Thursday, November 29, 2012

Myth #6: Main form of transportation is Bicycle

A big MYTH! This was an initial culture shock for me after stepping outside of the Airport.  I was surprised at the vast variety of luxury cars that were cruising the streets of Beijing. I mean, it wasn't like I was expecting everyone to be riding bikes everywhere, but I sure wasn't expecting an entourage of Audis, Cadillac, Mercedes, BMWs and practically almost every luxury car model in just one city. But then again, when I found out that about 20% (200,000 people) of the country's millionaire live in Beijing alone, this quickly made sense.
A bike parking lot at a major shopping center in Northwestern Beijing

May be if I had gone to the country about 30 years ago, then this would have been a FACT. However, the country is changing at almost the speed of light which makes most of the stereotypes we have about the country to be nothing more but stereotypes.
Liangmaqiao, Chaoyang. An affluent part of the city
To emphasize this myth, my very close Chinese friend and her boyfriend can't even ride a bike! I was shocked when she told me, because I thought EVERY local can ride a bike, since that was the main form of transportation back in the day. She then told me that she didn't need a bike since she is from a small town where everything was within a walking distance. However, someone from a big city like Beijing might need a bike.

Xidan; a major shopping district in Beijing

To add, people of all ages ride bikes to get around, I mean I was always surprised each time I saw seniors riding bikes around the city, especially when they have an 80 pound or heavier grandson/daughter siting at the back! And sometimes my jaw drops when I see a "poor" senior with a tonne of stuff stacked sky high on his/her tricycle.

Talk about overload!

To conclude, I believe the major form of transportation in a big city like Beijing is the Subway!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Myth #5: Staple food in China is Rice

This is well, partially a MYTH!, Although if you live in a city where rice is consumed during practically every meal, you might be led to think this is true for everywhere else in the country. For some parts of the country, the staple food can be steamed buns, noodles or a flat bread (sort of like Indian Nan).


Though i'll have to say that rice is eaten more frequently than other types of food since since it is consumed in many different forms and variations. And so it's not uncommon for an average Chinese to eat rice 3X a day, 7 days a week. For example, at a summer camp I worked at, we were served rice three times a day! Our typical meal schedule was something like this ...
Breakfast: Congee (rice porridge) with boiled eggs and toasted steamed buns
Lunch: A bowl of white rice with veggies and meat side dishes along with a bowl of soup
Dinner: A bowl of white rice with different varieties of veggies and meat combo, and a bowl of soup to drink

I believe this was my last bowl of rice noodles in the country. 

I for one like eating rice in any different form, color and preparation method. But when i'm constantly served the SAME thing three times a day, every single day, then it's easy to get bored of it.
I guess this is why many Chinese children don't consider rice to be their favorite food. Many often tell me their favorite food is noodles or dumplings.

Also, I've dined with many Chinese who never seemed to finish their small bowl of rice because rice isn't widely consumed in their hometown; and so, they're not used to eating it.


So in conclusion, not EVERY single Chinese likes to eat rice every single day and with practically every meal. And so for them, rice wouldn't be considered a staple, perhaps, another type of food would.