Published 2nd July 2019
Thinking about teaching English as a Foreign Language in China? You probably are and if you’re not, you should be. China is one of those countries everyone should experience at least once in their lives – and it’s so big you’ll probably find yourself going back there again.
What is it about China that makes it such an attractive destination?
The food, the history, the landscapes – what’s not to love? You can visit the Great Wall, eat dim sum, and play with pandas, but that’s not all. There are a few weird and wonderful things you might experience in China that you have to see to believe.
11 Weird and Wonderful Things about China
1. A 10am sunrise
Even though China is a massive country (it’s almost as wide as the United States), it only has one time zone, Beijing time. This means that when it’s 6am in Beijing, it’s also 6am in Guangzhou and Shanghai and Urumqi. What this means is that in the far western parts of the country, the sun only rises late in the morning, and you will probably eat dinner after midnight.
2. Open crotch pants
Not for adults, for children! Chinese parents dress their kids in pants which have a drop-down or open crotch. For ease and convenience, obviously. It’s not uncommon to see a baby or a young child doing their business in public, and they don’t have to take their pants off! Genius!
3. Pyjama fashion
In China, there’s nothing wrong with taking a stroll in your pjs. Or going shopping in your pjs. Or going for a coffee in your pjs. Mind you, this is serious business. Leave your baggy track pants and oversized t-shirt at home, only satin pjs or matching sets will do, thank you very much.
4. Face masks
Not reserved for the hospital, many Chinese people carry a face mask with them. It’s not surprising really considering the terrible quality of the air in China, so don’t be surprised if you see a few people wearing masks in the street. It’s not because they’re contagious!
5. Bottled air
If you’re not a fan of face masks but still appreciate breathing in good, clean air, then don’t worry – your local supermarket has the answer. Now you can buy yourself a bottle of fresh air at your local Chinese supermarket. A Canadian company is selling air from the Rocky Mountain town of Banff, and Chinese people are buying it at $20 a pop!
6. The Watermelon Museum
Since 2002 tourists have been flocking to the Watermelon Museum in Beijing, to wander around 4 000 square meters of exhibits of, well, watermelons. Ok maybe not, but it’s there if you want to visit. This museum traces the history of the humble watermelon, the growing of watermelons, the different varieties of watermelons but sadly, there is no watermelon tasting.
7. Police geese
In the Xinjiang province, local police are using geese to aid their patrols. While other police forces might employ dogs to help with police business, these police officers believe that their geese do a better job of rounding up criminal suspects.
8. Public Tai Chi
Most of us like to exercise in the gym or in the privacy of our own home, but not many Chinese people. Tai Chi is a popular art form practised in China and it’s totally normal to practise Tai Chi in a local park. In fact, if you walk through a park at any time of the day on any day of the week you’ll probably see large groups of people doing Tai Chi together.
9. Dinosaur Fairyland
Situated in a small, dusty town in Inner Mongolia, Dinosaur Fairyland is the place to go if you are fascinated with dinosaurs, love a good theme park, but don’t enjoy crowds. Full scale dinosaur models – even two dinosaurs kissing – and both real and fake dinosaur bones, this theme park offers endless photo opportunities and, surprisingly, is never crowded.
10. Traffic jams for days
Literally. We all know there are a lot of people in China and most of those people have cars. As a result some highways are 20- or 30-lane highways and you’re guaranteed to experience some traffic no matter where you are going. But when accidents happen or construction takes place, traffic jams can last for days. One traffic jam reportedly lasted for 10 days.
11. Teabucks and KFG
No we’re not making that up. Do we need to say more?
It’s a no-brainer, really. China is THE place to be. Lots of teaching jobs, great contracts, and a watermelon museum. See you there!