Heading to China (People’s Republic of China/Communist China) for a tour? How wonderful! You know their culture is thousands of years old? Oh, the beautiful, historic sites you will see. Absolutely fabulous.
There’s a really good book you should read before planning or going, so that you will be ready. Written by J. Maarten Troost, it is a travelogue of sorts, just published so it is very current. It is entitled, “Lost On Planet China,” and I’m sure you will enjoy Mr. Troost’s humor and observations.
One thing you may find a little shocking, and it’s something we’ve stopped doing centuries ago, is urinating in the streets. Yes, sometimes nature calls, you know. Mothers holding children to urinate in ashtray stands and waste bins is also rather common. Think nothing of it.
Now, we may think it is crude or impolite, but get used to people hawking up great gobs of mucous and expectorating. Yes, I know many of our municipalities have had ordinances prohibiting spitting on the sidewalk for a long time, but this is China. Walking around outside in any of the large cities is like smoking a pack of cigarettes. The irritation from pollution is hard on the sinuses and mucous membranes. It’s just natural that those enflamed tissues are going to be flushing out the pollutants, and it’s best to spit that out. Just watch where you step. That’s why they take their shoes off when then enter their homes.
You know, of course, that there are 1.3 billion people in China? Well, don’t plan on going when there is a national holiday over there! You think Disney World is crowded? They don’t mind pushing and jostling, or line-jumping, too. It’s just the way life is in a crowded country, so buck up.
Now the places you will be eating meals will probably be OK. I think. Did you know that China forbids foreign inspectors on their farms? Yes, they do their own inspections, thank you. The rice might be alright, but they do still use human waste as fertilizer. Pollution is really bad, too, from pesticides to heavy metals. Did I mention Salmonella, E. coli, or Campy? Hey, let’s just not talk about viruses or intestinal parasites. Does the word “chow” come from Chow Chow dog?
I hope I haven’t dissuaded anyone from going to China. You know, they need our dollar much more than we need it here in the USA. By the way, have you visited all of our National Parks yet, or other famous sites here at home? Maybe we should?
Chevy Chase ought to look into doing a lampoon movie on this one; “China Vacation.”