Xian and my frustrations with China (Mon) 24 May 2010

China frustrates me.

Lots of people.

Lots of cars.

Lots of Chinese tour groups.

Little enforcement of traffic laws.

Even walking on pavements, dad and I have had to battle with cars, pick-up trucks, bicycles, rickshaws and motorised tricycles.

We get honked at incessantly and after a while, it becomes very aggravating.

Zebra crossings are redundant and cars rush up to my knees keeping me off. I get so annoyed I sometimes throw my arms up in the air at them. But obviously, they’re just as baffled at my frustration.

People spit and litter everywhere. Street-side stall owners just dump trash casually onto the side of the road, knowing that someone else will clear them up.

Tired from a day of walking, I once plopped my bag down on a side-street in Beijing, only to see one of the straps land on a gleaming fresh circle of spit! I thought I was going to throw up.

I feverishly scrubbed it clean back at the hostel. If I’d had a bucket of petrol, I probably would’ve doused my bag with it and set it alight.

Usually, when approached by touts, I would politely decline, saying “No, thank you.” But at Xian’s main bus station, I almost lost it.

It was hot, I was tired, and I was short-tempered from trying not to argue with dad. We were looking for the public bus to the Terracotta Warriors at the city’s main bus station and we had about 50 people cajoling us, trying to sell us private rides.

I started off by shaking my head, politely declining. Then I started waving them off. But they were unrelentless, like a heaving army of persistent insects, a second wave coming on as soon as the first has been waved off.

I started ignoring them – but that brought on a completely unexpected reaction! They started calling to us in English!

Eventually, some guy tries to get my attention by touching my elbow and then tugging at my arm. I lost it, swiped around, glared and yelled at him to back off.

Angry as I was, I felt really bad immediately. Poor man was only trying to make a living. :(

We eventually went into the bus ticket hall, knowing full well that our bus doesn’t depart from there. But whatever, I was just looking for an official-looking person to ask.

I found some men in uniform and asked them where bus 306 was. In true China style, instead of answering me, they scanned me up and down and asked if I’m from Hong Kong. Then they said I must first answer some trivial about some Hong Kong TV show before they’ll give me the answer!

While this might have been mildly amusing on a good day, and if I’m still 12, but this wasn’t a good day and I wasn’t the least bit amused. To get it over with, I suddenly decided that we’re from the UK and so I don’t know shit about Hong Kong TV. At that, they decided to marvel at dad’s “English” shoes…

Needless to say, I did get an answer out of them in the end and made it to the Terracotta Warriors. It was big, it was hot, and it was also a dream come true. *sigh* Was a very long day though!

(They were Clarks afterall. Are they English?)

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