It’s always interesting when you go to a different country and see locals acting in a way that is shocking to you and completely natural to them. I suppose every country is like this. For example, it is not viewed as rude, here in the Expo at least, to spit in public or hold your baby over a trashcan so he can poop. (It beats finding a public restroom, but I have had to stop this many times!) Out of all these quirks, one action that has always tickled my fancy is the “Asian squat.” While Americans might sit on a ledge, a bench, a table, or any available protruding surface…Asians will drop down to the floor in a squatting position. Somehow, their rear ends do not touch the floor and they don’t rest on the balls of their feet like most Americans would if you asked them to squat down. No, they can sink low into their squat an hold that position over extended periods of time. It impresses me- – I don’t think I could position myself that way!
The Expo has brought about another variation of the Asian squat: the “Asian mini-chair”. These tiny little fold-out seats, which grew in popularity once the queue-heavy Expo opened in Shanghai, are sold for only 10 kuai near the Expo grounds and are carried by a large majority of Expo visitors. They pop open their chairs, sit down to wait, and once the line starts to move forward, they can snap their chairs back into a little square and carry on their way. Very convenient!
These fun quirks make walking around the Expo always a fun experience. I could weave through mazes of visitors sitting on their mini-seats, and wonder in amazement at the nimbleness of the squatters in my midst.
All these sights are quite humorous, but I must say, my favorite sight has always been the cucumber-eaters. Reaching into their bags, visitors will pull out entire cucumbers and bite right into them. Usually, cucumber-eaters come in packs and will munch their snack together. It seems that in China, cucumbers are the hip snack for those-on-the-go.