Some obvious differences between China and Spain

I wanted to write this post while I was in Spain but life got in the way and now I’ve been back in China for a week. Doesn’t matter, it’s still relevant! These are some of the differences between China and Spain that struck me during my last visit to my home country.

 

– The color of the sky

I feel I’m a bit like a broken record with this topic, but the last year has been so hard on me. The air has been consistently bad in Suzhou, even during spring and summer, and I’m at the end of my tether. I felt bad for keeping Baby A. mostly at home and I felt bad when I took him out with not-so-great air, but children cannot be locked at home forever. Going to Spain was, literally, a breath of fresh air. No more having to constantly check the PM2.5 readings. I could happily open the window every morning without any worry. Such a small gesture becomes precious when it is taken away from you.

If only I could have this sky here…

 

– Mobile payments

In this regard, China is in the future and Spain is in the 19th century. I did see my brother paying in a restaurant with Apple Pay once, but it is not widely used. In China, on the other hand, you can pay with your mobile for anything and everywhere using WeChat or Alipay, which everybody has. I don’t even have to carry my wallet anymore as I never use cash or cards.

It looks like the phone is pooping, but well…

 

– Road etiquette

Try standing next to a pedestrian crossing in Spain. Absolutely every car will stop for you. Try doing the same in China. Good luck. Even when I have already crossed half the road and they see me standing there in the middle, pushing a stroller, most cars will not stop. Because I am a grumpy old woman and I don’t care about anything anymore, I am now in the habit of cursing at the cars that don’t yield (i.e. all of them). I know, I know, I’m a great example for my son…

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Out and about with a child? In Spain, all the cars will yield to you. In China though, everybody will pretend they can’t see you…

 

– Shops’ opening times

Do you suddenly feel like eating an ice cream at 3 am? If you’re in China, no problem, there will most probably be some 24 h store nearby. You might even be able to order it on your phone for immediate delivery (I’m not 100% sure of this though, as I never order delivery and even less in the middle of the night). In Spain though, many shops close in the middle of the day (mostly between 2 and 5:30 pm, except supermarkets) and at 9 pm until the next morning. And most don’t open on Saturday afternoon (except malls and supermarkets) or on Sunday.

In Spain you can always find some bar or cafe open, though…

 

– Daylight distribution

In Spain, during the summer, there is daylight until 9:30 and even 10 pm in some places and during some weeks. In Suzhou, in the summer, it gets dark at 7 pm. China is a huge country that for political reasons only has one time zone even though it should have 4. This means that in Suzhou the sun rises at a ridiculous hour (5 am or earlier) and it gets dark too soon. Most people don’t leave home for work until 7 am at the earliest, so you’ll agree with me that it’s useless to have 2 hours of light in the early morning when you could enjoy them in the evening…

Rainbow after a sudden pouring. Picture taken at 7:15 pm in the easternmost part of Spain (so, where the sun sets earlier than in my hometown).