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Flag of China  ,
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We've just come back from an hour & a half walk, where we've been chatting about stuff & reflecting on our time here in Beijing so far, thought we'd put it down in black & white, the good, the bad, the bizarre etc!!

1) Window cleaning / Health & Safety. Whilst walking tonight, we pass a massive apartment block - approx 40 stories high, and there is a guy cleaning the windowns, nothing weird about that I hear you say..... no, but he was on a rope with a seat, kind of abseiling up & down without any safety harness just feeding the rope through with a bloke at the bottom feeding the rope as well - not sure if you'll get the full effect from the photos but OMG!!!!! Mental!

2) Cars - it's the norm to just abandon them anywhere, park on pavements, in the cycle lane, not just up against the kerb in the cycle lane, but a taxi distance away from the kerb. Or how about on a busy crossroads on the corner on the zebra crossing (which incidently count for nothing!!). Or lets just drop someone off in the rickshaw at a major crossing where the lights have just changed and everyone is waiting to cross. Whilst crossing the road, check both ways, just because you are crossing a lane where everyone is coming from the right, doesn't mean there isn't a few things coming from the left too!

3) Not having a car. Is actually bliss....... no expensive fuel to buy, or inconvenience queing up for petrol (it's never a good time is it). No worrying about the tax running out, the MOT being due, shopping around for a new insurance quote, things going wrong (I speak for myself & not Andy's car!), sitting in traffic queues on the motorway arriving at work late and in a bad mood (Rob, if you're reading, do you still do the 'I f-ing hate Wednesdays' thing??!!). So we are loving not having a car and arriving at work after a pleasant short walk.

4) Pavements - count for nothing either. You get beeped at by motobikes, rickshaws, delivery vehicles. People are just as bad, wander along thinking they own the pavement & won't move out of the way, often looking down at a phone, or listening to music. The general thing is 'if I'm not looking and I don't see you I don't have to move'!!! Yes we'll chunter away to ourselves, such as 'oh don't worry, I'll move' but there is never any agression that goes with it, everyone is just going about their business.

5) Lifts, similar thing really, I will get in the lift first, I will stand right by the buttons so that no-one else can press them, and I will press the close door button whilst people are still getting in. Then I will stand with my nose to the door waiting for it to open again, never minding who else needs to get out first!!

6) Subway (Andy is still calling it the tube!). See above - Lifts.....!

7) Silly little dogs (continued!) they are everywhere, and apparantley our compound is where the rich men house their mistresses, so they spend the day grooming & walking their silly little dogs then get all glammed up & picked up by their rich man outside in a posh car in the evening. Oh, and cats, not enough of them around - maybe they're all in the stir fry's......... Andy is still allergic to them, so I think we'd know if we'd eaten one...

8) Rude girl - our local supermarket Jenny Lou's, most of the staff are very friendly & helpful and smiley, one girl has a big stand off with Andy whenever we go in there!! The grunts at him, never smiles, never talks back, and never shows us the price of the final bill, amazing how such exchanges can happen when neither can speak each others language!!

9) Annoying people (other than the ones already mentioned!!) = foreigners...... yes we're having a little rant about the locals, but the majority are very friendly, and smile big time when you greet them, or make a fuss of their children. The people we do get annoyed with when out & about sometimes are other foreigners.... dare I say often Americans, very loud, very brash and very rude to the locals. I am of course stereotyping (I can, I don't work for the Police any more ;) 

9) Opening times. Nothing seems to close. You can get a KFC or a McDonalds 24/7 in the stores here. You can go shopping in the mall or the markets til 10pm, you can go to the local version of Superdrug/Boots & buy stuff til 10pm too, our little shop in the compound is great, we'll run out of our big bottle of water for our dispenser, and have been known to go down at midnight & they'll deliver it within 10 mins. Cool huh. 

10) Taxi drivers - see last blog. And ask Andy, he tried out his new found Chinese skill on a driver who refused to take us which didn't go down too well & created quite an audience. Tracy also joined in shouting like a fishwife 'Andrew, get over here now'!!!!!

11) Scooters - sooooo cool, we want one. See photo & you'll understand!

12) Being social - we'll walk out of an evening, and people will be sat around outside their compounds just chatting, or playing cards, or majhong, or eating on street corner stalls, all very social, and not stuck at home watching tv. The kids are all playing outside too and having fun, you very rarely hear Chinese kids screaming or having tantrums, when you do hear screams it's a foreign child! The one child policy means that the kids are little princes & princesses, and always seem so happy - even the one's who are very poor.

Many ex-pats talk about their 'I hate China' days, and we can understand, although we're still quite fresh despite the seemingly ranty blog, but it's more funny observations really. As far as we see it this is China, this is where we have chosen to live, and we are guests in this country and feel very lucky and humble to be here having this amazing experience. 

The Perry's, in a reflective mood - enjoying a cold beer with an amazing pizza from the takeway which has just opened on the corner of our street :)

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Ian Feather on

I do love observing people and their habits.What has Andy done in the supermarket that upsets the staff member?

Ian Feather on

Love the lack of health and safety there.People then use what is known as "common sense".This is now a dying art in this country!!!!!Go and get yourself a scooter and don,t forget the sidecar for Andy!

Tanya on

Hi scooter looks fab so Finn says, I told Finn the other day you had sold your mini, he was very upset and said he would have looked after it for you and why hadn't I told him you were selling it. Hope you are both well, can't believe you've already been there for 3 months, how time flys, take care T

Dad and Mum on

Enjoyed reading that blog,
catch up at the weekend.

Missing you, xx

Sarah Hobday on

Hi both - hope you have had a lovely weekend? No blog this weekend - missing seeing the update....we have had such amazing weather here this weekend - managed Hayling and Southsea beaches with the kids and dinner at Gun Wharf......anyway must chat soon. Lol x

mary speirs on

.......traffic/cars/no safety precautions/happy children/socialising....who cares less for regulations attitude....sounds a bit like the South of Italy.....especially Naples and Sicily....... Why did I come to Milan!!!!
If.."anyone"...braves a visit....(Mum,Dad,Lou,friends)....would love to "tag on".... Do B&B's exist there?????.... Fingers crossed for your "meetings" and follow-up contracts!!! ....waiting for next edition of Andy/Tracy's adventures.... xxx

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