What is the strangest thing that happened to you as a foreigner in China?
Dan Pres, studied at San Diego State University
For this to make sense, you need to understand a few things about me. I am big and tall. I am very tall. For those statisticians out there, I am in the third standard Deviation of tall (taller than 99.7% of the people in the U.S.). I am 6′5″ When I went to Beijing for the Olympics, I was around 270 pounds (I’m down to 235, thanks to my new diet. Details in comments if you ask). Anyhow, being that tall is one thing in the U.S. Being that tall in Beijing? Wow. The people were much shorter than I, in general. It was rare to have someone come up to my shoulders. Walking around town, I was the center of attention. The People from the country side, who had rarely if ever had seen a white man? I was a freak beyond freaks. Even to the Beijing residents, I was a curiosity.
Now, I go to the Olympics because I collect Olympic pins. I trade them, I sell them, I collect them. I’ve found that wearing my pins is the best way to go about having them ready to trade. Over the years, I’ve developed my system, and I must say it is remarkably successful.
I wear a hot pink smock covered with Hundreds of pins. This allows me to walk, move, trade, escape the police (they don’t like traders blocking up traffic). Anyhow, you can imagine, 6′5″ 270 pounds, wearing pink, covered with pins, in the center of Beijing? My first time in my pin get up was in Tienanmen Square the week before the games. People were around me 10 deep. When I went to the Olympic Park, I was socked in 15 people deep. Everyone was friendly.
The strangest thing to happen to me in Beijing? I was the strangest thing to happen to Beijing!
译文来源：无极4 http://www.abaripsen.com/47682.html 译者：Joyceliu
Vincent Carruthers, former Bouncer (1995-2018)
1.Many Chinese people are clearing their throats a lot and then spit on the sidewalk, or under the table in a restaurant as I witnessed. This must be part of their old culture. I saw a “spit box” from the 14th century in the Du Fu thatched cottage museum, in Chengdu. It is mostly men who like to spit, but I saw (heard) women as well.
2.I was in the same hotel several times. Every night around 22:00 someone would shove little cards under my door with scarcely dressed ladies on them with telephone numbers. It was just a regular hotel, nothing sleazy or dirty about it. I was with my girlfriend and not looking for company, and we were in different rooms during our stays. I believe someone is putting these cards under all doors in this hotel every night. So the staff must know about it, you cannot do this unnoticed every night (or otherwise the hotel would not be very safe).
3. Near Jiuzhaigou, a famous national park with Tibetan influence, I saw of lot of disgusting pieces of animals hanging to dry in the sun. I was told that these were the reproductive organs of a male yak. Indeed I had seen yak penis on the menu of restaurants in Jiuzhaigou…
4. Chinese love to eat and like to invite the foreigner to a meal. I was invited and every Chinese wanted to drink with me. A glass of strong liquor, rice wine. So when you have a group of 5 or 6 men (as in my case) they all take turns to drink with me, saying “ganbei” (bottoms up). This resulted in me having drunk 6 glasses and my Chinese dinner mates all had one glass each. After one bottle I said “no more” (hard to say no, they were already disappointed that I didn’t take their cigarettes) and that I wanted to drink beer. Most times beer is only 2,5 - 3% alcohol in China. So we continued with the beer. I had to pee a lot that evening…
4. 中国人喜欢吃，喜欢邀请外国人一起吃饭。我被邀请了，每个中国人都想和我一起喝酒。喝的是烈酒，米酒。如果你跟5到6个人一起吃饭，他们会轮流和我喝酒，嘴里说着“干杯”。我不得不喝了6杯，我的中国同事每人都喝了一杯。喝了一瓶后，我说“不能再喝了”(很难拒绝，他们已经对我没有拿他们的香烟感到失望了)，可我想喝的是啤酒。在中国，大多啤酒的酒精含量只有2.5 - 3%。所以我们接着喝起了啤酒。那天晚上我上了无数次厕所…
Rod Karolys, teacher at Metropolitan University
ANYONE WHO PLANS TO GO TO CHINA TO TEACH, I BEG YOU TO READ THIS FIRST.
I wouldn’t recommend China to anybody. Seven years ago, I went to China to be an English teacher. I went there with the most open mind. I tried my best at learning Mandarin, met and married a Chinese girl and even had a kid there. That part is all okay. What wasn’t okay was how I was treated by my employer and subsequently by the Chinese government.
When the university I was teaching at (Shanxi Normal University in Linfen, Shanxi Province) found out that I got married, they freaked out. The director (Liu Yaning) said it wasn’t allowed for a foreign teacher to marry a local (even though we got a legal marriage paper from the government) and that I should obtain a divorce and I should encourage her to undergo an abortion forthwith. As any sane person might guess, my response was a very loud, very clear FUCK YOU.
I quit that same day and received an employment offer from another school four hours away before I’d even walked off the campus. A few weeks into my new job, I received a visit from the goon squad (foreign affairs police) who asked me lots of questions about how I found the new school, why I quit the old one, blah blah blah. As they were leaving, I noticed the plate on their car was from Linfen, which just happened to be the district of the university I quit. A few weeks after that, my new boss informed me that he couldn’t use me anymore. When I asked him why, he told me that the university was sending trouble his way for hiring me.
