When we talk about China, we must always bear in mind that it is an extremely large and complex nation. It covers about 10 million square kilometers, and almost 1.5 billion people live there. This is 20% of the world population. It is impossible to describe this country in its entirety. Here instead are some curiosities to catch some facets of this immense world.
About China: The Largest Airport in the World
The brand new Daxing airport, about 50 kilometers south of Beijing, is the largest in the world. Inaugurated on September 25, 2019, it was built in less than five years. The numbers are staggering: with its 7.5 million square feet and seven runways, it guarantees 620,000 flights a year. The Chinese government forecasts a traffic of 45 million passengers per year in 2021, which will become 100 million in the following years. However, this starfish shaped structure is not just cold steel. Inside you can relax while waiting for your flight by walking through one of the five Chinese style gardens, with fountains, bridges and aromatic woods.
The Most Popular Means of Transport
Electric scooters are the main means of transport, especially in big cities like Beijing. The inhabitants use them without helmets, often in three. In Beijing, in order to buy a car, you have to go through a sort of “lottery” to get permission to buy it. This is due to overpopulation and the resulting pollution problems. For this reason almost everyone uses two-wheeled means of transport, despite the cold weather (in winter it is -4 °F).
About China and Smart Payments
In China, people do not use credit cards or cash. They pay for everything with their mobile phone using the QR code. Also, even if your smartphone is dead, you can pay for the metro ticket by putting it next to the reader. Restaurants in shopping malls have a billboard with QR codes that you can use to choose the food, pay for it and then go to dinner.
The Cult of Marriage
Married couples do not wear wedding rings. There is the custom of the engagement ring, but couples wear it before the wedding and then put it in a drawer once married. Women traditionally wear red (the color of luck for the Chinese), changing four or five dresses during the day. However, the western fashion of the white dress is also taking hold in the cities. The photo book is also very important, as the photos will then be used to decorate the house where the newlyweds will live.
About China and Lucky Numbers
In China, 8 is the lucky number. Its pronunciation is similar to the word ‘发’ (‘make’) in the phrase ‘发财’ (‘make a fortune’). Also, if turned 90°, it symbolizes infinity. The passwords of many public wi-fi systems contain the figure 8 repeated. Another fun fact: the phone number 8888-888888 was sold at auction for $280,000 to the Chinese airline Sichuan Airlines, about ten years ago.