Squeezing the most out of life | An Aussie and a Colombian living life with a wandering spirit. Eight years together & over 60 countries up our sleeves, we're sharing the love |

Dazed, amused and a little disgusted on Planet China

Stopping in a city of over 6 million people, after the tranquility of rural China, can only be compared to stepping inside a thumping disco after a day of gardening. Kunming is crowded, developing faster than a child genius on growth hormones, and showing no sign of stopping it’s catapult in to full blown consumerism.

What’s most striking as you step past the homeless beggars hiding from the freezing Winter and step inside the luxurious shopping malls, is that China has well and truly cast off her Communist roots. You get the sense that the Chinese are grabbing the global economy by the horns and going to ride it hard to the death.

For me, the biggest challenge of a Chinese mega city, is the lack of personal space in a community of people that don’t know any different, and why should they. Where crowded isn’t really crowded until your face is physically forced up against the bus window. Chairman Mao’s all for one, one for all rhetoric appears to have been replaced by the get out of my way I’m coming through style of street walking.

As an Australian spoiled for space this is an adjustment I never get used to in crowded countries like China and India. Something happens to me and I turn in to the worst kind of arsey tourist, constantly appalled at people’s selfish behaviour. Apparently, waiting in line is for idiots and Japanese.

But my all time favourite disgusting Chinese behaviour, that hasn’t seemed to improve since last visit, is the abundance of street hacking. Before you know it, as you are racing through the crowds and trying to navigate traffic crossings, your attention is quickly alerted by a guttural, phlegm ridden super spit. You turn and some ginormous golly has been produced by a 4 feet tall grandmother or a small child.

No matter how far and wide I roam, spitting never becomes ok. It’s especially delightful on bus floors over long distances or with a hangover. And I’m sure in reverse, there are Australian habits that make the stomachs of other cultures turn. It all adds up to an interesting and diverse other planet experience.

These are the curious habits that arrest my attention in China, but there are so many positives that outweigh the weirdness. Like the food. And since, we are guessing, less than 1% of the people we encounter on the street speak English, we have taken great joy from talking as candidly as we want to each other in English. Amusing ourselves by discussing anything  distasteful that comes to mind while wading through the masses. Andres finds this particularly entertaining and is going out of his way to say the worst possible things in public, loudly, making me blush and stifle my bawdy kicks. No one can understand us but it’s a fun game.

Having said all that, we had the perfect Christmas Day exploring, eating and people watching, as well as finding the ideal temple to escape the hourdes and reflect peacefully on our families celebrating far away. But we know the true offerings of Yunnan Province are waiting for us away from the city, in more natural places, like our next stop – Dali!

Kris

   
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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