So once again I reached out to my contacts and got a job offer on the other side of the country (from Shanxi Tai Yuan to Zhejiang Taizhou). Long story short, I was working in Taizhou about two months when the school director there told me the exact same thing: The university in Linfen had located me and was threatening him with a lawsuit for stealing “their” teacher. Once again my wife and I had to pack our things and move, this time to Henan province. The director of that university assured me that he would renew my visa under his school, that he has no problems with his foreign teachers to be married to locals, and that he would tell the original university to piss off should they contact him.
Six weeks into that gig, the director called me to inform me that he had gotten an appointment for me to change my visa that afternoon, and would I please come to the office after my last class. So I went to the office, got in the director’s car and he drove me to the local entry/exit bureau. When I got there I was informed that I was being deported. I was in the police station for all of 15 minutes before I was taken in a police van under heavy escort and driven to the airport in Beijing, 14 hours away. When I protested that I am married to a local and that we have a child, they responded, “no problem, you can take them with you.”
I lost everything. I only wanted to have a family, and those sneaky yellow bastards took it away from me. My life savings, down the toilet. When my wife went to her home district (Linfen) to apply for a passport, all the cops there already knew her situation and were like, “So, you want to go abroad to join your husband? It’s gonna cost you, haha.” By the time she was able to get out of China, our daughter had turned 2 and was required to pay for a full seat. Two tickets from China to Ecuador cost me over $6000. Bribes to the local constabulary cost me over $10000. Add visa fees, document translation (Chinese to Spanish ain’t cheap), multiple trips from Linfen to Beijing, and this whole thing easily cost me $20000. And I missed out on the first two years of my daughter’s life.
The outcome is that we now live in Ecuador. Within 3 weeks of their arrival, both my wife and daughter obtained Ecuadorian citizenship. My employer congratulated me on my nice family. Anyone who’s thinking of going to China to work, let this story be a giant red flag for you. There is a reason Chinese employers offer such attractive packages (round-trip airfare, free luxury apartment, meal card, top-tier salary) to prospective foreign workers. All this comes at a price: they will own you as soon as you step off the plane.
5.Chinese are spending 80% of their waking hours on their smartphones. Taxi drivers chat on Wechat while driving and in restaurants people communicate with their phones in stead of just talking to each other.
6. Chinese public toiltets are often… well… public. Mostly squat toilets and sometimes there are no doors, so everybody is doing his thing in plain sight. Even when there is a door in the stall it’s not always used. In Chengdu airport I went to the toilets and saw a man in business suit, door open and pants down, sitting above his toilet. He made quite some noise too, and not with his mouth…
I didn’t make a pic of that scene.
EDIT: I don't want to give the impression that my visit in China was a negative experience. I was fascinated and had a wonderful time.
John Jerles, Father, Husband, Computer Geek, Amateur Photographer, Gamer, World Traveler
This is my favorite “China” story.
Back when I first moved to China I had a craving for non-Chinese food. So my Chinese wife, her mother and I went to a restaurant appropriately called “Western Restaurant”
At this point, I only spoke a few words of Chinese and couldn’t read a single character. So, as you can imagine, I was very happy when the waitress came over and handed me a menu that was completely in English. (My wife and her mother were handed menus that were in Chinese.)
A few minutes later it came time to order our meal. My mother-in-law ordered what she wanted. My wife ordered what she wanted. The waitress then turned to me.
I was feeling all kinds of confident and happy. I opened my English menu and pointed to the dish I wanted. The waitress made a hand gesture saying they didn’t have that dish available.
Undaunted, I flipped a couple pages and pointed to another item. Again, the waitress waved her hand signalling that I was out of luck. Feeling a little annoyed, I flipped to my last choice and she again dismissed it with a wave of her hand.
I turned to my wife and said, “I don’t want to waste any more time figuring out what they do and don’t have. Can you ask her to just point to the things they do have so we can have our lunch?”
My wife translated my request and the waitress replied without showing any emotion. My wife smiled and said to me, “They don’t have anything in that menu. It doesn’t even belong to this restaurant.”
I looked at my wife and asked, “Why would they hand me a menu that wasn’t even theirs?”
My wife just shrugged and said, “Because it was in English.”
Edit #1: Over 2,000 upvotes? Thank you all so very much. I really didn’t expect this much attention to a story I thought was funny. In order to answer some of the many questions I have received, please let me add a few details.
Where was this restaurant at? The restaurant was located in the Tian He district of Canton (Guangzhou).
What did you end up eating? My wife ordered Chao Siu Bao (sp?) or Steamed BBQ Pork Buns for me. I have been told this is a child’s dish, but I absolutely loved it and it remains one of my favorite foods today.
Why didn’t you leave? My wife and mother-in-law had already ordered and I was hungry. So leaving would have caused more trouble than it solved. Besides, the food turned out to be pretty good.
Isn’t “Welcome to China moment” kind of insulting? Not at all. Whenever you travel to any other country (I have lived in many) you have a moment that lets you know that you are in a different country. There were so many things I loved about my life in China. This one was just so funny that it stuck in my mind.
What was your favorite Chinese food? This is a really difficult one. SO many great foods. But, my favorite food is something even most Chinese people think is weird. I love it because it was really tasty and really kind of odd.
Snake blood fried rice. Oh my god, this stuff was great! There was a village restaurant in Guangzhou that made snake hot pot. You would even get to pick out the snake you wanted to eat and they would kill it and prepare it for you while you watched. Amazing. They would then use the blood from your snake to make the snake blood fried rice. I know it sounds disgusting, but trust me, it was amazing.
However, if they offer you a shot of baiju (rice liquor) with the snake’s gall bladder squeezed into it, feel free to say no. That stuff was kind of nasty. :)