From traffic tickets to breathing apparati


Before my grammatically inclined friends comment on the title; yes, I do know that the plural form of apparatus is apparatuses or apparatus.  “Apparati” just sounds so much cooler, doesn’t it?  For any of you geeking out, it would be the correct term if we were still speaking Latin, using the masculine, genitive case or in several plural cases…

I realized I hadn’t written anything in a while and wanted to send something out in case you are following this.  We’ve discovered some random, but interesting (or cute, or funny, or…) things around Beijing.  Here are several thoughts:

Traffic tickets come in the mail.  They may also be distributed by police officer’s on the road — I don’t know.  I am certain however, that sometimes they come in the mail.  One was slipped under our door a couple of days ago for a vehicle that I had never seen or heard of.  Interestingly, the vehicle doesn’t belong to my landlord either.  The unique thing that stood out to me is that the envelopes have a cute little character on them so that you have to smile when you see it.

Fashion:  In China, anything goes.  I mean anything.  The summer fashion was to add spikes to whatever you’re wearing.  I mean whatever: belts, hats, pants, purses, and shoes.  Imagine a ten year old that’s let loose in their wardrobe with a bedazzler outfitted for spikes.  Now that winter is creeping into our lives, fur has been added to everything.  Additionally, people are still attempting to look hot (instead of simply focusing on staying warm) and leggings and/or stockings are very popular.  The most-frequently sited styles are animal print, pleather, and something that I think is supposed to look like snake skin, but ends up appearing as though the wearer has a previously unknown skin condition.  It’s amazing.  If you can imagine all of that, you can imagine some of the wonderful things that we’ve seen out here.  Unfortunately, my phone and/or camera isn’t always fast enough to catch the best of the best, so I’ve included a couple of apparel items and combinations that I was lucky enough to catch for posterity.  Here are a few of the outfits that we’ve seen:

Please note that the spikes are added to the heels as well as the toes.  These shoes not only serve as a fashion statement, but as a personal protection device for self defense as well.

As you can see, super-platform heels and combination prints are also deemed acceptable.  Honestly, this makes dressing incredibly simple.  Whatever you choose to wear, you will always know that you may not be the trendiest person around (there are people here who could rival the best dressed in Paris), but you will certainly not be the worst dressed or the least coordinated.

Another awesome trend out there is the face mask.  We’ll post a better selection of masks in the future, but wanted to share the high-end, N-95 mask which we will recommend for all visitors when the “PM 2.5″ gets too high.  This term has become somewhat of a household term out here and refers to the air quality.  There are several cell phone apps that make checking it really easy.  The gist is: The number refers to the concentration of small, particulate matter in the air can get to rather high levels.  It has been shown to do bad things to your body long term (like smoking), but in the short term generally just results in the “Beijing cough.”

In addition to air filtration masks and amazing fashion sense, I am also able to purchase items that were previously unattainable.  What can only be described as military grade lasers are sold on touristy streets by vendors who nonchalantly shine them every which way in an attempt to attract your attention.  Nothing keeps you on your toes like jumping out of the way of motor bikes that do not adhere to traffic laws, barely avoiding being hit by cars that can legally turn right on red without stopping in a city where motor vehicles behave like they have the right away, only to take a deep breath as your foot lands safely on a sidewalk and being nearly blinded by a laser.

We have tons more to tell you, but we’re off to sleep for now.  I hope that you have enjoyed this snapshot of our daily lives and look forward to sharing more in the very near future.  Take care and sweet dreams!

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