1) The Chinese are all poor and everything here is really cheap.
True or false?
Unfortunately not everything here is as cheap as it once was, due to the fact that the Chinese are no longer as poor as they may once have been. The economy has boomed in recent years and with it the creation of a middle-class who can be very wealthy! There are whole shopping centers full of Gucci, Dior, Ralph Lauren etc, with frighteningly high prices. You also see a fair few Ferrari’s floating around. Based on the population, China still has a large proportion of people working in agriculture and living below the poverty line. You can probably bag yourself a bargain if you get yourself to a remote village; I’ve heard of whole meals costing under 20p! Even in the cities, daily life is still very cheap compared to living in London; a pint rarely costs more than 50p.
2) The Chinese created table tennis and they are all really good at it.
True or false?
Table tennis was actually created in Britain in the 1880’s, initially played by the wealthy as an after-dinner game. It had various nicknames, such as wiff-waff and ping pong because of the sound made whilst playing. The Chinese are however really good at it, taking 6 of the 8 possible medals at London 2012 Olympics. In China, lots of people do play. It doesn’t take as much space as tennis or other sports so fits in as a suitable sport in China’s busy environment.
3) People go everywhere on bicycles.
True of false?
Much to my dismay this is no longer the case in every Chinese city. In Qingdao, there are no cycle lanes so cycling is not to be advised (it is very dangerous!). I think bikes still play a large part of life in some cities, but Qingdao is not one of them. Qingdao however, more than makes up for the lack of bicycles with cars and traffic.
4) The Chinese love foreigners.
True or False?
Thanks to our comparitively tall frames and our range of eye and hair colours, the Brits generally get quite a good reception in China. When you say you are British, the days of the Opium Wars seem to be largely forgotten, we are now just seen as “British Gentlemen” (英国绅士).The Chinese love seeing foreigners around and find our features fascinating – the big nose, wide eyes, pale skin: everything they want. If you try and speak any Chinese, even a little “Nihao” will have them falling over their feet complementing you. Make the most of the feeling while you are here because it isn’t the same back in Britain!