2019-10-09 东拐西拐 22959
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Is living in China a pleasure or a torment?


原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻译:东拐西拐 转载请注明出处

Cole Masters, Writer | Travel Blogger | English Teacher
Living in China is both a pleasure and a torment, sometimes at the same time.
I live in a second-tier city (Guiyang) in China’s third poorest province (Guizhou). I haven’t had the ‘normal’ Beijing/Shanghai/Guangzhou expat experience. My house is in a communist-grey apartment building and if I mount the roof I can see into a giant village of farmers where people think it’s a good idea to burn their trash.
I’ve stopped bothering with speaking English.
Without further ado, we’ll get into why living in a pseudo-rural area of China is a pleasure.
I’m a star. That’s right. Students literally clap for me when I walk into the classroom. Girls approach me and ask for my we-chat. People ask to take pictures of me or sneak them on the subway. And when I start speaking Chinese? Forget about it. I’ve done literally nothing special and get to feel like Ryan Gosling for it.
I’m catching a glimpse of the real China: Forget the privileged urbanites. I’m surrounded on one side by regular city-dwellers and on the other by slash-and-burn peasants. I meet the richest of the rich and poorest of the poor. I schmooze with businessmen and government officials and cackle with taxi drivers whose mandarin is worse than mine. Every day I’m faced with the real China, always in flux, ever welcoming, and never, ever dull.
I do whatever I want: I’m no longer sold on the fact that the USA is the land of the free. I’ve been needlessly pulled over and given noise tickets too many times. Here, though? I drive on the sidewalk. I could jam electric guitar until 7 AM and no one would bat an eyelash. I sneak into construction sites, parks, abandoned buildings. When I get caught? I fire off some Chinese with a smile and get left to my own devices. Maybe it’s naive, but I really can’t imagine getting into trouble near where I live (not that I’m looking for it, really, I’m not…)
I travel often and cheaply: Tibetan areas are some of the most remote on the planet. Thanks to China’s new highways and railway system, I spent a week climbing a random mountain, alone, for a pittance. Getting there and back was not only easy but fun. And just enough bad things happened to make it all a true adventure, without any of the financial woes serious travel often incurs.



Environmental woes: The village I live next to? They burn their refuse/trash every day. Sometimes the haze is literally purple. I get stuck behind Chinese ‘semis’ and nearly asphyxiate daily. Some of the rivers near my apartment are ectoplasmically green. F****** Walmart sells endangered giant salamanders for human consumption. It’s safe to say that, at least where I live, concern for the natural environment is pretty slim.
Politeness faux pas: People like to spit in Guiyang. And by spit I mean hack from the utter depths of their lungs and loogee on the sidewalk. Sometimes I’ll see a girl that I think is rather pretty only to turn the other way and hear the dreaded lungal vibrations. People smoke everywhere. I stopped yelling at them about it unless it’s in the elevator (because I have asthma). And let’s just say that Guiyang folk and Westerners have a very different idea of queuing means.
Workaholicism: I once slept on the couch at my workplace, a private school. To my woe, music started blaring over the loudspeaker at 6:30 AM to wake the students up. They’re in class by 7:40, have an hour for lunch, out of class at 5:40 PM, have an hour for dinner, and then back in class until 10PM. I’ll let you do the math on that. That hour at lunch? It’s siesta hour. Because neither students nor teachers nor general employees can seem to sleep enough at night.
I could go on, but it would be ill-advised to go any further with how I feel about the effects of recent history/culture and how those things negatively affect the living experience of foreigners.




The honest truth about life in China is that it is what you make it. You’ll need a high level of tolerance for every tier of BS imaginable in order to acclimate to the place.
Once you’ve developed it, however, China becomes pretty awesome. When you’ve got a grasp on the language and know what to do, and how to do the things you probably shouldn’t do tactfully, then it’s easy to have a blast. You can save a ton of money, meet a bunch of friends, and travel all over the place.
Like any place in the world, China has its trade-offs.
So, a pleasure and a torment. But I’m still here. That has to count for something.


Chris Ebbert
Amazing answer!! Thank you so much! I have always wondered what it might be like to live and work the way you do. I lived in Shanghai and Beijing for three years, the typical luxury expat experience you mentioned. And I always felt the “real China” was probably different from that.


Adam Hu
I get what you're saying, but it's misleading to say that the split between rural and and city is the “real” China - it's 900 million vs 400 million
Guiyang is ranked 56/61 tier 2 and above cities in China for GDP.
Like, rural/suburban Louisianna or Kansas isn't the “real” US, they are ranked near the bottom in same terms.
Frankly I think the term is useless. There's no such thing as the real China. It's all real. But it certainly doesn't represent the median, definitely not the average.

我明白你的意思,但是你说城市和农村的分野才是“真正”的中国——9亿 VS 4亿人。
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