I just came back from China!!!! Yey! It was two weeks full of a workout!! In a couple of years from now, I will remember two things; huge crowds -apparently that was nothing, compared to national holidays. That’s what they told me, yeaaah, sure…; and stairs! Wherever I wanted to go, I had to climb stairs! I can’t look at them anymore, seriously:D
Next time when I go, I will either take more extended holidays or stay in a smaller amount of cities. I had six cities for fourteen days, and that was way too many.
I started in Beijing, took an overnight train to Xi’an. From there I flew to Kunming and then took a bus to Dongchuan. Then I flew to Zhangjiajie. Lastly, I took the train to Guilin.
Whatever the time estimates are, make them bigger. The distances are huge! It doesn’t look like that on a map, but they are. The subway stops are 30-40minutes walking apart! In the city, I could have also used busses, but first I need to figure them out. And this is not easy for non-Chinese speaking person 🙂
Add to that queueing time. There are queues to everything. I mean everything and they are huge too! Doesn’t matter what time do you come. Plus Chinese people are horrible at queueing!! They do not stand in line and behave. I got pushed, squeezed, overtaken. Second of not paying attention and suddenly 20 people overtook me… Plus they start the queue an hour before opening time. Enjoy!
If you think you can get anywhere fast with a taxi, forget it, you will be stuck in a traffic jam for hours. And on top of that, you will get scammed because you are a foreigner so they can give you price out of the rooftop. And even if you know you are scammed, there is nothing you can do. They don’t speak English. If you don’t like the price, you can get out. Most cases they will not stop you 😀
Thinking of finding your way faster? Forget it… Most places suck with signs. You walk, you ask around, you walk more 🙂 At some point you will get to whatever entrance you were trying to get to.
On a bright side, most people are really friendly, even though they don’t speak English they try their best with translators or just gestures. It depends who you get to meet, but in my case, I only met a couple of people that didn’t want to help me. The rest was awesome, from just responding for simple queries to helping with buying tickets! And I did some complicated things like photo session, manicure or getting to a village 5 hours away from any big city 🙂 It all worked fine thanks to uncle google.
China is a beautiful country with such an exciting history and monuments. Nature is just great! Well, minus crowds, they are an integral part of life in China. Food is fantastic (and that comes from a very picky person!), the only shame is that even on a cloudless day I was never able to see a blue sky. Everything is covered in smog.
That’s just a short introduction: stick with me for a while, and I will write more. For now some pictures to make you look forward to more!