19 Intriguing Things in China That Will Blow Your Mind
Chinese civilization. Thousands of wonderful inventions have been made here that changed the whole world. And even today there's much to be surprised about there.
Bright Side collected photographs showing that even everyday life in China is very unlike ours. And there's a bonus at the end of the article: artificial eggs with a curious history.
19. They eat everything that moves.
Supermarkets and bazaars offer a wide selection of wildlife to munch on: crocodiles, turtles, sharks, frogs, dogs, cats, cockroaches, and maggots. The local cuisine is very diverse, so be sure to ask your waiter about the contents of the dish you're about to order.
18. Children wear pants with holes in them to relieve themselves where they want.
Kids up to 2-3 years of age wear pants with a hole at the bottom so they can freely relieve themselves wherever they are. You can often see little children here who do the deed right in the streets with their parents watching over them.
17. Wearing pajamas outside is perfectly fine.
A new trend of street fashion: many Chinese, no matter their age, wear pajamas to the store, for a walk, or to a cafe with friends.
16. Longevity noodles instead of a cake.
Longevity noodles are a traditional dish made for birthdays, weddings, and for the Lunar New Year. The noodles are several feet long to fill the bowl to the brim. The longer and firmer the noodles, the longer and more solid the life of the one eating it will be.
15. Trains go at speeds of up to 300 mph.
There are routes in China where high-speed trains reach an average speed of 217 mph (350 km/h). Their purpose is to connect the remote regions of the country while creating a cheaper alternative to flights. The speed record was set in 2010, when a train reached the speed of 301 mph (486 km/h). These are among the fastest trains in the world.
14. Birthdays are celebrated once every 10 years.
Many celebrate their birthdays according to old traditions: the first 30 days of life, then a year after birth, at 6 years, and then every 10 years, with grand celebrations at 60 and 80 years. There are a few dates that are missed altogether: most women don't celebrate their 30th, 33rd, and 66th birthdays, believing they'll have bad luck for the whole year. Men miss their 40th birthday for the same reason.
13. Quick haircuts in the street.
You can get your hair cut and your face shaved at any of the numerous street barbers. Many locals don't even give it a second thought.
12. Freeze! It's the geese police!
Geese are used in night patrols to catch robbers, and there are about 10,000 mail delivery pigeons in the army.
11. Black eggs and urine-tasting delicacies.
A centennial egg is a popular Chinese snack. A fresh chicken egg is coated in tea, lime, salt, ashes, and clay, wrapped in straw and rice husk, and then buried in the earth for 3-4 months. Tóngzǐ dàn is another delicacy made of chicken eggs that are boiled for a whole day in the urine of boys who haven't yet reached puberty. Quite salty.
10. Robots that cook for and serve people.
In China, you'll often see restaurants where everything from serving dishes to cooking is done by robots. The first such cafe was opened at a research institute several years ago and became incredibly popular. Today some buy such robots to help at home.
9. Mosquito-breeding factories.
20 million insects a week. China can boast the largest mosquito factory in the world to fight the dengue fever. Scientists infect male mosquitoes with special bacteria that make them infertile, and then they're set free to infect females and rob them of their future offspring.
8. Feeders for ladybugs.
These weird paper structures are soaked with special substances that attract ladybugs: they're being drawn to gardens and greenhouses to get rid of plant lice.
7. A summer hit: green pea ice cream.
Ice cream was conceived in China, and its recipe got to Europe thanks to Marco Polo. Today the Chinese go on surprising everyone with unusual ice cream flavors. The most popular one is green pea ice cream.
6. A 2-week New Year vacation for the whole country.
Chinese New Year is the main celebration in the country that goes on for 15 days. It's the only universal vacation in China. Many travel the country during this period, so foreign tourists have to tolerate crowds there.
5. Chinese fortune cookies from Japan.
Fortune cookies aren't actually Chinese. A chef from Japan once brought the recipe to the USA, and there it was mistaken for a Chinese one. In time, the cookies became so popular that even Chinese restaurants brought them on the menu as a national treat, thus supporting the legend.
4. Ghost towns and 64 million empty houses.
While 30 million people exist in caves and others try to fit into apartments the size of a wardrobe, huge ghost cities lie empty. By various accounts, there are about 64 million abandoned skyscrapers where no one ever lived. The most famous ghost town is Ordos.
3. Football was invented in China, but British ping pong became its national sport instead.
In 2004, FIFA officially recognized that football was invented in China. It was used to train soldiers as far back as the 2nd century BC. Ping pong, though, which is the national sport of China, was invented by the British about 100 years ago. Even its name is English, denoting the sound the ball makes when it bounces.
2. If you seek extravagant lingerie, this is your place.
China has fashion trends of its own. Many aren't interested in sexual education and often don't understand where children come from until late in life, yet lingerie stores have lots of extravagant items for sale.
1. Iron discipline in the army.
A military parade in China is a breathtaking sight: the movements of hundreds of people are perfectly synchronized. This mastery is achieved by hours and hours of exhausting training, including marching with a bottle of water on one's head or a needle pinned to a soldier's collar to make him hold his head straight.
Such a level of discipline is essential to manage so many people. With more than 2.2 million people serving, the Chinese Army is the biggest army in the world.
Bonus: Are artificial eggs truth or myth?
The Internet offers a lot of mysterious videos about artificial eggs, but scientists say it's all a hoax: as they can't be made cheaper than real eggs, there's no sense in producing them. It's up to you to decide who's right.