Adventures of Life in Beijing

If you read my post Strange but True you know that life in Beijing can be downright quirky at times.

Are dogs in other cities this well dressed and I just haven’t noticed?

 

Ready for the rain.

 

I wonder how dogs really feel about wearing shoes.

 

This mutt was rocking his ride; his owner had a radio blaring as they wove through traffic.

I thought it might be fun to share a few more aspects of life in China that sometimes leave us wondering.

Why stand when you can squat?

 

I’m afraid if I go that low I’d need a crane to haul me back up.

 

I thought squatting was something I did at the gym to buff my thighs. It turns out that squatting can be used as a convenient position to rest, grab a smoke, slurp some noodles or do some work. It’s preferred to sitting on the curb or the ground, which of course is where those doggies in their cute little outfits do their business.

 

Masks aren’t just for the virus.

 

Every hotel room I’ve been in in China has some variation of this mask. At first I thought they were gas masks to be used in case China and North Korea decide not to be buddies anymore, but it turns out they are to be used in case of a hotel fire. Whew. I feel better. I think.

Selfie-focused 

Chinese are a snap-happy bunch. From selfie sessions to pass the boredom on the bus to hour-long photo shoots in traditional dress, there’s no end to the opportunities to click and post. On a recent vacation I was so captivated by people posing for the camera I left without a single shot of my family. We might, however, end up in someone else’s holiday album.

 

Taking pictures of people taking pictures.

 

Make it work

Everyone in China has a job to do. If not, the government will make one for you. I’ve seen people cleaning the guardrails on freeway overpasses, wiping down trash cans on street corners and sweeping water off the street with bamboo brooms after a heavy rain.

Local villagers make a little extra money by planting flowers to beautify the roadside. The government gives them seeds and a small stipend.

 

Colorful fields in Gansu province provide beauty and jobs.

 

A large, flexible workforce is part of what has helped control the virus. Within hours, cities can mobilize testing crews, set up barricades and conduct contact tracing. In a recent outbreak in Qingdao, the government tested 10 million people in four days. Workers are simply temporarily shifted from other jobs to where they are needed.

Curious?

What are you curious about when it comes to life in China? Feel free to post questions in the comments. I might just use one for a future post.

 

Comments (2,072):

  1. Maria

    October 22, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    I’m curious about the worker flexibility- do people in China train or specialize for specific jobs? Is it a class issue- where “blue collar “ workers need to be flexible, but “white collar “ workers can specialize?

  2. Ainslie

    October 27, 2020 at 2:40 am

    I’m curious to know what’s the status of your BSF group? I heard that they lost their host church prior to the virus. Are you able to participate online? Are you aloud to carry a bible with you? Other then family and friends, what do you miss the most about living in the US?

  3. Kirsten Harrington

    December 10, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Hi Ainslie,
    My apologies for taking so long to reply. BSF is online here and we have to show our passport and valid visa to the leader to be allowed to participate, and BSF is only open for non-Chinese residents. There are no rules about carrying Bibles as far as I know. Mine is electronic anyway. Using the Bible app, which our small group uses, is blocked so we have to use a different network (VPN) to access that.

    It’s hard to say what I miss. It’s easier to explain the things that are difficult. Probably the biggest single thing is that everything is controlled by the use of technology. For example, you can’t travel if you don’t have the right app on your phone, or get museum tickets without an online reservation. But some of the technology doesn’t always work or isn’t set up to accept a foreign ID number so then you’re stuck. We use an app to pay for things but the yearly spending limit is set by the government. If you hit your limit the app does not work, even if you have money. The amount of money we can transfer into our account from the US is also controlled. ID checks are constant and apps need to be updated frequently.
    There is still a fear of foreigners and we are barred from visiting certain areas, staying in some hotels and volunteering.
    And it takes all day to do laundry.
    But I have not let any of this stop from making the most of it. We just have to be flexible.

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