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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Midnight Hotel Phone Call

During your travels in China, unless you have friends in every city, you will at least stay in one hotel. 

Hotel rooms in mid-to-large sized cities contain something that American hotels never do: condoms and sexual paraphernalia. On a desk somewhere in your room may be a little plastic case containing condoms, some kind of scented towels and underwear for each person, or something of the like (they are not free, of course). 
Usually, the cases are bigger and with more stuff, but you get the idea....

Besides the obvious fun this could provide for the customer, it is also part of a governmental effort to combat the growing HIV problem among the Chinese population.

The hotel does not stop there. Later in the evening, some hotels will even give you a call asking you if you need any “services”. Basically, they are asking if you want any girls to come up to your room. The costs vary, of course, but if you do not wish to have these services or if you cannot speak Chinese, it is a good idea to unplug the phone in your room if you do not want this kind of call. If your Chinese is not very good and you don’t understand and do not make your meaning clear, they will send up the women anyway. If they come, simply tell them you do not need their services. 我不需要服务。

The phone is pretty much for this purpose only - the hotel doesn't call you just to ask if you have enough towels.

This is an interesting aspect of Chinese culture. Since prostitution is 'technically' illegal in China and sex is a taboo topic of conversation, it is strange that hotels will arrange such services. China is known to be a country which loves to grow its economy, so something as lucrative as hotel prostitution is something which businessmen have not overlooked.

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