Nĭ hăo! Welcome all to the travel section of TwoGuysNoLies. Our first exploration is from China and I will give you a brief insight into the lessons learned from our communist compatriots. An incredible trip, seeing some of our planets finest memorabilia but also understanding a culture that is so unique to many Westerner’s.
Don’t try do a 2 week holiday as a travelling trip.
After our past summer of frolicking through South East Asia, we embarked full of optimism for another Asian adventure. Budget hostels, cheap street food and cautiousness with expenditure were at the forefront of our first week but once we arrived in our final location of Shanghai, we bunked into a 5* hotel and had a blast. Being tight arses abroad (for a holiday) isn’t fun and should only be used as a necessity!
Chinese people aren’t South East Asian..
Again, now sounding like a pretentious traveller, we were judging Chinese people as if they were Thai/Indo/Cambodian or from Laos. We couldn’t be further from reality. A general arrogance smothered the Chinese majority, although we were fortunate enough to acquaint a few of unbelievably friendly locals, including this accordion player in Beijing
The smog is way worse than what you could ever imagine
When people say “China is smoggy”, we were like “How bad can it be?” WOW! I felt each individual bit of pollution inside my skin follicles as I walked around. The worst thing about it was, the face masks you so often associate with Chinese motorists and walkers were only available from the hospital! No wonder there’s a staggeringly lower life expectancy!
It’s busy, hectic and everything goes 1,000,000 mph.. except the people!
Now I understand that this line might not make sense but if you were there or have ever been, you’d understand it completely! It appears that everyone wants to burst out of the sardine incarcerated tube stations but each individual branches out at their own leisurely pace. Imagine a race to the ovaries, all bunched together with a couple breaking away….
China’s turning into a commercialised metropolis and the true serenity can only be found in certain rural areas.
This was a major disappointment. I was fully expecting and hoping for rural China. Fishing boats, Chinese music and a peaceful serenity but instead we were greeted with McDonalds, Starbucks and New Balance. The Yu Garden in Shanghai and Mt Huashan were notable exceptions, which I will go into further detail at a later date.
Chinese food is better in England…
I was expecting a tantalisingly beautiful sweet and sour, yet everything we had was fatty and poor produce. Suppose that’s the easiest way to feed the billion occupants! When asking the locals, their favourite meal was a KFC, which had tempura prawns and … mashed potato?! Bizarre. Street food wasn’t to the same high standard you’d find laced through the streets of Bangkok. Nut allergy sufferers, beware….
Be careful of scam artists
I think this goes without saying in any foreign country but after a domestic back at the hotel, we were very nearly on the receiving end of the infamous tea party scam. Another tale, another time…
Overall, it appears that China only has negative connotations residing in me. That couldn’t be further from the truth, although I think the main points here aren’t your generic, “Go see the Great Wall, it’s great!” There will be follow ups to this post with memoirs from various cities and the highlights.