“People Mountain, People Sea”

I miss having “personal bubbles.”
Back home if someone invaded our bubble something was seriously wrong.

Here that does not exist. Chinese people are extremely hands on.
When having a conversation they will slap your back or arm — all in a friendly manner.

Both women and men walk extremely close together. I noticed this when my contact teacher, Annie, was afraid I would die from waddling out in front of traffic. She would grab me, or hold my hand on occasion.

I’ve noticed boys and men and girls and women alike walk very close together, oftentimes hold hands, put arms around eachother, etc.

This is completely fine by me. I think it’s adorable. People in America would never be caught dead doing this with their friends for fear of being called gay. Mostly with guys.

It has become a problem in my classes though. Boys especially. Boys like to put their hands on other boys’ legs or thighs, put their arms over eachother, or even sit on eachothers’ laps! It’s very distracting to the rest of the class when I am trying to teach a simple lesson.

I told some boys to quit touching each other. They stopped. Five minutes later I looked over and one of them was sitting on the other one’s lap!

It has become a problem because the kids have invaded my personal space. After class the other day it was time for lunch. The kids stampeded me to use the computer, thus ripping my flash drive out of the USB socket. My flash drive in turn split!

I yelled in the boy’s face, ‘DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF.’ At first he didn’t understand then he yelled, ‘I’M SORRY.’ I was so aggravated especially because that class had been particularly awful.

Thankfully my flash drive still works and no harm done.


About a month ago I received my first firecupping massage. I went with friends to have a footwash. A footwash is a very nice hour long massage of the feet and quick massage of the back. It’s about 4 USD. My friends convinced me to do firecupping with them. I was the last one to have the cups sealed to my back after watching my friends. It looked incredibly painful. It was about 3 USD.

However, looks are deceiving.

It was amazing! It felt like my whole back was being pulled for fifteen minutes.

The masseuse takes glass cups [the look similar to lightbulbs] then takes a torch and swishes it inside the glass then suctions it to your back. It is supposed to relieve you of any ailments you may be feeling and remove any toxins you may have.

Needless to say it was incredible. My back felt extremely hot then when the bulbs were removed extremely cool. I can’t wait to do it again. Best icy-hot ever!

The firecupping was on the fifth floor of some building. To find it you take a cramped elevator up. The elevator is right off the street. It is the sketchiest thing but the massage place is terrific.

The place we had it done is a little subdistrict known for shopping called ‘dongmen.’ It is in downtown Shenzhen. People from all over stand in the streets trying to scam shoppers. There’s a man who walks a monkey on a leash and if you take their picture he’ll chase you for money or the monkey will try to grab your camera. Children sell flowers but instead plant them on you and when you don’t pay they grab your legs. To get rid of them you have to pluck their ears and they run away. There was a man on the side of the street without any limbs. He was writing Chinese calligraphy with his teeth!

I heard from a fellow that there is one person who eats with chopsticks using his feet because he has no arms!


My contact teacher told me there’s a dance in the city square on Fridays and Saturday nights in Longhua. The city square is a few blocks from my flat. Christy and I had been hanging out all day and it was about 11pm on Saturday. We decided we weren’t tired and wanted to check it out.

Walking down there were plenty of what we like to call, “rollerblade gangs.” Chinese people on rollerblades which is the funniest thing. These streets are probably the absolute worst for rollerskating, skateboarding, or rollerblading–but somehow people tend to look past this and rollerblade anyway. We saw a dozen people eat it!

Finally we made it to the square. It indeed was a party at 1130pm! You could rent bumper cars and drive them anywhere. People were shooting off fireworks. You could rent tandem bikes, rollerblades, rollerskates. You could play miniature pool. There were street chefs–cooking skewered meat, making fried noodles, fried rice—Everything!

The closer we got the more we saw these little red lanterns floating through the sky. When we arrived we saw that people would take these red lanterns, light the inside on fire, and then set them off into the night sky. It was so neat. Similar to hot air balloons only miniature. There were plenty of games to play where you throw bean bags at stuffed animals trying to win them, shoot bb guns at balloons or throw darts at balloons.

Even a toddler was playing with a BB gun at 1145 at night!!

And here we thought county fairs were fun, but this is every weekend!

btw–“people mountain, people sea,” is a Chinese idiom…it means EVERYWHERE, there’s people!


About heidaway

Living-Breathing-China Dragon
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2 Responses to “People Mountain, People Sea”

  1. ”People mountain, people sea,” is an AWESOME idiom. By the way, you’d better be able to write Chinese calligraphy with your teeth next summer.

  2. heidaway says:

    OOOh I will be there and not be square!

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