I have to confess I had no culture shock, just some surprises since moving to China. Nevertheless I have encountered certain surprises that I had to learn to cope with.
Cars. A sea of cars. They do not drive fast, but somehow … strangely. We. joke with the expats that Chinese drive cars like scooters.
The main problem is that they do not respect pedestrians. The motto is, “You haven’t got the car? That’s your problem.” It takes a bit of time to learn how to cross the street, but I have to admit that it is easier to do it in Beijing than in Cairo. The secret is – start crossing on the red light, as you do when it’s green. Turning cars might drive on you, but all in all there are not many car accidents seen in a street because of the limited speed.
Elevators. Another surprise. Several times I could not exit an elevator as the crowd was rushing in, and I was pushed back. They do not wait. Don’t be polite if you need to get out of the elevator. Just go. This situation is changing however. In some public buildings there are some instructions near the elevator – to let people out first.
Lines. Never leave a bigger distance in front of you otherwise you risk to get three Chinese there. They look at you surprised if you start complaining – IT WAS AN EMPTY SPACE !There are no empty spaces in China.
Spitting. Yes. It still exists. One needs to be careful in the street. A person passing you or walking behind you coughs – watch out. Your shoes are in danger.
Noise. A group of Chinese. They look agitated, shouting on each other. Your perception is wrong. This is just how they speak. Chinese restaurants are quite noisy…
Mobile phones. Big, constantly used, everywhere, by everyone. Talking, taking photos, chatting. They can text while crossing the street or driving. I saw the girl bumping into the wall as she was reading something in her mobile while walking.
That much for now for surprises in China. To be continued. You can have a look at my book Ani Right