Tuesday, February 26, 2013

5 Things You Didn't Know About Chinese Men

I am going to preface this by saying that Chinese people in generally are very nice and kind.  Do they have a lack of personal space? Yes. Do they use deodorant? No.  But they are nice people with kind hearts, like anything there are exceptions and these of course are stereotypes.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Chinese Men

1. Chinese Men don't like grey hair. I'm guessing most Chinese men dye their hair because you see very few middle aged men with white or grey hairs, and then all the sudden the old men are grey/white.

2. Chinese men have no problem with stopping on the side of the highway and peeing into the ditch. Imagine driving down your local 8 lane freeway and stopping in the emergency lane to take a pee into the ditch. This happens in Beijing probably hundreds of times each day. They don't even try to hide it.  I'm not sure why they can't hold it, it isn't like they are in the middle of nowhere, but they don't.

3. Chinese Men love fancy handbags. I'm not talking about a briefcase, or a satchel, or even a fanny pack, I'm talking about a full blown, large name brand handbag.  I saw a guy the other day wearing one similar to this.

Now before anyone gets too excited, I do realize that men all over the world probably have handbags, but this isn't what I'm used to.  American men I know don't carry about Louis Vuitton $5,800 handbags  Especially one so expensive or big!  I'm not really sure what they care in it?

4. Chinese men don't wear facial hair. AT ALL! I've seen 1 guy with a mustache since I've been here and it was at the airport so he wasn't necessarily Chinese, just of Asian origin.  I'm not sure if this is because they can't grow facial hair or if they don't like it. I'm curious though!

5. Spitting in China. To be fair this isn't only men, but the majority of the time it is the men. Men spit and blow their noses just about anywhere here. They will spend forever hawking and clearing their throat and then just blow it all in the middle of the sidewalk or on the floor at the market. I don't think Chinese people use tissues for their noses.  When I walk, I am most often looking to avoid mucus, dog poop, and pee.  I think it is the most unsanitary habit, but am told that culturally they think it is a good thing to clear their lungs so they do it anywhere.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Longqing Gorge (Longqingxia) Ice Sculpture & Lantern Tour

Over the weekend, while we were on Spring Festival break we took another tour with China Cultural Center to a beautiful gorge in NW Beijing province called the Longqing Gorge which means Great Dragon Gorge.  It is made from a large dam cut between the mountains and it has created a beautiful setting. I can't wait to go back in the summer for boating and greenery.  But for now, it is cold...really cold so we were there to see the beautiful ice sculptures.

The festival runs from January through February, on Fridays/Saturdays from my understanding.  They have a "great wall" of lights in the mountains, a beautiful stage and surrounding areas lit up with beautiful dragons, and other popular Chinese characters/animals. Inside by the dam, is a covered area of amazing buildings and ice sculptures. Think replica Chinese architecture that you can actually walk into, beautifully carved sculptures all lit up in a beautiful array of colors.  Really the pictures tell the story.

Kiddo's favorite part though was the toboggan ride down the mountain. Doesn't that look safe? :)

In all honesty, it was a lot of fun and I wish the people in front of us were going faster so we wouldn't have had to slow down. All in all, a great day trip from Beijing.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year 2013!

We are officially into the fifteen days of celebrating the Chinese Spring Festival, also knows at Chinese New Year.  Spring Festival is the major Chinese holiday of the year, with millions of people traveling to be with their families   2013 is the year of the snake, the last year of the snake was 2001, they rotate through the animals every 12 years.

Fake cherry blossoms added to trees, it was about 20 degrees
Last night (February 9th) was New Year's Eve. We started by celebrating with dinner, as New Year's Eve is generally a time spent with family.  We then watched the CCTV (China Central Television) New Year's Gala which was a 4.5 hour celebration on the main television channel in China with music, comedy skits, and many famous people. It is the most watched arts and cultural show in the world. I read somewhere that 800 million people watch the annual show.

Celine Dion was a special guest this year and sang a Chinese song as a duet, and then "My Heart Will Go On."  It was really nice, minus the parts where we couldn't understand anything that was going on.  Amazingly, the whole thing was without commercial.

Late on New Year's Eve, the fireworks started. Fireworks seem to be a free for all in Beijing.  There are no organized fireworks, instead everyone, and I mean everyone is lighting massive amounts of fireworks that would most likely be highly illegal the average person in the US.

The heavy fireworks started at 11:50 pm and went on constant for almost 50 minutes. It was amazing the amount of fireworks going off all around us because they weren't organized, so you are being bombarded by fireworks from all sides. Imagine being 500 feet from a small city's firework launch pad and that was what it was like. Just crazy!

Today on Chinese New Year, we decided to take a tour with China Cultural Center to a special festival called a temple fair, typically a Northern China tradition close to a temple or park with worshiping deities, entertainment and shopping.  We saw rural traditional dancing, incense offerings for good wishes, puppet shows, lots of food, music, and games for all ages.

blowing the sugar into a pig.

Kiddo got a really cool edible art made out of sugar. The artist made it into a pig because she was born in the year of the pig. He took melted, hot sugar and by blowing into it turned it into art. Quite amazing! It only took him about 30 seconds.

Edible Sugar Art
We also took in a traditional Chinese lunch with all the other participants of the tour. I wish I could tell you what we ate, it was a little bit of everything and quite a few things that no one was adventurous enough to touch.  Just as I'm writing this the fireworks are starting back up. We lit some sparklers last night, that's about as exciting as I'm willing to get!