I’m currently living on the campus of Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics. This is a large college campus; there’s normally more than 10,000 college students here. However, all of the normal students were on holiday for the first month we were here, so life on campus was a little quieter than normal.
For this story, it's important that you understand that China is really big on gates, walls (obviously), and pretty much barriers of any kind. There are 5 different gates surrounding the UIBE campus. Since most students were gone, four of the gates were closed for most of the day. This makes getting in and out of campus incredibly inconvenient, especially since it was freezing outside which means we all wanted to limit our time out in the cold. Walking around the entire campus wasn’t conducive to quick jaunts off campus, so we took cues from some of the locals and tried alternate methods of getting around the barriers.
All the families in our neighborhood were climbing over the campus East Gate, so we started doing that. If an old Chinese woman with 2 bags of groceries can hope the gate without batting an eye, I can definitely do it too!
By the end of the month, campus security guards were tired of everyone hopping the gate, so they started completely covering East Gate with some sort of disgusting goo to discourage people from climbing over it. It worked as a deterrance for the first few minutes, but it didn't last long because it was never long before some determined old local started wiping the grease off. People were usually back to hopping the gate within 2 hours at most.
When we wanted to go out of North Gate, we would just slither under that one instead. At first, we thought these gate shenanigans were bizarre yet hilarious, but it quickly became a mundane part of our lives. By the end of the month, I was climbing over East Gate four times a day without thinking anything of it. Since gate climbing isn’t really a normal part of most people’s typical day, I thought you all might appreciate this little quirk from our Beijing life.