Day 234 (25th April) – Yangshou to Xian

19 05 2011

We hired bikes and spent the morning slowly exploring Yangshou. I have never been anywhere so jam packed full of tourists. It was like Oxford Street in every direction. I know we are visiting many of China’s main tourist sights, but they have all been rammed full of tourists. Remember this is the country that had the one week traffic jam!!

We were unable to purchase a sleeper train ticket to Xian, so instead took the sleeper bus. With fully flat beds, it was comfortable, if not a little short. The stuff we have seen on this journey to Xian – words can’t explain and photos would be too graphic for this little old blog. The cultural contrasts are huge. Firstly, when using any mode of transport including walking, it seems acceptable to travel around forcing other people out of the way or to stop. Should the other person not change course or stop, there will be an accident. This would probably explain why we have seen many car crashes, up to four in one day. Pushing in also seems ok here.

The spitting is getting ridiculous. From what we have observed, it’s a foul habit predominantly undertaken by men and middle aged women out on the streets and in any public space. However, when indoors it’s common to spit into a tissue, bag or bin. When one person coughs or hacks up a chunk of phlegm it seems to spur on a couple of others to do the same.

On this marathon bus trip, we also witnessed the worst toilet ever… Like most shocking toilets, it is the smell that hits you first. From the doorless entrance, I could see a 10m white tiled urinal running down the left side of the rectangular room – all fairly standard. It was down the right hand side that my general hygiene and sanitary senses started to tingle. Another tiled trough on the right hand side no cubicles, no partition, no privacy. Not normal, very not normal. Now a step into this toilet from hell those hygiene and sanitary senses started going haywire when I spotted a guy squatted down at the far end taking a dump. Then those senses hit new highs, or lows, with the sighting of small piles of poo on the tiled trough. I was actually paralysed with disgust.

Jen could confirm a similar horror story in the ladies with the usual absence of toilet paper or soap. This is definitely the one country to get a dicky stomach.

Another odd one here is the practice of cutting a big hole in the backside of toddlers’ trousers so when they bend over they expose their dirty bottoms. Also, some Chinese people can talk very aggressively at you, for example, at breakfast I don’t know if the waitress was having a go at me or asking if I would like tea or coffee with my breakfast. The list is simply endless – it’s hard to continue the list without it becoming offensive.

Just one more – other than the staring no one seems to acknowledge us on the street. A smile, wave or ‘Ni Hao’ (hello in Mandarin) is met with a stony expression – we get no recognition back. Like I said, strange place.




One response

19 05 2011

Methinks you presume too much -the poor lad just split his trousers bending down – bit like the woman bobsleigher ???????????????

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