Smattering of Vignettes from China (Part 1)

I sometimes have a smattering of small vignettes that do not require a larger piece on their own, but also don’t fit neatly as an example within a story. So I will occasionally release a rattling off of stories from across a place I’ve explored. Enjoy! This one is in regards to otherwise gross or jarring moments I discovered during my travels in China.

Guy smoking while pumping gas. So I’m waiting at the station for my bus to depart and I see the driver filling up the tank. Smoking a cigarette. Terrified, as scenes of Zoolander race before me. And that’s when I realize that, indeed, all the buses in the city of Zhuhai are electric, not gas, which makes me wonder: Is the city truly a green city, or does the ubiquity of smoking force their hand at the risk of exploding gas tanks? My logic tells me obviously the former, but my cynicism heavily believes in the latter

Cockroach in the food. I went to the canteen and ordered some stir fry. As I was waiting, a little roach made its way into the food. Some students were horrified and pointed it out to the chef. Without missing a beat, he looked down, took his cooking utensils, reached in to remove the little cretin and threw him in the trash. He then carried on using those very utensils to cook and kept all the ingredients he previously touched with cockroach juice. And he carried on cooking like nothing happened. (Pretty sure that little bugger did not remain in the trash can very long, being a sentient creature and not a piece of paper.)

Dog meat! I have only once seen a restaurant in China blatantly advertise dog meat. It was in Beijing, and the sign read “The best dog meat in all of China.” So that’s the standard that was set within a week of coming to China, and I never saw it advertised like that in the years since. That is until I went to rural, rural Guizhou Province, and sure enough, it’s there in the window. Gourou. Dog meat, with myriad styles to choose from.

Lining up. Spitting. Litter. These are the usual things people bitch about when talking about rural China. Sometimes I forget these things exist, because in a city like Zhuhai or Foshan, they’re reasonably well developed and “civilized” (to use the word the Chinese government likes to use.) But going to backwards Guizhou, sure enough, they were fully on display. And perhaps it says a lot about how I’ve readjusted my standards in just a few years, but even when people smoked and spat on the trains I wasn’t as bodily repulsed as much as I was just disappointed.

Dongda anus bowel Hospital of Guiyang and intestinal disease. This was an advertisement on a bus for a hospital. I’ve written it here exactly as it appeared; no fibbing. I don’t know why it’s in English, as no foreigner should ever step foot in there, lest they wish to contract the very thing it claims to be curing.

Friend hacked the US!? My coworker/friend and I were messing around one day with his video games, and apparently he has virtual reality stuff set up in his room. So side note: it is a seriously disorienting experience. It’s engrossing and weirdly fun, but ultimately seems like a pathetic way for the future. Are we really going to live in a future where we go hang out with friends with buckets on our heads swinging plastic remotes through thin air at virtual objects? I hope not.

Anyways, as I was slaughtering zombies in Central Park, my buddy casually told me he once hacked websites in the US. He was very calm and told me that he was trained as a computer programmer in Dalian (a kinda techy city in the North) and that it’s insanely easy to hack into most websites.  Which is a scary thought, and is probably why they don’t care about credit card security here. It’s so easy to hack, why bother trying defending yourself. I’m not sure I’m supposed to know this information? Am I supposed to report him to the FBI!?


Like what you’re reading on China? Check out some other related articles in: The China Chronicles!

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