Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Culture Shocks

Out and About- 
  • You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a 7-Eleven. 
  • As a foreigner in the New Territories, I get stared at. This only happens when close to the Mainland border, but getting the Once-Over is always a bit unnerving. 
  • Different language: English is spoken by almost everyone, however, in the New Territories (aka on campus), be prepared to mime your way through a lunch order. 
  • Driving on the left side of the road: The other day I had the epiphany that when I cross the street I should look to my right first. As I stepped onto the street, I was almost hit by a car because - it turns out - the street was a one way the other direction. To be safe, just look both ways before crossing the street.
  • People run to catch elevators, even if it’s an express elevator that only visits two floors. 
  • Young couples walk like they own the entire sidewalk. Holding hands while moving at a glacial pace is a science here. 
  • Spitting in public is perfectly all right. And you can never just *spit*, you have to make the loud spitting noise as well.  
  • People sneeze into their hands. I'm by no means a germaphobe, but it freaks me out every time I see it. 
  • No open container laws. Have you ever just wanted to shop in a street market with beer in hand? You can do that here. 
  • Students are overly devoted to their studies. People spend hours memorizing PowerPoint slides. I can think of better ways to spend my time. 
  • Every student org here has a chant, and they do them all day, err day. They must practice these chants/beats/steps for hours because they’re intricate, they’re loud, and seem to happen every time I’m trying to go to bed early. 
  • Just because not everyone in the group speaks Cantonese, don’t expect the group meetings to be run in English. I do a fair share of doodling during group meetings. 
  • Everyone is soft spoken. I've fallen into the habit of telling people I’m hard of hearing just to get them to speak up, and even that doesn't always work. 

  • Store clerks will follow you around until you buy something. They hover. 
  • Salespeople are pushy. Men will you offer you a purse or watch on every corner, and women will physically restrain you from leaving their stall. 

  • When the menu says sausage, it means hot dog. Every. Time. 
  • Eating noodle soup with chopsticks is something I have yet to master. 
  • No tipping (which is good, because I can’t afford it)
  • Watch out for the bones in meat. What you do is you pop the meat in your mouth, gnaw on it, suck on the bone, and then spit it out onto the table. My tables manners are falling apart.
  • The entire chicken is served as a dish. Chicken head anyone? 

  • Toilet paper is common, but not guaranteed. Do you really want to take the chance? 
  • Squatty toilets. Do not fall in. 

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