Clarabella Speaks.

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves" - Shakespeare

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Clarabella speaks Mandarin: 你 好

Ni hao! When I left Paris almost a year ago I may have mentioned a couple of times how I was ready to take on the world. Well I took those words quite literally and ended up in China. Uh oh. If you thought me adding random Spanish and French words into the mix before was bad, just imagine how much you are going to love the chinese characters!

So far I have been here a grand total of 11 days, I pretty much skipped the honeymoon period altogether (supposed to last 2-3 months) and hit the irritability phase within 24 hours (totally unexpected as you would never imagine I was easily irritated, LOL). With this, and much to your delight I'm sure, came a list of rare (i.e weird for all those unfortunate non-Northern Irish peeps among ya)  and annoying things about this country that I just do not understand. Problem is, however, this is China, so I'm not sure what is okay or not to write. I'm going to proceed with what I perceive as harmless and if you think something I say might get me deported sure send me a wee message with a heads up.

Number one. Not only do they not wear nappies, many kids wear bum-less and crotch-less pants (so fetch), or there are some who just don't even bother with bottom-half clothing at all. Aside from the obvious environmental and economical benefits of this rather endearing habit, the big plus is that they can just pee and poo in the street as and when they need. Sure who cares about hygiene, why did we Westerners not think of this sooner? 

Number two. Imagine hearing someone with a cold hocking and clearing their throat in the bathroom, behind closed doors. Gross right? Now imagine hearing that several times a day, IN THE STREET, and wondering whether their spit landed on your leg. Definitely not on my top ten list of my all time favourite foreign habits. Then again, apparently blowing your nose in public is considered dirty and rude, so maybe we are the ones in the wrong. 

Number three. The food. I mean HOW MUCH RICE CAN ONE PERSON EAT?! Let alone oil, sugar, salt and MSG. Yummy. I have to admit that I have had some nice meals, but the stray dogs running around one restaurant, and the big fat 0 they had for food hygiene (I found out after I'd eaten there twice) have put me off chinese cuisine for a while. Unfortunately my chopstick skills will now badly suffer from lack of practice - I've never appreciated the good old knife and fork so much in my life. I suppose at least they don't eat with their hands.  

Not being one to complain, I'm going to end this blog with some not so negative thoughts. A lot of the local people I have met have been very nice and even though they laugh and take pictures of us, they are more likely to help us practise our (non-existent) Mandarin on them than we would be if they were to come to the UK, AND they let me take photos of them. I suppose it's the culture, not the actual people that have bothered me, I mean if they came to N.I I reckon they might have a thing or two to say about our national food, the good oul' spud. And anyway, as of the weekend and our trip to the Great Wall, Angry Clare has not been seen and instead snap-happy me is out in force (photos below). The thousand odd steps we climbed to get to the top must have released some sort of endorphins. Roll on the Great Wall half-marathon training (yes I probably am crazy)!

Actually OMG somebody has just walked past me projectile vomiting the whole way to the bathroom. There are actual puddles of sick on the floor, and someone else just walked in them. I'm a Westerner, get me out of here!