Dichotomy of Cleaniness

Warning - the following may contain content which may gross the reader out. Just feel fortunate that you don't have to see what I am going to describe.

I don't want to knock the Chinese culture and all, but some of what they do seems odd. Take the following two behaviors I have observed and you can decide:

For dinner Saturday night, XiaoHua and I eat at the closest KFC. That's right, KFC, as in 'Kentucky Fried Chicken'. Except no one here calls it that - it is simply KFC. And I say the "closest KFC", because this chain is very popular in China and well, there are several of them in Nanchang (I have ventured upon at least 3 of them in my short time here). XiaoHua really likes KFC - she says this with a smile, so I know it is true. I have eaten mainly Chinese food since arriving, and I was ready for something on a bun for a change. So I get a breaded chicken sandwich. And a pair of food service plastic gloves. I look around and notice that people are eating their food with these gloves on.
So I ask XiaoHua - "what are these for"? And she replies - "to keep your hands clean while you eat your food".

Contrast this to what I commonly see while walking around the street:
Man is walking and spits on the ground. They ALL do this, about once a block.
Man stops to blow his nose. He leans over a bit, pinches his nose and blows into the street. Or onto his fingers, or pants. The he picks his nose. Wipes the sweat from his face.
Toddler-aged children walking around with open-bottom shorts. I guess if they need to relieve themselves, they won't get their clothes as dirty.

And these are the folks who eat with gloves to keep their hands clean while they eat their KFC.......

I tried to go swimming in the hotel pool last night. I only lasted 10 minutes because the men in the pool doing laps completely grossed me out. They would swim across the pool and once they reached the pools edge, they would stop a bit, cough up a louie and spit into the pool drain that follows the pool edge. Then they would blow their nose (pinching their nose with their finger) into the drain as well. At each end of the pool. And this wasn't just one guy - like three of them using the pool drain as a spitoon and mucous collector. And imagine the noise these guys are making while doing this, in a nice large echo chamber the pool is. ICK.

Again, these are the folks who eat with gloves to keep their hands clean while they eat their KFC.......

Ai-ya - I just don't get it.

ken –   – (December 8, 2006 at 2:18 PM)  

have you used one of the bathrooms yet in any place that isn't a multinational company or hotel? A fascinating experience. I love the gloves thing. I didn't eat any KFC food while I was there but can totally believe it.

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