The Really Unexpected Pitfalls of Beijing

What my jeans look like
What normal jeans look like

As I wrote the title, I could just hear my CARIMAC Lecturer, Dr. James say “How can something be really unexpected? Either it’s unexpected or not”. Sorry Dr. James, you taught me better.

That being said, I just had to put in the “Really” to prove a point. Everybody expects that moving to a new country will have its positives and negatives. There will be things you can’t stand about the place and things you love, which would of course be unexpected because you didn’t know about it before. However, there is one thing that has happened while being in Beijing that I really just would never have imagined would happen.

The Problem

Since being in Beijing, all my Jeans have ripped at least twice on each leg in the inner thigh area. The first pair of jeans it happened to, was a pair of jeans that I had had for years in Jamaica. The 2nd pair of jeans was a new pair I had bought in Jamaica right before I came to China. I ended up having to throw those away. The 3rd pair of jeans was also a new pair from Jamaica. Finally, the the last pair of jeans I also had been wearing for years. I’ve been to the tailor to get them repaired so often, I’m no longer ashamed.

The Cause
At first, I thought my jeans were ripping because I put on weight. Then I found out that the same thing was happening to my foreign friends…in the exact same spot. That could not be coincidence. They also thought it was ripping because they put on weight, but we didn’t put on that much weight. One of my friends had the same thing happen to a pair of jeans she had for years as well, so she bought an expensive pair of jeans thinking the material would prevent it from happening. Nope, the same thing happened within weeks. Needless to say she was mad.
So, we’ve all finally come to conclusion that the water is ruining our jeans. The water in Beijing is extremely hard, and actually washing your hair with the water will cause your hair to break really badly. It’s advised to either wash your hair with bottled water or if that’s too expensive, wash your hair with tap water and for the final rinse use bottled water to wash out the chemicals out of your hair really well. So if the water does that to your hair, it must be doing the same thing to our jeans.

The Solution
Buy cheap jeans at the market and just keep going to the tailor to get the jeans mended until it starts to look too bad, then buy a new pair


5 thoughts on “The Really Unexpected Pitfalls of Beijing

  1. Yikes! I am so shocked that the water has that much harsh chemicals in it. Your skin is even more absorbent than your hair, so what’s the bathing solution! This is disturbing :S

    1. When I just got here, I didn’t realize how bad the water was and I would bathe and wash my hair without worry. Now that I’ve been here for a little while, I’ve pretty much accepted most things. So I know I can’t bathe with bottled water, so I try not to stay in the shower too long and I don’t shower unnecesarily ie. Once a day instead of twice. The water is just a part of the package.

  2. Danielle….never thought that it was the water ….but that’s an interesting twist …a Chemistry lesson for us all : )

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