Ctripper posts come to us directly from the good folks at Ctrip, China's top online travel services provider (and proud sponsor of ChinaTravel.net). Stay tuned for Ctrip special offers, travel tips, news on new travel deals, tours and activities, and slices of life-in-China from Ctrip staff and interns. Ctrip intern Kealy shares her opinion on unnerving Chinese habits, as well as how she deals (or doesn't deal) with culture shock.... >>>Spitting: I call it the “Shanghai spit” for the sake of alliteration, but this little habit is popular across China. It’s not subtle, not attractive and certainly not hygienic, but that doesn’t seem to stop average citizens from frequently stopping whatever they are doing, wherever they are to leave a bit of their saliva behind. And the sound— something akin to snorting while hocking a loogie— can be heard from miles away.
Cutesy things: Don’t get me wrong… No living, breathing person would say they don’t find Hello Kitty adorable. If they do, they would be lying. Same goes for pretty much any animal, person or inanimate object with a head twice the size of its body and eyes half the size of that. That said, I have no real desire to have one on my cell phone, t-shirt, jacket, notebook, pens, purse and/or bike.
Staring: With all due sensitivity to the cultural differences in social norms, I have to say this is one of the most strange and, at times, unnerving parts of being a foreigner in Shanghai. I was surprised to find that, in general, the Chinese don’t seem to find it rude to openly and intently stare (and take pictures of!) anyone who looks different. Responding with a smile and “Ni hao” sometimes makes them look away, or rarely smile back, but only sometimes.
Matching couples: This falls under the “cuteness to the point of nausea” category. Matching clothes with your significant other is apparently a popular way to express your love in China. That, or sporting any number of adorable “his and her” cell phone charms available in matching sets (see number two).
Squatty potties: I’m chalking this one up to genetics. I’ve spent the last seven months of my life in Asia, and I swear, no amount of practice can make you good at using a squatty potty. Proponents say they’re more hygienic than western-style toilets because no part of your body has to touch the toilet itself. To whom I say: clearly you have not been into enough Chinese bathrooms… Hygienic is not exactly the adjective I would pick.
Hose socks: They’re mostly hidden now that it’s winter, but I know that in the closet of nearly every Shanghai woman lurks a pair of hose socks waiting to make its reappearance come springtime. These thin, semi-sheer socks usually reach up to the lower calf and are worn with sandals and shoes of all kinds. They also have the remarkable ability to draw attention and make anyone’s ankles look awkward and unattractive.