- Babies. Their faces are so round, their eyes so beautiful, and their black hair sticks up like they’ve been shocked.
- The old people. They dance at night; they put on their pajamas after dinner at 6 and stroll through the streets, they play cards and sing in all the parks, and they stare at foreigners the way I would stare at a man with two heads.
- The smells. Some people think the pungeant smells are disgusting, but I love having the experience of encountering a olefactory cacophany of smells – sewage, spices, baking bread, steamed dumplings, vinegar, more sewage, coal burning, grilled meat, sliced pineapple – at every step.
- The cost of beauty procedures. I can get my nails done for 30 RMB, my hair cut and blown out for 20 RMB, and a foot massage for 36 RMB. I have no excuse for looking sloppy, ever.
The Things I Hate About China
- Looking up things on the internet. I mean, really, China. Do you have something against the thesaurus? Doing work on the internet should not be this hard. Learn to love Wikipedia the way I do. And six hours to upload a photo? You must be kidding.
- Nearly getting killed every time I try to cross the street. The cabs, bikes, cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedicabs, and people bearing down on me are not literally trying to kill me – as evidenced by the screeching of brakes when I make a mistake and step too close to them – but it certainly feels that way.
- Spitting. Having guests makes me more aware of the wind up hocking noise and the ensuing spit on the ground. What makes the experience more interesting is when the spitters are in a public place, like inside an airport terminal. Wind up hock…wait for it…where will he spit it, you ask, not wanting to see but not being able to stop. Finally, the spitter finds a waste bin – but is the phlegm recycleable or non-recyclable?