versions. I even had a guy ask me to have a coffee, a total stranger. I wanted to deck him but I just walked away.

China’s probably one of the few countries where you’ll see an attractive girl in high heels riding a 30 year old bike.

Shanghai must be a cool place to live. Tons of foreigners live here. Huge expat community. It’s pretty cheap, maybe that’s why.

There’s a job for everyone here. Might not be very interesting, though. For 1/2 mile of road you’ll see a half dozen or so sweeping the streets with brooms made of bamboo and a bunch of straw or small tree limbs. Don’t think I’ve seen a normal broom since I got here. The streets are clean, though. The ladders are interesting, too. Almost always bamboo lashed together. If you know construction, the scaffolding is made of lashed together bamboo as well. OSHA would love that…

There was an article in the Shanghai Daily the other day about the wages paid to McDonald’s employees. Apparently if you’re in school and working there you have no minimum wage. The minimum wage at McDs is about 750RMB per month. That’s about $100.

Lots of two-wheeled transportation. It’s a battle between the cars/ busses/trucks and the

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