Archives For Chinese culture


August 15, 2019 — Leave a comment

When I was teaching at a university in China, most of the dorms were located in the northwest section of the campus. The dorms were heavily populated, and to be honest with you, poorly illuminated in my opinion. At the end of each hall there were bathrooms with several sinks, mirrors, and toilets. There was one very important thing missing — would you like to know what it was?

The dormitories didn’t have any showers! To shower, the students would have to leave their dormitory and go to the nearby bathhouse. Check out the bathhouse in the photograph below!

Obviously this building has more than one floor, and that is good for separating the males and females. I believe the boys are on the first floor and the girls were on the second floor. Another interesting thing about the housing involves the teachers. If you were a single teacher, you were given a room in the dormitory. On the other hand, if the teacher was married, they were given an apartment. For the single teachers in the dormitory, they didn’t like going to the bathhouse with their students.

Many of the students had plastic basin that they would take to the bathroom to fill with water and then bring to their dorm room and wash up a little before they went to bed. By the way, the photo below is from one of the student’s room that had 13 people living in it! Did I mention earlier the dorms were heavily populated? This particular room was on the end of the building and larger than the other rooms. 

While teaching at this university, I was always impressed by how clean the students were and their clothes. You guessed it: they didn’t have a place to wash their clothes on their hall either!

For some reason, I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the street market in China. The locals are looking for the freshest foods for their meals that day, so early in the morning they will go to the designated area for the vendors to set up their booths. Most of the people seem very nice, and many of them will allow me to photograph them. Would you like to know what I saw on my last visit?

Fried bread is a common dish in China, especially for breakfast, so it is popular at the morning markets. One nice lady allowed me to record her techniques for frying the bread. I have no idea how she does this without burning herself, but she seems to be quite accomplished at this! Watch for yourself and see if this is something you would do. Not many people will put their hand in a hot frying pan!

Here is another type of fried bread. It is noticeably larger than the ones I just showed you, and it would have a different flavor. Sometimes these fried breads are stuffed with a variety of fillings. What you are about to see in this video is the vendor slicing the fried bread. This fried bread was huge, and what you see represents only half of what was made in one “loaf.” I thought you might enjoy watching the bread being sliced!

Since I showed you the bread being sliced, I thought I would show you a picture of another device used for preparing/slicing food. I have seen many cleavers used in China, but I have never seen one shaped like this one, which was used for cutting meat.

My Latest Trip to a Chinese Street Market

Hopefully you have enjoyed our trip to the street market today! If you have the opportunity to visit one of these in China, I would like to highly recommend you take advantage of it. You never know what you might see!

Have you ever visited a Chinese street market?



Since I have been fortunate enough to travel to China several times, I have enjoyed reading the signs that been translated into English while I am there. During a recent trip, I encountered a couple signs that I would like to share with you today. Would you like to see them?

More Interesting Signs in China

Perhaps this is a motivational sign; it was located on a store-front looking building. This area has several small businesses, and some mom and pop restaurants. Maybe it is some advertising slogan, but I don’t know. It did, however, catch my eye. One thing that made me notice it was that it wasn’t a very traditional way of conveying a message in China. Usually the signs in China wouldn’t be this challenging to an individual.

More Interesting Signs in China

This sign was amusing and confusing all at the same time. It was taken in a public restroom in Beijing, and I saw it after a friend came out of the restroom laughing and saying I had to go see the sign. I wonder what exactly it was that someone wanted to speak to someone else about, as it is referenced in this sign. If you know, please share the information with me!

The signs I see while traveling are interesting to me. Some of the translations inspire my imagination, while others leave me puzzled.

Have you encountered similar signs or situations as you traveled abroad?



One thing that has amused me over the years of my traveling to China is the group of guys you will see enjoying a meal together. Well . . . they are usually enjoying more than just the meal! There is a longstanding custom in China for guys having a meal together that is played out frequently all around China.  Would you like to see what it looks like?

A Chinese Dinner Party for Men

It involves the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and it starts out innocently enough. With the meal, there will be a few toasts made to their group, accomplishments, company, team, or whatever else they have in common. At the end of the meal, more toasts are made; and then it becomes more like a drinking game. One person will go to another person and offer a toast just between them, not the entire table. Even if the guy having the toast offered to him knows he has had enough to drink, culturally he can’t refuse the toast. After a few of these something humorous happens.

With groups like this, it is considered an honor to be the person that pays the bill. So, a good-natured all-in-fun wrestling match will break out to see who gets the honor of paying the bill. This is so funny to watch, but let me make sure you understand that nobody is mad and everyone is having a good time. Yes, they may raise their voices at one another while they are jostling to see who will get to pay the bill, but nobody is mad — and I promise you, they are having a great time! Oh, and the chances are very strong that there will be several cigarettes consumed that evening!

Have you ever wrestled for the honor of paying the bill?


One thing that I am not is creative . . . just ask those that know me well and they will verify that. It is interesting to me to see how someone takes something common, and develops a new use for it. Such is the case for a hoverboard. During my last trip to China, I saw a couple of uses for hoverboards that didn’t involve children playing. Would you like to see the new uses for them?

What Would You Do With a Hoverboard?

The gentleman pictured in the photograph above is a delivery man, and what this picture didn’t capture was the speed he was traveling while holding a large box. I can’t imagine how much practice it took to be able to balance on a hoverboard, and hold a bulky heavy box, and be safe! I don’t know if OSHA has come out with a ruling on this particular use for the device!

