Some differences between China and Spain

I am back in Spain for Chinese New Year holidays and C came with me. It is his first time out of Asia and he just needed a couple of hours to find some basic differences between China and Spain.

1. Radiators. What is this hot thing nailed to the wall that keeps the room magically warm? Oh, it’s a radiator! While in Suzhou arriving home just means that you are inside a place, but as cold as outside, in Spain arriving home is a warm experience. No more 9ºC in the living room!


2. Beds in Spain are complicated: the typical bedding is composed of several blankets, a top sheet, a bottom sheet… with the sides tightly tucked under the mattress. Where are you supposed to be? In China there is just a quilt and you know you have to lie under it. Our hotel room in Madrid had twin beds with the typical Spanish bedding. C guessed wrong and lied on one blanket, covering himself with the outer quilt, until I noticed it and told him he was supposed to pull everything and get between the sheets! This also happened before when a Japanese friend stayed in my house a couple of years ago, so hotels in Spain should consider putting an explanatory sign (maybe a drawing) for Asian guests.

Or they could pull out a corner as a hint!

3. In some restaurants, the men’s and women’s room are indicated just with a C and a S. How are non-Spanish speakers going to know which toilet they should go in? So C just waited for someone to go in or out and when a woman went out of the toilet marked with a S, he got in the one marked with a C. He also says the men’s urinals are taller than the ones in China and he had to wee on tiptoes!

The toilets in Taiwan are also called “make-up room”. In Spain we are not that sophisticated, but a drawing of a man or a woman in the toilet door would help.

4. In the bus you have to press a button if you want to get off. In China you would just need to yell at the driver.

Empty seats in a bus? You won’t see that in China!

5. There are old things that have been like that for a long time. Old buildings are not knocked down and rebuilt again. Tourist attractions do not smell like fresh paint.

My hometown! This is the old part of the city, dating from the 15th and 16th century.

6. The sky is BLUE! And the air is CLEAN! PM2.5 has been higher than 200 almost every day in the last months in Suzhou.

Even in Madrid the sky is blue.