Modern China is an industrial city, the robots at airports, workaholics, however, that in poverty there are millions of people. Last year Victoria Vinicka went to learn the local language and culture in a small by Chinese standards, town — Kaifeng. There’s a girl survived about four months, but love does not happen. In today’s text, she talks about life in the other universe, which will not please everyone.
Kaifeng was the first capital of China, but sights are almost there: because of the frequent floods, the city has been rebuilt many times. The first impression was not very good: I saw a bunch of people who ate and slept at the airport. When we were driving around town, I thought I was in a local Celebrity — it was.
We settled at the hostel, I saw a shower in mold, the room in dust and dirt. Seemed to clean it is unreal. Tiles were constantly falling off, on an iron bed lay a firm mattress. Exhausted, I lay curled up on the bed and cried. Little by little, day after day, I tried to clean the room. Read reviews about different detergents and finally washed. Began to live like human beings.
In the streets there were so many people that cries first time had a headache. And literally every passer-by stopped, pointing at you, finger and shouted: “Laowai! Laowai!” — which translated roughly means “foreigner”.
China is about the food
Eat anything and everything. The country can be divided into two parts: one half cooks, the other consumes. Eat everywhere. In the city center there is a van with food, where you can try roaches, Scorpions, crabs. The cockroaches to try no chance — too much of a coward. But the Scorpions remind of a spicy seasoning, which squeaks in your mouth.
The food is dire, sometimes tasty, is unclear. If you like dishes in Chinese restaurants, it is not the fact that like what they actually eat Chinese. They eat much, but fat people are almost there. The portions are much larger than in any Minsk restaurant while standing 3-4 of the Belarusian ruble. By the way, tomatoes are considered fruits, so they are often sold as snacks in caramel.
The portions, again, is just huge, I never ate until the end. If you understand the dishes that you can eat really tasty food. The beef is cooked much softer than ours. I also loved the soup malatan. Fill a bowl ingredients: meat, herbs, mushrooms, vegetables, and you cook this spicy soup.
To what extent Minsk not enough Chinese street food. “Sandbox” does not count, it does not. In China night out of campus and in front of you to choose a lot of different trucks: buns, Scorpions, soups, noodles, cockroaches — have it all. If you know who to take, it will be as good.
At first I didn’t understand why the streets with food smells. It turned out it smells awful tofu. In China, sell fresh air, but to better understand them, you need to sell the smell of tofu.
White men exotic animals
In the city where I live, foreigners are rare, some saw them first time in my life. Because of the cult throughout the West they can’t resist: please, WeChat, trying to make friends, call in the movie, touting phrases like, “your mother-in-law is not needed?”.
Girls color their hair in the heat undress and wear jackets, not to sunbathe. Bleach the skin that often looks awful, vizueta in the end spots. Stores sell devices that help to lift the eyelids or to enlarge the eyes.
There is a part for white — go to clubs and drink with the Chinese. Paid hourly, you just need to hang in the club, but for Chinese you a private hotel room will be removed. To drink, they can not immediately get drunk. Some of the kids and earned.
Very specific people
They don’t understand that you need space. Can almost stand up in the subway and consider you, even if the car is almost empty. They touch your hair, in principle, trying to touch, and well, if they do not cough in your face.
Once in the city centre with a friend I sat down on the bench — five minutes later we have a line of Chinese. One mom even woke her year-old baby to take pictures of him with us. For them to see a white man is a miracle, especially in a small town where we lived.
No one hesitates to spit right at his feet, to dig deeper in the nose or make a loud belch. Be it a businessman or just a student on campus. In fact, the Chinese can understand they have a policy of life — “you only live once, everything is possible, everything in this world for me.”
By the way, now because of the coronavirus text messages come with a request to carry paper handkerchiefs, not to spread the infection.
You never miss machine: the rules they either do not know or simply do not comply. The first time was scary to cross the road, but gradually get used to it. By the way, I have never seen accidents.
People will push you to go ahead in order to squeeze into the bus, the subway, the store, to the cashier at the station or at the airport. And generally wherever they need, and they clearly have somewhere more important to go than you. Pretend you don’t exist when it comes to queue.
Nightwear is a very common garment in China. You can meet whole families strolling in their pajamas and Slippers. The impression that people are going back with a big pajama party.
Phone dependence and lack of English
The majority of Chinese do not know English very well. Or rather, hard to know. More precisely, I don’t know at all. To explain in public places had on the fingers, and then the relations depend on the acting skills and the ability to play “crocodile”. The first time came back from the store with nothing because I simply do not understand the seller, or I him. Over time, begin to understand them, but that does not prevent you to order in a cafe, if I saw a familiar character, a century egg is a Chinese delicacy. However, to try did not dare — so it stinks.
It struck me that every Chinese person, whether a man or a little child has a smartphone. WeСhat — their whole life. Replaces instant messengers and social networks. There are recording voice messages, exchange photos, talk on the phone, via video, post history. And, most importantly, through a QR code pay — rolls with my grandfather in his wagon of vegetables and fruits on the market. Cash the Chinese almost never use.
Even the homeless have WeChat or Аlipay: that’s the way they beg, cash use does not make sense. Sometimes surprised, seeing I have paper money.
And at the airport long dealt with the fact that my name is too long for the Chinese, which is used to do this a maximum of three characters. At first I was trying to speak English, but when I realized that their version of English I don’t understand, we switched to Chinese.
The scope of poverty and wealth
Small construction dump and thrift store will coexist with high-end business center. To get to the Parking lot, where there are “Tesla” and “Maserati”, you need to get in the pool, which is carefully organized worker nearby cafe. Going to ordinary residential ghetto, you will see how the house is built on the house, everything is falling apart, the smell will corrode the eye, the quarter will be a couple of public toilets, because the houses they are not, the streets will run huge rats. But people are more carefree than we are. Perhaps because they do not see the world that information is hidden, that he lived so all his life. However, they feel normal, after all, live with what is. Most Chinese with whom I spoke, did not leave even of their own province, not to mention travel to other countries.
