My last post, Month 2: Japan, was over 10 months ago. Yeah, I’m a little behind on the sharing the journey but if you’ve followed along intermittently on my Instagram, you’ve gotten the gist of it.. sorta 😉
A plane & really expensive visa from Tokyo, set my feet in Beijing, China! Bluntly, It was disgusting. I came from clean, efficient, polite Japan & China was almost like India, which I hadn’t yet visited but the contrast was loud.. as was their tone when they spoke.
The smog blocked the sun the entire time in Beijing. Parents purposefully made their toddlers defecate off street curbs onto the street. Men would hawk loogies on the pavement as we walked by, their expressions mugging, “I’M CHINESE!” Hearing Mandarin spoken about was like listening to an argument between who would get to keep the child in a divorce, when they were only asking each other, “Could you please pass me a napkin?” Yeah, it wasn’t pleasant.
On the upside, the food was good 🙂 Peking duck, dumplings & an array of street sweets filled my belly. And oh, in that month, did my dumpling belly grow..
Meeting a girl who spoke Mandarin at our hostel, we set off to attempt finding the part of The Great Wall that wasn’t filled with tourist. I don’t like tours. I feel you can experience the world without being shepherded around like sheep. Try CouchSurfing, It’s perfect for this!
After 2.5 hours, 3 local buses & a hike, we approached this little village in the hills. We were 4 out of the 11 people on the entire wall! Half the Wall had been renovated & the rest was still ruined. “You can hear about it a thousand times, but you only have to see it once!” I was blown away by the architecture and size.. slaves made it?! My first, of the 7, “new” Wonder of the World!
After a week, I boarded my first ever train. Boy that was an adventure. English isn’t spoken in China. So it definitely wasn’t on the train or in my cabin. I booked the 12 hour train instead of the quick+expensive bullet cause well, I had time.
For the entire train/sardine can experience, read my Instagram post HERE
My dads sister lives in Shanghai with her husband. He’s a drummer in a band from the Philippines and in his spare time, he likes to cycle so I got the bicycle tour.. for the freeee.
Alan G. from elementary school at Eden Gardens was teaching English there so we met up a lot of the nights for Shanghais crazy night life. Good times brother 😉 I tried soup dumplings which are originally from Shanghai, YUMS! Then I heard from word of travel mouth that the Avatar Mountains from the movie were located in South China! A week later, I boarded a 24 HOUR train WEST to Zhangjiajie….fml.
#WheresNeenNow?! The inspiration for the setting of the movie Avatar, Zhangjiajie National Park. I was on this train for f*cking ever. During a stop, I got out to smoke a cigarette & met 3 American guys & 2 girls from America! What a relief that was. I hadn’t spoken to anyone in over 12 hours 🙂
One last train! I’m practically an expert now.. to Yangshuo. As a photographer by hobby, I had seen photos of this:
everywhere online. The mountains were also on the back of their 20Yuan bill. So.. I HAD TO GO!
I learned from a farmer on the road played with this centipede, that when out, they are signs of oncoming rain.. and it rained!
Being in the deep south of China, spoken Mandarin changed over to Cantonese. I was a hop skip away from Vietnam so the obvious (not ever in my plan) choice was to get my ass on a bus and cross the border. Pho, my favorite food!!! I will eat and share you soon..
People often ask, “So, what’s your favorite country?” No traveller has A favorite since we love where we visit for different reasons. I did though, love China for it’s landscape and scenery. The parks were breath taking. Almost Yosemite Valley breathtaking.. China is an enormous country and I barely scratched it surface. I didn’t get to see Pandas cause they were another 12 hour train west 😥 but.. that’s what “next time” is for.
So China, although I did bad talk you in the beginning of this, it’s obvious to say, I enjoyed you quite a bit. The people I met & lessons I learned. May they continue. Thank you for the experience & super oily food 😉
Make Money. Spend a different currency.