Show Me, Show Me, Show Me

Some things in China are just hardcore.

February 11, 2017

Show-me eating food with me at a Chinese fast food restaurant

In Beijing, China, security will make you drink any clear liquid you bring into the subway.

Talk about hardcore. What else is hardcore is crossing a street in China. Here, cars always have the right of way, no matter what. What’s more, if you are not at a major intersection, traffic laws may become traffic suggestions. And, When there is a traffic jam, pedestrians take it as a chance to cross the street, which is not a once-off process like it is in America—people will go as far into the street as traffic permits, moving forward step by step until they reach the other side.

Add to that that drivers have little concern for the heavily faded lines in the road, since they often can’t see them anyway. This makes taking a taxi a Mario Andretti-like experience (kind of like how my angry mother drives). I took a taxi home yesterday night, since the subway had already closed, and I watched his speedometer reach 60kph (about 40 mph) as he drove down narrow back streets and weave between other cars on the broader avenues.

In a few minutes, I’ll be heading out to have dinner with my long-time Beijing friend 史⁠‍聖⁠‍一 (or Show-me for some of you). She’s headed on her way through 38 minutes’ worth of subway stops from the other side of the city. She has asked to be kept private in my blog, so this is all I’ll say about her.

Pedestrians crossing a traffic-jammed street

Crossing the street is a daunting task in China.

It’s Saturday on this side of the world. I can hear loud, continuous explosions down the street from my hotel as celebrations of the lantern festival continue on into the night. You really don’t know how loud Chinese firecrackers are until you hear them all night even from far away… After dinner, we’re going go see what this festival is all about.

I’ve been couped up in this hotel all day researching phones to replace my current one, because Cricket Wireless, in their infinite magnanimousness, locked the sim card to their network, preventing me from using my new Chinese SIM card, which is now gathering dust in a Nokia phone my company provided to me as a backup—a NOKIA. As in, 2001-indestructable-boot-in-five-seconds-with-nine-keys Nokia.

I’ve got three choices for phones:

  • Oppo R9s. This phone is marketed with the slogan, 「這一刻 更淸晰」 (translated roughly as “this moment, made clearer”)
  • OnePlus 3. This is silly name for a company, but I believe they stick to their slogan: “Never Settle”—They won’t even settle for a physical store, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get one of these, since I kind of need a working phone now.
  • Any one of the new Xiaomi phones. They’re a relatively new company, and they seem to copy Google’s company policies, which makes for an intelligent and innovative workforce, and their phones are popular in China.

I’d prefer to get the OnePlus, but I don’t think I have time to wait for it to be shipped to my hotel, so I’ll probably go with some thing else.

It’s been difficult to publish an article since I moved here—there’s just so much to be done. I’ll find a time to give a little video tour of my little slice of Beijing here, once I get settled in a little better.