Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hello? Anyone Up For a China Rant?

This is essentially a dead blog, but I was browsing through it for nostalgia just now because I'm homesick (and a little drunk) in a hotel in Asia, and -- I have no false modesty -- I've had some pretty good posts on this thing. So below is a cut-and-paste from my friend Dan's FaceBook page. Dan liked an email I'd sent him while in China last week so much that he re-posted it with this preface:

(Dan): "Read this incredibly good rant from my friend who is on a business trip in China. This friend travels to Asia all the time. This person has been to amazing places and seen amazing things and loves nothing more than to become immersed in strange food and drink and culture. But this friend has some issues with China. I got this email this morning. It's insightful and interesting and detailed. It's also an awesome double-barreled unloading from a person who sounds tired and cranky and unimpressed. It's funny. My friend gave me permission to share it (after I begged), on the condition that my friend remain anonymous. So please, if you know this person, don't type this person's name in the comments."

(Lonnie Bruner): "Not a fan of China. I've been here before, and a lot of the
culture is like the rest of Asia, but a bit amped up in parts, with
many of the good elements stripped out.

All this week I've been eating the regular Chinese fare of chopped cow
stomach, jellyfish with chili peppers, greasy pork with an inch of fat
on top of slimy clear noodles (nearly all food manages to contain some
part of a pig), steamed celery, carp (mouth agape) in an inch of brown
sauce, and 106-proof Chinese rotgut to wash it down. Often there's a
whole chicken (I really mean "whole" in a literal sense -- includes
head and feet) that looks like someone boiled it and then ripped it
apart with their bare hands and angrily threw it down on a serving
plate -- without sauce.

The pressure to drink and drink and drink is obnoxious. I mean, they
toast back to back and drink like every 4 minutes and pressure you
more if you try and refuse (after accepting like 6 straight shots of
53% alcohol that tastes like public restroom cleaner. Not kidding).
They just bring in hard liquor to any restaurant, sit the bottles
(always bottle*s*, plural) on the table, and serve themselves -- and
they do. It's fucking annoying as hell, and I need to vent a bit.
Also, everyone smokes. Everyone. And they don't open windows in the
room while smoking. So you're trying to grin and bear it in a hot
sealed-up room and eat this fucking shit food while your eyes are
literally burning from the smoke in the room. And after a while, I
just refuse to drink, along with XXXX, my distributor (he's Taiwanese
and confided that he hates the way Chinese drink). And a couple of the
guys polish off over 750ml of this liquor EACH. They have to be
carried out of the restaurant. Apparently, these guys do this nightly.
It's just common as hell, I'm told, because basically every male I saw
in the evening was falling down drunk (Tuesday night btw). Fuck them.

Another thing -- it's hot as fuck here and they serve you HOT WATER in
a plastic cup when you sit down for a meeting during the daytime. I
mean, what the fuck. Seriously, hot water. I mean, sometimes it's
actually got a couple of sprigs of green tea it in, but 8 times out of
10 it's just plain hot water in a cheap plastic cup that's basically
melting when you pick it up.

And the country is so god damn soulless. It's just endless mile after
mile of 10-lane brand new highways and nuclear stacks and blocky
skyscraper apartment buildings and cranes and pollution haze. There's
nothing aesthetic about any of the China I've seen. It's like an
entire population could give a damn about making anything look
pleasing to the eye. I mean, places like Thailand or Vietnam I'm often
struck by how beautiful things are -- landscaping, mountains, vistas,
art. China -- none of that. It's just heavy industry and cranes and
half-finished buildings as far as the eye can see. And it's all
fucking flat pretty much! Shit, even the clouds are ugly because
they're covered up by the pollution haze. This pollution haze is
really a phenomenon that has to be seen to believe. You can't imagine.
The entire country is covered in a yellowish/whitish haze; you can
drive for 500 miles and it's still there, everywhere. Maybe 1,000
miles, I bet.

Anyway, rant over. I feel better now. Thanks for listening. Hopefully
I'll find something redeeming. Oh wait, here's something cool: our
afternoon meeting was cancelled so we went to the Shaolin Temples
where Kung Fu was created. That was pretty cool.

Best,
LB

ps: and the fucking government has blocked all the internet stuff that
makes life a little more bearable (ie, facebook and porno)."
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I missed this post until now (11/8/12) although I must admit I took your blog off of my roll, hesitantly. I think much the same way you do, but your writing is truly unique.
 
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