I came across some very interesting things in China on my recent trips. There was the climate, the culture shock, and all the wonderful and weird food.
Part of the ‘culture shock’ came about when I realised how different table manners and etiquette are from where I come from. Slurping is normal, burping is acceptable, and spitting your clam shells onto the table next to you is perfectly fine. Even in nice restaurants with white table cloths and a pianist. Being new to this I was somewhat shocked, my Westernized eyebrows raised, until months later I was told that eating with your fingers is appallingly barbaric in China, exactly what I was doing most of the time with my fries and sushi. Where are my manners?
Jack fruit, the world’s smelliest fruit. I passed this in supermarkets and fruit stalls and it has a very distinct aroma. Like overripe paw-paws but a lot more intense. Like sweet rotten death. I love the dried version, but I didn’t try the fresh.
The signs, of course.
Genuine, 100%, leather-FEELING.
This is what the bathroom scale tells you every time. The voice commands would probably say ‘One at a time please’, just to make sure your self-esteem is thoroughly destroyed for the rest of your day.
Let’s have some classic tea with a Western twist -coffee flavoured!
Floor no 14 please. Wait, what?! Fourteen phonetically sounds like death in Chinese and is considered bad luck. So there is no 14th floor. Yes this boggled my mind too, is this an empty floor? How did they take it away? But no, the floors are just named that way to skip the dreaded no 14. When I asked hotel staff about this, they would shrug and look very uncomfortable and walk away hastily.
‘Stop! Buy an iPhone 5!’
‘It’s the real deal, we make it right here!’
‘Omg, I suddenly feel deathly embarrassed. I can’t look.’
‘Please stop now.’