What Would You Do With a Hoverboard?

The picture above shows a man who I believe was going to work. Apparently he didn’t like to walk the distance he had to travel, so he used a hoverboard. Maybe he had a reasonable distance to travel, and didn’t want to pay to ride a bus, so he used this option. I promise you it was very cold that day, so there was some very good reason for him to choose to be out in the weather!

With all of the trips I have had to China, it is interesting to me that I continue to see new things of interest!

Are your hoverboard skills good enough to navigate the streets in a city of 22 million people while delivering a package?



Tomb Sweeping Day

April 13, 2017 — Leave a comment

The first week of April I was in China, and I got to witness firsthand one of the Chinese holidays. The holiday is called “Qingming” or Tomb Sweeping Day. This holiday is designed to honor, or some would say worship, their dead family members. Do you want to know how the day is celebrated?

Tomb Sweeping Day

As the name indicates, a tomb is involved with this holiday. Actually, flowers will be left at a grave site, and even a bottle of the person’s favorite adult beverage will be left as well. Most people living in the cities are cremated, but people living in the countryside are buried and have a tomb stone, so the people living in cities will go to the streets and sidewalks to burn something for their ancestors. Can you guess what they burn?

Tomb Sweeping Day

This is money — well, fake money that is burned so their ancestors will have money wherever they are. The bills look like a 100 RMB bill, which is the largest bill used in China.

Have you ever heard of Tomb Sweeping Day?

The Show Must Go On

March 28, 2017 — Leave a comment

One of the interesting things to me about Chinese culture is how the indigenous people will go out each morning and purchase the food and other items they will need for the day. Believe me, the Chinese start earlier than we Americans do!

There are many intriguing aspects to the early morning shopping, and one of them is the morning market which appears all across China each day. The local farmers will bring their products into the city each morning, set up a stand, and sell the freshest vegetables, meat, fruits, baked goods, tofu, and fruits. Then in a flash, they all tear down their stands and the street returns to normal before the rush hour starts. So, what do you think would happen if there was snow?

The Show Must Go On - Morning Market

As you can see in the photograph above, the snow doesn’t prevent the vendors from coming to the morning market, nor does it stop the customers. I must admit, I was pretty surprised to see how all of the vendors still made it into the city, and the locals came out in the snow to do their daily shopping. I am from Atlanta, Georgia, and the amount of snow we saw this morning would have crippled the city!

Hopefully you don’t get caught in a snow storm in China! But if you do, take heart — because the morning market will be there for you!


Even though Christmas isn’t an officially recognized holiday in China, it is common to see plenty of holiday decorations. Many of the nicer hotels and department stores go all out with their decorations, and that is always interesting to see.

During a recent trip to China, I saw a combination of Chinese and western decorations together. So, what does it look like when East meets West in regard to Christmas decorations?

When East Meets West for Christmas

This photo was taken outside a mall that had holiday decorations displayed. The large green golf ball looking thing is actually part of a science education center for children, and at the other end of that building is where I have taught a time or two.

When East Meets West for Christmas

These certainly look different in the sunshine! If you are familiar with the song “Christmas in Dixie,” that wouldn’t apply in this location!

In this city there are several large department stores, part of a chain which is based in France, and they have many brightly colored options for your holiday decorations. You can even get a tree already decorated — and if you forget to say Merry Christmas, your tree can say it for you!

When East Meets West for Christmas

Maybe I should have this blog displayed again around the first of July. We will all probably be dreaming of a white Christmas at that time of the year!

Where have you seen the most interesting Christmas decorations?

In China, by far the largest holiday is the Lunar New Year, which is called the Spring Festival or “Chun Jie” in Chinese. It is based on the lunar calendar, so it doesn’t happen on the same day each year. It occurs around the end of January or the first of February, and this year it will take place on the 28th of January.

Happy Year of the Rooster

Some of the main customs surrounding Chun Jie are cleaning your home, eating jaozi (dumplings), and parents giving a child a red envelope full of money. This is called a “hong bao.” A couple of the lesser known traditions would involve getting a haircut and taking a shower to wash away anything bad. And as you can imagine, there will be lots of fireworks all day and night surrounding their holiday!


Many people also receive an extended vacation to celebrate this huge holiday. In fact, it is known as the largest annual migration of people, when all of the city workers travel back to their rural hometowns to visit their families!

Happy Year of the Rooster

This new year will be called the year of the rooster. I am told that the rooster has some good qualities like being a hard worker and not lazy! I hope you enjoy these pictures I just took during my latest trip to China, as they were starting to prepare for celebrating the new year of the rooster!

Happy Year of the Rooster

Happy Year of the Rooster!



The city where I taught at a university in China is full of old charm and culture. Although the population is nearing two million people, it still has some unique and treasured relics and culture. I know this very well about one of my favorite cities in the world — but would you like to see one of the recent surprises it showed me?

The Workhorse of the Skies

I can’t imagine how old this plane is! Can you see the two sets of wings? Maybe that helps date it. The diameter of the engine of this plane is huge, so I believe it must have a lot of power. I apologize for the quality of this photograph, but it was raining and I had to take the picture through tinted glass.

This area is an agricultural area, so the farmers need rain. I know that China practices cloud-seeding to produce rain, so perhaps this old workhorse of a plane is used for that. It looks like the cloud-seeding had worked very well this day!

For those of us that enjoy aviation, this was a very cool plane to see. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to travel who can, because you never know what interesting things you may see or do!

What’s the most interesting place you’ve traveled to recently?