The pollution. As we were landing in Beijing I could see a brownish fog over the city. It made everything hazy as you can probably tell by my pictures of The Forbidden City.
The inability to understand anyone and to keep having to ask my cousin, "What are they saying?" It is weird to be in a place where you are the outsider, unable to communicate
The squatty potties. As some of you probably know, in China they do not have many "western" toilets. The squatties kind of look like a toilet bowl in the ground and in theory you should be able to squat over them (doesn't always work out so good!). I had prepared myself to use the squatties even going so far as to using my first one as I got off the airplane (I had held it for 7 hours!). My cousin later informed me that the airport has tons of western toities and that I had probably used one of the only squatties there. From then on I waited until we found westerns everywhere we went!!
The throwing of the toilet paper in the trash. Bet you didn't know that!! All toilet paper, and I mean ALL, is thrown in the trash can and not flushed. I acclimated to many things in China. This was not one of them!! (Be very thankful there is no picture of this!!)
The smell of many of the people. Please don't think I'm being derogatory here...I'm not. But they really do have a different smell. As near as my cousin can figure out it is because they eat a lot of garlic and other spices and they wear their long johns until at least May 1st. So...those two things combined make for an unusual aroma. This is extremely noticeable as you are riding on a subway, body to body.The continuous hacking up of loogies and spitting them. My cousin said she had told me about this before I came but I must have blocked it out. Anyway, they, both men and women, do it everywhere (I even saw people doing it in the airport.) so you really have to watch where you are walking on the street. Thankfully the foreigners I met have not adopted this cultural hygiene habit!
The chopsticks. In the USA, when you get tired of chopsticks you get to pick up your fork and use that instead. In China, there are no forks!! So, you either sink or swim. I swam in a clumsy sort of way. Food did make it to my mouth and I was never hungry but it did take some effort, especially with the rice!!
The Christmas decorations everywhere. In almost every restaurant we ate at, many of the stores we were in, and even the churches we attended there were Christmas decorations. I had never seen so many Santa's in April. The church we went to on Easter had wreaths on the wall and their Christmas tree still up in the front of the church. I guess they just love the colors, especially the red. My cousin said that most of them will be up all year long.
Up next...What I miss about China.....