I am so German. That´s what I think, when I think about how I experienced China. I realized that I like rules you know, but in China nobody cares. Traffic regulations? Forget about it. The bigger the car the more likely it´s gonna run you over – no matter what. Green lights, crosswalks…whatever. The traffic is a nightmare and it takes forever to get from A to B, however they have a good metro system. Not to talk about the smog. Why line up, when you can cheat? 1000 people running to a train to catch a seat once they opend the doors to the platform. I saw it happening when we made a trip to the Great Wall. Kids and aged people struggeling alike. Overpopulation is really a problem for me. That´s for sure. What else. Hardly anybods speaks a word english. It´s very tiring if you can´t talk with anybody for two weeks. Not even small talk. Nothing. They look at you like you are an alien if you try it. If you try to speak poor Mandarin it´s even worse. I also like fix prices I guess. Tell me a price and I tell you if I would like to buy it or not, but in China you simple debate about prices all time time. Their is no fix price. I thought about getting a massage at the ariport right befor my departure. They had an official price list…at the end she said 200 and I said no, because the whole situation drove me crazy. I wanted to get an honest information about what I can expect…like what are the differences between the various options concerning the massages. No change. She smiled like she was high. It all was a big joke. Why fallow safety at work … one chinese more or les … nobody will notice it anyway. OK. I am getting cynical here. I really had problems to survive in China and I´m happy that I was not slain by a brick. It´s not my country, but it was an interessisting experience. The food was great and our trip to the Great Wall was awesome. We visited a spot that was not jet crowded by tourist. A wilder area close to a small lovelz village. They will build a holiday village there in the next few years unfortunately. We already saw the signs for the Great Wall Holiday Village. I loved the old opera house in the Forbidded City and of cause there are lovely hidden places like small theaters or roof-deck bars. Need to rethink all the experiences again, but now I am ready to walk a bit of the Camino. I arrived in Bilbao / Spain and I am very excited to meet up with Deanne and Chris from NZ tomorrow. I worked for them in their lovely restaurant on Stewart Island. They had planed to walk the Camino and I decided to join them for a few days. Hurra!
China never was on top of my travel list really, until a friend of mine moved to Beijing as a German teacher for two years. I always thought it is to complicated to travel to China and I was skeptical anyway, because of the one-party political system, the corruption, the overpopulation and the polution to only name a few reasons. Besides I need a visa (125 Euros. China are you kidding me?), I don’t speak the language and it is a ten hours flight to go from Frankfurt to Beijing. How do I make sure, that I only order vegetarian dishes, when I don’t speak Chinese and are unable to read the menu? A cheat sheet could help maybe. I’m flying tomorrow and it is time to get rid of the prjudices and make some new experiences. In preparation for this trip I started to read guide books and I am very excited how I will think about China after these next ten days. Here a a few things that I did not know about China jet:
- Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou are Mega-Cities (10 million people or more)
- 1959 till 1961 Great Leap Forward Famine (Unofficial estimates vary, but scholars have estimated the number of famine victims to be between 20 and 43 million)
- China has build huge brand new Opera, Theater and Concert buildings in the last few years (e.g. National Centre for Performing Arts Beijing, Operahouse in Harbin, Operahouse in Guangzhou, The Han Show Theater in Wuhan)
- The Beijing Opera knows four types of main characters: Sheng (the positive male hero), Dan (all female roles), Jing (male roles with glorious face paintings), Chou (clowns or fools)
- blowing your nose in public is considered rude
Do you have any tips for me or do you know great Blogs about Beijing or China? Please share the links. Thank you!
I’m getting ready for my trips to China and to Spain. Unfortunately I don’t speak neither Chinese nor Spanish. The last few days I read a lot to prepare myself and learned a bit more about the cultural differences between China and Germany. I also listend to chinese and spanish tutorials. Do you want to learn Chinese? Try chineasy. It’s an idea developed by ShaoLan Hsueh to help people to learn some basic chinese characters. Guess what: It works and I do enjoy it. She gave an interesting TED talk that you can find here. If her thesis is right and one only needs about 200 characters to read basic chinese, then there is hope for me. This really is an idea worth to spread. The design is great and the pattern she comes up with to help people to understand Chinese is clever. I hope I’m making the same progress in Spanish. Looking forward to discover Beijing and walk a bit of the Camino de Francés soon. Stay tuned and fallow me.