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Beijing Thoughts: Miscellaneous

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  • Beijing Thoughts: Miscellaneous

    Posting all these topics together to avoid making several more threads.

    There is no tipping here. Literally, nothing. Europeans are probably good with this but American's find it hard to comprehend. If you want to round up and give the taxi a few extra yuan that's fine. Wait staff or bartenders don't expect this. Sometimes if you try to hand them money for a tip they won't even know what you're doing.

    If you stick to the city and most bigger/tourist places they probably have soap in the bathroom and toilet paper. Just don't assume there will be the case if you get off the beaten path. Especially bathroom soap doesn't seem to be a popular in a lot of places.

    From a Western perspective the driving here can seem... a bit illogical and unorganized (and it is). If it's busy they'll "block the box" without thinking twice. If you're the first to act while driving in China you usually win. Even if you don't have the right-of-way from the Western perspective rules of driving. U-turning at a light and stop all of the on coming traffic for 15 seconds? No problem, you win! Pulling out to turn left and there's on coming traffic? If you got there first, congrats, you win! It only seems they are about the "rules" if there's a wreck.

    Also, pedestrians don't have the right of way. Drivers will stop if they see you but be careful. This is the case even if you have a green cross-walk sign. When I lived in Germany drivers will stop 20 meters in front of the crosswalk if you're there. Not so in China.

    The scooter drivers are probably the worst. There seems to be pretty much no rules with them. They'll go through lights whenever, they'll drive on sidewalks, and they'll go the wrong way down the road. I'd recommend looking both ways before you walk onto a street or a sidewalk. Just pay attention and you'll be fine.

    Just in case I'll mention this topic. I highly highly recommend you don't try to bring in or buy any illegal drugs while you're here. The Chinese don't mess around and will put you in jail for, I believe, 15 days minimum. Could be longer depending on the circumstances. Your country's embassy can't do anything about that. They don't get to make or enforce Chinese law just as the Chinese don't in your respective countries. Westerners who aren't so tech savvy (or smart) have used WeChat to buy drugs and got busted because of it. Stick to alcohol and cigarettes to play it safe. As far as I can tell there is no drinking age. Plus you can drink on the streets and in cars (at least I do and they never say anything).