Buy Beer in a bag. In many parts of China, you can buy beer by the kilogram. You walk to the store, take a plastic bag off of the beer tap, pour the beer in the plastic bag, weigh the bag and pay accordingly. Then you head down to neighborhoods that are Centuries old, or ancient imperial parks just sipping on your beer. Try doing that next time you’re visiting Liberty Bell.
Visit Paris without going to France. Make a full-size copy of the Eiffel Tower, including surrounding buildings. Build it all on a government dime and have absolutely no one want to live there. Have the rest of the town abandoned and surrounded by farm lands. That’s China for you.
Advertise your daughter for marriage by posting her personal stats on a tree in a matchmaking gathering in a public park: (Female, 1975, 1.63m (5’5″), Bachelors, White collar job in a Japanese company, about 6000 yuan salary, friendly person, pretty, call this number). Then negotiate the terms of your daughter’s marriage with the parents of her future husband.
Buy an Affordable Bespoke Suit. In China, you can buy a new tailor-made suit and shirt, and have it completed and ready to wear in 2-3 hours. Oh, and did I mention that it will typically cost you less than a hundred bucks?
Visit Communist Hallmarks that are Painfully Capitalist. Visit the (largely unvisited, eerily empty) founding site of the Chinese Communist Party–right next to the Xintiandi shopping center, a McDonald’s, a Starbucks, and dozens of gift shops and street vendors waiting outside to sell you souvenirs of Mao and Zhou En-Lai.
See what Construction is really about. See skyscrapers, rail lines, bridges, and entire neighborhoods go up in a span of weeks–with half a dozen cranes always on the horizon and new projects finished every day right next to brick homes, city walls, parks and temples that are thousands of years old.
Experience a Billion people. You’ll drown, literally DROWN in the sea of people that is China. Wait ten minutes for the subway in the morning, and even longer for the bus—if people actually bother to line up. When you visit a pool or water park in the summer, you might just get wetter from your nieghbour’s perspiration than from the actual water in the pool.
Enjoy Great Public Transportation. Experience working public transportation. Yes, trains and subways in China are among the world’s most efficient. Don’t worry about not having a car as China has nearly 10,000 km of high-speed rail and is rapidly continuing to expand this. Oh yeah, and train tickets in China are flat-price, first-come first-service, unlike Amtrak and Megabus.
Be safe at night. Violent crime is extremely rare in China compared to similar cities in the US, and most Chinese cities are reasonably safe to walk around at night. There are thieves, but they’re mostly pickpockets looking to steal your wallet or phone on a crowded bus or subway, not physically mug you. Gun-wielding criminals are almost unheard of, which means you can safely and efficiently escape sketchy situations with a car, taxi, bus, or even a bicycle. Cycle safely.
Cycle Safely. In most Chinese cities, bicycle lanes are several meters wide, and there are always well-labelled local roads between large cities. Bicycles, tricycles and more recently “motorized unicyles” are pretty much everywhere.
Buy Cheap Organic Food. Buy organic, locally grown vegetables for less than you would pay in the supermarket. Please tell me of any whole foods or farmer’s market in the States where this is possible? – Granted, with all the pollution here in the Middle Kingdom, your pesticide covered tomatoes might still be healthier than the “Xi Hong Shi” that were grown by Xiao Wang, the Beijing farmer.
Try Crazy Dishes. In China, you can buy a bag of preserved chicken feet in any seven-eleven and munch on them on your long distance train to some distant Chinese city. Your fellow passengers will actually prefer those sumptuous feet to a bag of pistachios. And like always in China, you’ll get the added excitement of not being 100% sure whether what you’re eating is chicken. Hell, you can’t even be sure if it’s actually an animal!
Taobao. Buy padded speedos, fake sneakers, a dress for your poodle or whitening products of you’ve been out in the sun for too long. Seriously, everything you can imagine can be purchased on taobao and it will usually be shipped to you that same day!
Set off Fireworks, All day Err’Day (呃天一整天) . China is the place where you can set off enough fireworks on every street corner of your neighbourhood on Chinese NY Eve to leave it looking like a war zone. In China, everything is an excuse to set off firecrackers andyou can of course order them on taoabo.
By Ginger de Ridder, Account Manager at Teaching Nomad
About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education Recruitment Company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at www.teachingnomad.com/job-search for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!