The air conditioner has a CHAOS button. I haven’t pushed it.
Beijing is full of random awesome. These are a few things that amused me, with photos. They include the Beijing Bikini, the ubiqutious pet dogs, weird toilet signage and plywood car protection. There are many more charming quirks to the city, but this is what stood out for me.
1. The Beijing Bikini
This isn’t a good photo, but I think you get the point. When it gets hot, many Beijing men will hitch up their shirts, exposing a usually fat belly. This is completely normal. It’s this sort of casual humanity that makes Beijing so much more tolerable than Singapore, to me at least.
Dog at a mobile phone shop
First things first, Beijing is full of dogs. Little dogs, literally kickable size. And no they don’t eat them.
Perhaps in response to the one-child policy, Beijingers, especially old people, dote on their dogs. Sizes have long been restricted to under 14 inches in height, so these dogs are quite tiny. I’ve seen them outside shops, in the baskets of bikes, everywhere. Apparently people dress them up in shoes and clothes. There’s one fellow that wears sunglasses and a glowing neon collar (I hear).
In 2006, however, the government implemented a one-dog policy as well. Still, people here seem to love their dogs.
It’s kinda cute, but these are really the dumbest sorts of dogs, the handbag ones.
People do generally seem to clean up after their dogs, which is nice. Another strange thing I heard was that some parents let their kids poop on the road (and clean that up too). Apparently some kids clothes have open backs and others have stiff backs that open when the kid squats. In this sense one-child and one-dog management kinda converge.
3. Public Toilet Signage
The public toilets are fine, and a lot of people in the hutong use them. That’s not the issue. It’s just that the guy who got the contract to make warning signs put every warning possible on the sign. According to the posted signage, this public toilet carries the risk of dropping to your death and requires wearing a gas mask and a seatbelt (?) to use. I don’t even know what ovntilating is. Like, not a clue. I’ve used the public toilets, actually I used this one, and the warnings are unnecessary.
4. Car Security
Covering your wheels.
Many cars in Beijing will be parked like this, with plywood covering the wheels. I don’t know why. Will dogs pee on them? Will birds nest there? Do people steal rims? I’ll ask around, but this to me remains a mystery.
Finally, I’ve seen this but didn’t photo out of respect. Throughout the city, (usually) old people will have public, somewhat coordinated dance parties, for exercise. They play European house music and dance on the side of the street or in public squares. It’s amazing. Really an honest and charming city.