Here is a checklist that every visitor must see on travels to China. It has nothing to do with the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, or the Terra Cotta Warriors at Xi’an. Here is the true list of things not to miss on your visit: Checklist for Foreign Visitors to China:
1. Observe someone peeing on the street. It can be an adult or a child.2. Witness a yelling fight. Bonus points if a police officer being yelled at.
3. See someone spitting on the street. Bonus points if it is an old woman hawking a loogie. Lose points if struck by loogie.
4. Witness a near accident. There are many choices: car/pedestrian, car/motorbike, bus/pedestrian, car/bike, bike/motorbike, bike/pedestrian… you get the deal. It doesn’t count if you’re the one in the accident.
5. Get pushed by someone in line and push back.
6. Eat at a restaurant thawith no English menu.
Please note that many of these are unlikely to be found in flashy downtown areas. You may need to get a few metro stops away to find them.
Was I successful in completing the checklist in Shanghai? You bet!
(1) I saw someone pee on my hotel from the sidewalk at about 8 in the morning. Nevermind that they could have peed in an alley or behind a building. That would have been inconvenient. A block away, we witnessed (2) a fight for salt. As a reaction to the recent tsunami in Japan, we saw a line a block long at the government salt store. Don’t get it? Read about it here. But there was a lot of screaming. It was also common to hear a big “HORRK” in the street, which means (3) “look out for loogie.” This was an easy one to check off, but not as easy as (4) witnessing a near accident, which was a daily occurrence. On the Metro, the ones to watch out for are the old people. (5) I never thought I’d get pleasure out of pushing around old people, but if you step to this…you better be ready to step.
As far as eating, you can be certain that local restaurants are cheaper than the tourist places. (6) Thankfully my brother was able to translate. But when he wasn’t available, we pointed a lot.