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For our transatlantic brethren I’ve included the term elevator so this post actually makes sense, but I’ll stick with lift for the actual content.

If you look carefully you'll notice whole floors are missing - that's because the Chinese number 4 sounds very much like the Chinese word for death and thus is considered deeply unlucky and isn't used in any floor names in many (but not all) buildings.

Life in China is full of surprises many of them unwelcome, and there’s nothing less pleasant than using a lift in China. It’s all too common for at least one smoker to be puffing away in the enclosed space heartily scattering their ash over the other occupants. I’m all for smoker’s rights but in this case, I’d like the individual to be dragged outside and have an ashtray emptied over their head for this unpleasant infringement on other people’s lives.

If there’s no-one smoking, then there’s almost certainly someone on a mobile phone and they’ll be bellowing into it completely oblivious of the huge din and inconvenience to other riders.

Pet owners will bring their dogs into the lift and then let them evacuate their bladders or bowels all over the floor, no apologies offered and no chance of them actually cleaning up the mess either.

Curious and brave people will use your stay in the lift as an opportunity to prod and poke you, or to practice the only word they know in English; “Hello Laowai!” (Laowai is essentially a catch all term for foreigners in China, it’s only really supposed to be used for old foreigners but that doesn’t stop anybody from using it about anyone Western).

This hotel is taking absolutely no chances and has skipped the unlucky Western number 13 as well.

Even exiting the godforsaken things can be a nightmare, if there are people waiting to get on at your stop they won’t wait for anyone to get off they’ll just try and plough right through you. This has led to the invention of a game I call “Chinese Bowling” – where my large and six foot self slams straight into the offenders and scatters them over the floor like nine pins. I’m not sure that this has any effect on overall behavior, but it certainly stops people from trying this twice with me.

Because Chinese technology is not all that either, lifts are death trap too with a large number of people killed in plummeting broken elevators or getting trapped in them while buildings burn down. Or at least that’s the official line, I like to believe that occasionally people just snap when confronted with the colossal rudeness of the whole thing and then beat a pet owner or two to death with their own dog.

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