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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Natalie's China Adventures: The Streets

I've been in China for over two months now, and the blog is starting to get a little dusty. Anyways, I figured I'd write quickly about how weird the streets are here. It seems like every day I see something unusual... though "unusual" has quickly become "my neighbourhood". 

I can't take photos of everything on my street or it would be a little weird, but things like people spitting, children going to the bathroom on the street, dogs without leashes, cats tied to trees, scooters driving the wrong way up one-way streets, and really questionable fashion choices are all normal now. The things that annoy me the most are probably people spitting and dogs without leashes, because both can directly affect me. Thankfully I haven't been spit on yet, but I have been barked at and chased by annoying, ill-trained little dogs. 

I found this bus really funny. Nothing about it looked "European Style" or standards... or I just have higher standards for Europe!

Cars parked on the sidewalk are pretty normal here, and no one seems to be able to tell me why. I've seen traffic police put little pieces of paper on them that I assume are tickets. I've also seen people paying those traffic police money... who knows if it's legit or not?

This is one of many tiny random shops in my neighbourhood. I took the photo walking so the owner couldn't tell I was photographing her shop. There are a couple of hair salons and massage parlours (some questionable ones) on my street as well. 

At this point I think it's safe to say that I'm "living in China" for the time being. My life here is so different from my life back in the United States and the person I am here is also quite different. I can't say which version of myself I like better yet. China-Natalie is definitely a lot more risk-taking and willing to go on adventures, which seems like a good thing! We'll see where this all leads me in the end I suppose. 


  1. I was in Suzhou until yesterday for a month, and a local I befriended there mentioned the cars on sidewalks thing. Simply put, 20 years ago people didn't own cars because they were too poor. In that blink of an eye, everybody bought a car. The problem? The city wasn't designed for it. So there's not enough parking.

    Interesting that you saw spitting. I was struck by how little spitting I saw compared to earlier visits, and how now I see old men spitting not on the ground, but into the trash bins on the sidewalk. (Phlegm is considered "bad qi." Makes sense to expel it from the body. I agree it could be done more graciously, but swallowing it? That's more yuck, even if more "civilized" by Western standards.)

    Too bad I didn't get to visit. My Suzhou friends say Chengdu is their favorite city for vacationing. But they know it well, which is their advantage. You must get out to the countryside and mountains if you haven't. They say they're wonderful. They also say Chengdu women have a reputation for being the most beautiful in all of China. Many of the "questionable fashion tastes" you're seeing are probably migrants from villages revealing the "country mouse goes to the city" sadness you see in any country with urbanization sweeping country people out of their rural homes for life in the big city.

    (And I love dogs not on leashes. That was normal in my childhood in the States. Cats tied to trees, though? Weird. I've never seen that in other cities in China!)

    1. Hi "Laoshi",

      The spitting here is constant and seemingly endless. Mostly men and old women. One of my classmates started spitting so now we call him "honorary Chinese"!

      Even though Chengdu women are considered very beautiful I have found as a non-Sichuan woman I get a surprising amount of attention here. I look quite different from local women so many that is why.

      The cats are extremely weird and 100% would be considered animal abuse in the United States. But, it's China!


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