Whether this is your first or 10th overseas posting, it’s only natural that you will experience some culture shock when you arrive in Beijing. Even if you’ve already experienced expat life in other parts of China, the city has some rather unique traits. As soon as you stop expecting things to be “like home,” you can embrace the adventure.

The Toilet Situation
The good news is that Beijing has the  highest number of public toilets in the world; the bad news is that not all will meet your standards. In older areas, public bathrooms serve as communal facilities. Squat toilets are still prevalent due to a belief that they’re more hygienic. Increasingly, public facilities include at least one western-style toilet, usually in the disabled stall. Toilet paper, soap, hand towels, and working dryers are rarely provided, so get used to carrying tissues and hand sanitizer. Shopping malls usually have clean facilities, but restaurants and cafes aren’t required to provide restrooms to their customers. You’ll sometimes need to put on your coat halfway through the meal to find the nearest restroom in the mall or building.

No Such Thing as “Right-of-Way”
One interpretation of right-of-way is 先行权 (xian xing quan), which literally means “first go rights.” This sums up how road etiquette is understood and applied here. Drivers adopt a “winner-takes-all” attitude. If you get your Chinese driver’s license, it won’t be long before you find yourself doing the same; it’s the only way you’ll get from point A to B. Teach your kids that a green pedestrian light does not mean it’s safe to cross. You’ll find yourself dashing across eight-lane roads, weaving through the onslaught of rickshaws, taxis, bicycles, and scooters. Drivers will often swerve around you and honk their horns rather than brake. That being said, it’s rare that they will go so far as to yell insults.

To read more, click here to read the rest of the article over on our sister website beijingkids.

Photos: James Emery

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog