“Shit, spitting and staring” Paul Merton does China.


Last year in the build up to the Olympics, we probably saw a record number of shows based around China. Journalists and presenters of every kind headed there trying to enlighten the rest of the world on what truly is a quite unknown place. Many people have been to China, and many more think they know what it is like. I can tell you that living there shows you a side of China you can’t possibly experience by just coasting through on a holiday or tour.
Before we left for China, we were absorbing every concievable piece of material based on the country. From learning Mandarin to reading travel fiction to watching documentaries on TV. One particular documentary series – well I wouldn’t call it a documentary, more like a travel commentary, has British comedian Paul Merton exploring the country over a period of 6 weeks. The show is broken down into 4 episodes, covering a good chunk of the popular touristy areas of China, starting in Beijing and eventually finishing up in Shanghai.

We really enjoyed the show before heading to China as it showed the country through quite an accurate lens. At some parts we thought he was being a little too ‘culturally critical’, such as when he’s in Chengdu and has come down with a cold, he proclaims, “I’m sick of the shit, the spitting and the staring.” Now that we have since lived in China, we are re-watching the series and thoroughly enjoying it. To someone who has lived there for a period, there are so many things that you pick up that you arent aware of without having been there. Upon our second viewing, the ‘Shit, spitting and staring,’ comment absolutely cracked us up. It is so ridiculously accurate. There are days in China where you are just over everything. Days where you are so ridiculously frustrated, that the previously bearable ‘shit, spitting and staring’ becomes the unbearable.

For anyone interested in China, we highly reccomend you go and find a copy of “Paul Merton in China.” It shows a very accurate description of what can be a completely crazy, yet highly satisfying country to explore. It reminded us of the ridiculousness of every day life. How every day coughs up completely random events that have you belly laughing. It’s a difficult country, but if you go there with a sense of humour you’re in for a real treat.

Culturally, the Chinese are very different to us, but at the same time, amazingly interesting.

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2 Responses to ““Shit, spitting and staring” Paul Merton does China.”

  1. Tom Says:

    haha! I just searched for Paul Merton and found your page πŸ™‚

  2. Marcus Says:

    Sweet πŸ˜€

    Why were you looking up Paul Merton?

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