Peking was really cold! Minus 4 degrees Celsius, plus snow! There was a picture of the Chinese Wall covered with snow in our Dutch newspaper -- and it's true, I have seen it myself. The forbidden city was covered with snow as well, so we could not see the famous blue roof tiles. Anyway, it was quite an experience. What was most stunning to see, was the ongoing admiration for Mao. They still adore him, although it's supposed to be out in the open now what he did, his appetite for young virgins, etc.
The Chinese do not seem to have any notion of privacy. When they work in a factory, they eat and sleep there too. Clothes are hanging everywhere to dry. In stairways are small tables standing where they eat. They keep their bowl and spoon in a kind of locker (a lot smaller though) and there are also showers and toilets.
I visited a very luxurious factory, run by Dutch management together with a
very forceful Chinese lady who is in charge. When the Dutchman started the factory, he wanted to have good facilities for the workers, and he figured: "I sleep on a mattress, so I want the workers to have the same comfort." He also installed real toilets instead of the regular holes in the ground, but what happened? In no time the mattresses were thrown out and the toilets screwed of their sockets. They didn't want it! Weren't used to it.
Now it has changed a bit, and the people really like working there, because compared to other workplaces, this one is close to Heaven. They also work 7 days a week. Not so strange if you know that all they have, regarding personal things, is their bed and a small closet.
On the one hand, it's quite normal when you go to the ladies room for a Chinese woman to pull down her pants and sit down with the door open. On the other hand, if you visit a beauty salon and you have to take off your top (e.g. blouse), they hand you some kind of bag made of fabric to put over your head with an elastic cord without sleeves to cover your upper body. Even though there are just women there.
I also got a foot and head massage. I did this for the first time, and it certainly won't be the last. The Chinese lady took me there. It's really weird, for the foot massage you sit down in these big comfy chairs and a girl or boy (I had a girl, my friend had a boy) comes, sits down with you, puts oil on your foot and start with your toes. In the meantime you can watch some kind of Chinese soap opera on a big TV-screen. I must say that it was rather painful sometimes, but very relaxing. I can recommend both both head and foot massage to you!
by Caroline Verel