Daily Life Expat Life

Awful things in China that really annoy me!

Awful things in china that really annoy me!

Sometimes there are days I wonder why I ever decided to come live in China. Days I honestly don’t know why I am living in China, Beijing to be exact. On these days I can’t stand the amount of people, the risks that I have to take when I decide to buy a pineapple from the local market or when I hop on my bike to go to school. I will explain to you why I can’t stand these things.

In general I love living in China. It’s a great country which has a lot to offer people who come to work here and also for travelers. Especially living in Beijing is great; it has the history of an old city and also the aspects that makes a city modern. If I didn’t love China, I would not lived here for almost 5 years. So, take what you’re going to read with a little pinch of salt. So much for my little disclaimer.

Awful things in china that really annoy me!

Poor air quality

Let me start with the biggest reason I sometimes hate the fact that I am living in China. The air can be very bad here. Some days the smog here in Beijing is just unbearable, especially when the PM 2.5 particles reach a level of 300. On days like these I won’t go out the door without my face mask, a RZ Mask. If I don’t wear it my throat will get soar and my energy level goes down. When the smog is bad I have less energy and often feel real tired. These are all short term effects of the pollution, I don’t even want to think about the long term effects of living in a city that is highly polluted.

Things in china

Looking very charming with my face-mask.

A dirty house

With the smog comes the dirt. There isn’t such a thing as insulation in China. At least, I haven’t seen it in any of the houses we have lived in. The dirt literally comes in through the cracks between walls and windows. It seems like I can’t do anything against it! I clean one day and the next day I find a ‘fresh’ layer of dirt on my window seal. If I wanted to keep our apartment clean I would have to dust, sweep & mop every single day. I’m not a cleaning lady, nor a housewife, so forget about that. We clean about once a week and keep up with the smaller stuff throughout the week, that’s good enough for us as we would rather go out and explore Beijing!

Beijing suffers from an continuous traffic jam

Forget about your standard rush hour. Beijing suffers from a continuous traffic jam! Traffic is always stuck, no matter if it is 8 am in the morning and people are trying to get to work or if it’s 2 pm. It effects me mainly in the afternoon when I’m taking the bus back from university. Most of the time it takes me about half an hour longer to cover the same distance than in the morning. Because of the continuous traffic jam, I try to avoid taking buses or taxi’s. Whenever it’s possible I take my bike to move around the city. Or the subway, also a good way to get around.

Horn Blowing

You know, I usually get why people are doing it (letting others know they’re approaching you from behind), but usually it is a completely useless action. Especially when people are lined up in front of a traffic light and waiting for the light to change to green. That’s not going to happen any faster when you keep slamming on the horn!

Food scandals

Exploding watermelons, gutter oil, baby milk powder that was poisoned or rotten meat in KFC and McDonald’s. Chances are you’ve heard about one or more of these food scandals. Just recently there was an issue with watermelons in Qingdao; people got very sick and a woman lost her unborn child. These things in China scare me. I don’t know where to buy my veggies and fruit. Should I go to a local supermarket, get them from the wet market across the street from our house or would it be better to buy them online from a organic shop? I honestly don’t know where the best place is.

Things in China

Being an attraction for the locals

No matter where I go in China I will always be an attraction for the Chinese. They gather around me to take photos of (and with me) when I’m waiting for my family at the entrance of the Forbidden City, but also in the elevator of our apartment complex I get stares and every now and then somebody exclaims ‘Ah, waiguoren!’ (foreigner). Now I have to admit that me being over 6 foot tall doesn’t really help minimize the staring…

Struggling with the Internet / Censorship

Some days I wonder if things could get worse when it comes down to the Internet. Major sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have been blocked for a long time, but recently the Chinese government has decided to make the Chinese Firewall even higher than it already was. A lot of sites are being redirected to a weird site making it impossible to access them. So annoying! I can barely get things done these days.


My parents taught me to throw trash in the garbage can. They also taught me to take my trash with me and throw it away at home if I couldn’t find a trash can. In China, most of the people weren’t brought up that way and that results in people who just throw their trash out on the street. It seems that the majority of the Chinese aren’t aware of the effects of littering on nature.

On the other hand, there are a lot of cleaners out on the streets to keep them clean, so in a strange way you could maybe say that littering provides work?

Things in China

I just couldn’t believe the amount of trash I saw in the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia.


I realize that all the things in China I mentioned above need to be put in perspective as a lot of them are cultural related. And since I’m from a different culture, who am I to judge any of the habits of the Chinese? These are just some things in China that I sometimes can’t get my head around.

If you have been to China, what are some of the things in China that you didn’t like?

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  • Reply
    June 13, 2015 at 2:38 am

    We are Canadians living in Guangzhou. It sounds like you should move to the south for less pollution and traffic! Overall, I love living in China, and we buy all our fresh produce from the wet markets. The Chinese are obsessed with freshness, and I trust the chinese produce more than that back home.
    My dislikes have to be parents getting their children to go to the toilet in the street. Seen some shocking stuff!

    • Reply
      Yvonne Horst
      June 13, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Hi David, thanks for the comment 🙂
      Those are good reasons to leave Beijing, what else has Guangzhou to offer?
      Same here, overall I really enjoy living in China. If I wouldn’t be enjoying it, I would have left a long time ago!

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