Few Random Thoughts Brought back from China

I just returned from China — landed at the Changi Singapore Airport around midnight from Beijing — and as usual it was a good fun, but it's also great to be back.

As I'm traveling for my side projects — which aren't progressing as much as I would like — there isn't much worth sharing with you here, except maybe the confirmation of most of what we've been hearing everywhere about

Here are just two things that I wanted to share — one of which is more than pleasant and the other one is simply terrifying.

So what I really enjoy in China, is the culture of food and the enormous variety of food. Something we, as westerners cannot grasp: when we go to a chinese restaurant in the US or in Europe, we get a localized version of not so good food, mostly coming from the Cantonese culture.

Food is really amazing in China — and yes, they do eat weird stuff like silk worms, jelly fish, duck heart salads and intestine and stomach dishes which I tried and I'm still alive to tell about it — with hundreds of varieties of food, very nice way to present it, and central to the idea of communities: you share your food.

Just to give a concrete idea about what I mean, many of the restaurant we went to have menus that are about 60 pages long, and one of the small ones we went, had about 10 of these 60 pages dedicated to just for their dumplings: I counted about 120 different kinds of them.

Now to the scary bit: China is a country where you live in constant fear or danger. You cannot trust anything. To begin with, you cannot drink the tap water, and you have to pay attention when you get drinking water: check the bottle wasn't opened before being hand over. Then, you cannot breath the air outside. The air is polluted in the areas I've been that sometimes you cannot see from your hotel room the other side of the road (ok, it's a large 6 carriage ways road, like most of the main roads there).

So I was surprised, when walking with one of my local friends in a large supermarket, I noticed a lot of food and packaging from abroad. I asked my friend, thinking that the Chinese where opening themselves to outside, but I was shocked by his answer: "people buy food from abroad because it's safer". So basically, you cannot trust the food neither, nor can you trust almost anything produced and sold locally.

Finally, to dismiss one of the myth of the Chinese workers working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and being so efficient: the Chinese government prohibits by law the workers to work more than 32 hours overtime of their normal 9 to 5 day. In addition to that, most restaurants and shops close at around 8:30 or 9:00 PM, which supports the idea that you cannot leave the office late and hope to find food or go for drinks...

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