Chinese old people are very active and happy life. What is striking in their behavior the most is dancing in the street. Each shopping centre provides dancing for the old men and women. For locals it is a way to pass the time in retirement, finding new friends and their health.
Although China banned casinos and other gambling games, it does not prevent local play Mahjong, Chinese checkers, chess. Judging by the intonations, they play for money.
Virtually all the cold season on the street with a high level of smog. This is due to the fact that in China almost everywhere coal heating. So in the winter most of the population goes in masks. At first I didn’t understand why you wear lenses and can’t see, and this was due to the fact that they were dirty from the smog and I haven’t washed them. When I was there before leaving last week, the level of smog just greatly increased. To reduce the number of motorists, the public transport was free. Come to the phone notices that the street is dangerous. And if you go to the fresh air (although in China it is not), the high smog you can’t see anything beyond 20 meters. And it will be difficult to breathe.
The worst thing is that I’ve seen — it’s not like the mother has her child on the stone table because he doesn’t understand the lessons (themes of feminism, domestic violence, sex they are stopped). Most disturbing is cock fighting. There are two rooster and pecking each other: blood, feathers, howling fly everywhere. And people are betting and having fun. Children, incidentally, also look at it calmly.
In General I didn’t feel like I live in some totalitarian country. Most of the prohibitions which are so fond of writing media, no. The only thing really forbidden is a popular social network type Facebook or Instagram, so the Chinese have their own equivalent. But in General there is VPN, which all enjoyed, and I have not heard any stories that someone punished for that. Of course, the Chinese authorities constantly threaten that all of this will overlap, but for every action there is a reaction, and any ban can be circumvented. Perhaps five years ago when I shut down Facebook, and there were some arrests and punishment, but now if you see in your phone Instagram, nobody arrested.
Communication and social networks not only worked on the weekly output dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. For the Chinese it’s a huge holiday, it is celebrated, perhaps even bigger than the New year.
The Chinese themselves know about the social networks and Google, but few people have interest in them. Many of them are so narrow minded that you don’t notice anything except his work.
Whatever wrote and say, what the Chinese are workaholics, I didn’t notice it. Rather, whenever possible, they go to sleep. If you come to the Bank for 50 minutes before closing, then you can’t go through, I would say to come tomorrow. If you do not have time to dine in a cafe the chef will sleep on the bench and unlikely to Wake up if you go to him. He had a lunch don’t touch it. And so everywhere. Teachers, for example, bring fitness mats and go to sleep during the break. To process nobody wants.
Most kids go to pants with a slit between her legs. So it is normal to put a child to pee in the middle of the city, and then it’s not clean. In every Mall there is a toilet, and generally free toilets they have everywhere, but this does not prevent mother to put her child over a trash can (at best).
Children are as a Buddha. They are permitted everything: to shout, to litter, to cry. And the Chinese garbage is the only way. Rare to see someone come up and throw something in the trash, usually whatever catches for themselves. This is the wipers. And they work quite well in the morning usually all removed.
About sex and God
The worst thing you can do is to speak about Mao Zedong. He is both God and Lord, and Father. His monument can be seen in almost every Park. A little thing called “Mao”.
In discussions with the Chinese about faith in God, they strongly answer: “It’s not scientific!” The Church there, but most are empty (even with so many people).
In China, the search engine will not find the word “sex”. I know a Chinese whose parents forced them to dump a girl because she allegedly was not a virgin. Sex only after marriage. Due to the fact that relevant information in the country a little, the Chinese in this respect is very shy. To buy a sex toy or other merchandise, you need to enter into a special “booth” where, as in a slot machine, you choose the desired item and pay for it via QR code.
By the way, no matter how disliked medicine in Asia, I about it had a good impression. Issued two insurance: Chinese and Belarusian. As far as I know, Chinese only covers death — the transfer of the body to the homeland. In Belarus, I covered all. Headache? Behind me comes a car with the insurer, driven to the hospital. There are interested in all the symptoms, quickly take the tests, give all the pills, take back. And within a week the doctor asked if all was okay. But lucky only to foreigners, the Chinese are sitting in mile-long queues to hear: “You’re not sick, go home!”
In China people don’t care how you’re dressed, whom you work. No one does not divide into black and white (perhaps it is only in the case of foreigners). In Minsk, if you behave relaxed, as in China, you will be on accusingly looking. Who are you anyway? Healthy? In China it is not so. They respect you, do not judge, stare, trying to communicate. The Chinese are much friendlier than we are. They never refuse to help, even in a greater degree and provide a disservice.
I learned to accept others. Realized that we have very beautiful people. Each unique image. You must pay more attention to details when the Chinese do not look the same to you face. They are also different.
A couple of days thinking what happened good in the journey that it liked. The bad is quickly forgotten, remains good. But I have a neutral opinion. I made friends with many children, traveling, walking. I communicated with the Chinese, and when I began to understand them, listening to what they say about me.
Was very pleased when the Chinese say that they know Belarus. And special respect caused those who know that Belarus is not white Russia (before it the name of our country was written in Chinese). You are in a foreign country, you are welcome.
Perhaps if I had more desire to love the country, I would be less crying and more familiar with. But I realized very different things when you go to a country as a tourist (eat in places for tourists to visit special places for tourists) and when you’re living on a par with the Chinese. Then see the reality. Would go back again? To live exactly there, and a tourist in the big city — maybe.
I had friends who went to the industrial city. So they had the opposite opinion: they dream of returning to live there. I don’t. It’s not mine, it’s not for me.
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