China

I’ve thought about this, and it’s hard to do my normal like/dislike list. Everything you HATE about China is kind of what makes it China. I’ll have a go though.

Dislike:

1)      Traffic/crowds – I’ve been to Vietnam. I can cross roads like the best of them. Or so I thought.  This is off the scale however. Green mean go, red means go, one way means both ways, pavements mean scooters and so on and so on. Not good for the nerves. And this is all above ground. The subway is carnage. Surely it makes sense to let people off the underground before you burst through the doors. China thinks not.

2)      Bad month for vegetarianism – Andi’s theory was that you have a 30% success rate with any one meal. As in there’s just something odd/wrong about the other 70%. Namely meat is in pretty much everything here. And if you think it’s not, you’re wrong, it still is. That said, i’m loving the work of all street sellers on the sesame seed/crab fried things.

3)      Neon metropolis v’s bleak/barren wilderness  – The cities redefine what smog and over populating is, stars are a distant memory. The countryside just makes you thank you’re lucky stars that you live in the city. Some of the farm hamlets I passed through on the trains look like the most remote places on earth. Ox’s still plough the fields?! It’s not really easy on the eyes like some countries.

4)      Being gauped at/photographed 24/7. Here is an extract from a conversation that Charlotte that I met in Chengdu had with her students (she’s a teacher). Charlotte: (Out of interest) Why do you stare so much at foreigners, surely you see lots of people that are non-Chinese on TV, in film or magazines? (referring to the reception that anyone white/black/brown/remotely western receive throughout China.) Children: “Just because it’s different. If we came to England we would be laughed/stared at?” No you bloody wouldn’t coz it’s RUDE! Honestly, I can do without people waving camera phones in my face for a while. I’m really not that fascinating.

5)      The Terracotta Warriors.

6)      Scale! An inch on a map is a 30 min walk, the subways run only North to South, never across. To walk even a fraction of Shanghai/Beijing is on par with an Iron Man race. But I guess that’s the deal with a population of over a billion.

7)      You know you are living in a communist state gone mad when you cannot even control your own central heating. Get this. The whole country gets their heating turned on, on 15th November, and it’s turned off, on mass, on some day in spring. Too hot. Tough. To cold? Tough!

8)      Sales tactics – Even when I bought the converse trainers the girl actually threw them at me and snatched her $100 yuan bill. The customer is not only wrong, but risks getting their head kicked in here too. Shopping is not fun. We all play the game, but trying to sell me knock of Diesel Jeans for a starting price of £80, is laughable. I got them for £7.50.

Like:

1)      It’s cheap  – Can of coke (30p) metro ride (20p) hostels (£3 and nice) and so on and so on. Dad/Kris: yes your xmas present probably cost 20p from the 2 yen shop. It’s the thought that counts!

2)      Facebook –   It is possible, although it doesn’t work 100% properly – Slow/no photos/vids, (www.f3.proxymice.com) Pass it on. However try Wikipedia-ing ‘Tianinman Square protests’ and it’s another story. Dislike; supreme censorship.

3)      It’s surprisingly safe (taxi’s are so well-behaved, schooled in the art of honesty & not tuk tuk)

4)      The giant panda. They have the whole world and they only live here. That must mean something.

5)      Crab/sesame seed fried street food things. At least I think it was crab meat. I know I mentioned them already but I’m obsessed.

6)      It’s a funny night out/always a bit mad. If it’s not grown men walking down the road in PJ’s, it’s the annoying pop music and the silly panda hats. Not a lot makes sense.

None of this matters. I’m forgetting of course the ULTIMATE dislike: The banning of wordpress for nearly three weeks. Hence the mass posting!

Where I stayed: Blue Mountain Bund Hostel Shanghai, Hangzhou Hafang Backpackers, Lazybone Backpackers Chengdu, Hangtang Inn Xian, Happy Dragon Hostel Beijing, Sanlitin Hostel Beijing.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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