American crowds have nothing on Chinese crowds. I mean sure, we have those moments where we have to let down those personal space bubbles and brush shoulders with strangers. Those moments are usually at events where everyone going knows what's involved, though. You know; concerts, when school lets out, Black Friday, all those type of occasions. But in China, all you need is a major holiday, a tourist site, 5 pm at the grocery store or something free, and the crowds come running and if you're around when they do, you better believe you'll be brushing shoulders, bums, legs, and so on.
Seriously, looking at these crowded pictures brings me on the verge of a panic attack. Okay, not seriously but figuratively. I mean, that is heck a crowded. There's no Wonder of the World that would get me to stand in that crowd. But check out their faces. No one really looks distraught. Most of them look quite content. It just doesn't seem to bother them as much as it would me.
A crowded train station during the Chinese new year.
During Chinese extended legal holidays most people journey to their hometown to see their families. If you are traveling in China on a National Holiday make sure you book your tickets, with a seat, way in advance. Otherwise, you might be standing in a line like this to get your ticket.
Beaches fill up this time of the year. Bus loads of people are bused into costal cities from their surrounding countrysides to enjoy the sea side. It's like Spring Break in Miami except less alcohol, more clothes & all Chinese people. I mean I've never actually gone to Miami on spring break, but you get the idea.
It looks like one of those flash mob pranks to me. Because of course, no one would willingly get in the water with that many people, for fun?! It would have to be a prank, right? Wrong. Not in China.
I'm not even sure how enjoyable this can be though! To me it looks like a recipe for disaster. And is the water even still cool and refreshing? With that many people it seems like it would be just warm, dirty water.
It's well known that Beijing traffic is insane in the membrane around here. One of the worst traffic jams in history was in Beijing in 2010. It was 62 miles long and went on for 12 days. People had to camp out in their cars and stuff, like one giant block party!
Check out all those itty bitty swim shorts. Many Chinese men here dig the spandex and speedo swim wear.
It's safe to say you should probably try to avoid trains on National holidays, eh?! People squeeze in every space possible. In China, you can buy a "standing" ticket on a train, which is exactly as it sounds. You have no seat, no where to lay your head, zero, zilch, nada, nothing. You stand where there is room. To get to their home town by train many people must/choose to stand for 20+ hours because all the seat tickets are sold out. That's some dedication to get home!
Are you travelling to China during a National Holiday??
Here's some tips on handling Chinese crowds:
1. Be patient. You probably won't be going anywhere for awhile, so why get anxious? Patience is the best attitude.
2. Breathe. Just breathe. For your sanity and also because you could easily hyperventilate from all that claustrophobia.
3. Bring hand sanitizer, deodorant, spray, whatever you need to feel clean after standing in a hot, sweaty crowd for hours.
All you Westerners out ther-- Do some arm circles and jumping jacks for me the next time your at the grocery store. Heck do a cart wheel. There's enough room! Soak it in & be thankful for all that space.