Whiney Laowai

It’s hard to be a laowai today in China…….the inevitable article.

Today’s Laowai in China have it hard.  No longer a curiosity, people today just don’t think of us as much of a waibing(foreign guest) as they used, too.   No one allows us to cut to the front of the line.   No one walks up to the street anymore asking “can I help you?”  People still stare….just not like they used too, ie as if we were aliens. 

Animosity has become commonplace towards the laowai.  They think we’re all pimps…the dregs of our own society.  Outcasts.  As China is the place where all things go to get recycled alas, we send the grist of our steak to China as well. 

However, dare I say that for the newly arrived laowai of the past several years…..boy do you have it good!

Oh where to begin……..let’s reminisce:

Fast food……

Yep, life is nice when you can load up on a McDonald’s bfast!   Or get a pizza!  And it doesn’t have to be at Pizza Hut!

When I first came here we had none of those things in Guangzhou.  Or Shanghai!    If I wanted pizza I had to take a train from Hangzhou to Shanghai, to get one.  It was served at a streetside shop down the street from the Shanghai Music Conservatory.  They’d heat it up and everything. This was the place all laowai stayed at in Shanghai back in the early 90’s. 

ATM’s…..spare me. 

You want some cash?  Either go to the local black mkt guy or go open an acct at your local Bank of China like the rest of us!  And be prepared to wait in line abt one hour for that 200 rmb withdrawal.  (which lasted abt 2 weeks than)


Go get a bike like the rest of us and see the city.  Don’t worry, we didn’t have any cars back than.  Just a lot of red VW taxi’s.   No wonder I was so damn thin back than.  Now your biggest problem is not the subway itself but which line to take, there are so damn many.  Crybaby!

Want a drink? 

Do you like pineapple beer?  Qingdao?  Yanjing?  You want foreign beer?  Fine….drink Qingdao(originally made in a foreign German brewery).  Whiskey?  Go to the Friendship Store and hope they have some Jack in stock.    Better be ready to drink your Jack and Coke warm….because you ain’t getting’ no ice, and the coke is warm, too.  Why is that?  Because the local supermkt’s don’t sell anything cold yet.

You want some milk to maintain that calcium?  No problem…..they deliver goat milk to your door for 5 yuan per week.   Ignore all that stuff that floats to the top.

Today’s laowai in China have it so good.  Even the police speak English!  Yet while having that beer in McCauley’s, or O’Connell’s, waiting for that big beef burger and steak fries to arrive, it’s still good sport to make sure everyone within 4 tables of you here’s how hard your life is nowadays in this “backward ass country”.

Wanna club?  Are you kiddin’ me?  Go get some guys and drink in your room.  Have someone play his cassette in a radioplayer.

Find a chick and want to a) go get a room or b)live together?(I’m laughing before I even finish this.)
Well….if you liked a chick in 1990 you had to take her back to your room like I did.  Of course that means she has to sign in.   That means no overnight snuggly for either of us!  No,  you couldn’t get a hotel.  You couldn’t sneak a boiled egg into your room in 1990.  Live together?  Where?  In the aprt her mom and dad share?  There was no subletting when I first came here.  Nor was housing for sale.  No one bought or sold anything.

Coffee….?  Why not go to Starbucks..wait!  Didn’t have it than!  (Am I being a prick yet?) you want coffee?  Go buy the instant nescafe that every supermkt carried.   No, they don’t have them at Walmart, because WM wasn’t in China yet. 

Outdoor cafĂ©?  Where the fuck you think you are, Paris?  Drink your coffee in your dorm room like everyone else.    You don’t like instant coffee?  Than drink some Tea!  Chinese tea.

Movies!  Dvd’s!  You want to go watch a movie eh?  Get your ass to HKG.  Plenty of movies there.  And Pizza.  And Books…and Big Macs!  Pity if you live in Harbin, though.

Mail? We had one guy who was always wondering if he just shouldn’t send out a form letter to all his friends, rather than write each one a unique letter?  (I suggested the latter).    Don’t have to worry about that now…..cause we have internet!  Email!   We were constantly exchanging books with each other back then.    Living in China than was quite frankly good for one’s reading.  I read the Lonely Planet backwards and forwards.   Problem was one ran out of books and had to return all the way to Hong Kong to replenish!

Chicks?  Women?  You want a romantic life you say?  Finally I come to the area where perhaps the laowai today in China actually does have it better than I did then.   How’s that?  First of all, your chick wears makeup.  Sexy lingerie.  She understands oral sex(for starters).   She even wants more!  She wears her dress better.  And she knows how to dance!

Yeah, I’m an arrogant middle aged man….you will be too, someday,    So smirk and feel sorry for me.  China's come along way.   So stop bitching!


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