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Reisverslag Life in China
1 november 2015
Life in China
I received various complaints about me not writing any blogs anymore, and since I start my midterm exams tomorrow, it seems the perfect time to start one. Of course I'm not only doing that to distract myself, but also for the ones at home having midterms like me who can use a little break. It's a win-win situation really ;).
Today, which you probably all noticed, is the first of November, which means I've been in China for over 2 months now, crazy! Time goes by so so quickly. Many ask how I like Shanghai in comparison to Sydney, truth is: I just can't compare the two.
Shanghai has been ab-so-lutely great. I still feel impressed but also blast by how easily I can feel at home in a new country and city. I love the noise, something to do always and everywhere, the nature and culture, and how busy it is. Well, alright, not always though. Being stuck in between hundreds of people on the subway so badly that you can't even get out on your stop or even move in the first place really sucks, but that's just a learning experience: don't take the subway during rush hour. Just don't.
We're with a group of 8 crazy dutch people in one class studying mainly Chinese language and a little culture and economics as well. We live at the dormitory right next to the building of our classes which makes it ideal to just roll out of bed and into class after a night of clubbing, which we of course never do ;). Beauty of learning a language in the country itself is that you can practice 24/7 talking to random Chinese people like the taxi driver or the man cooking your fried rice. The joy it gave me when I could order and ask for two extra eggs with my rice using full sentences instead of just desperately pointing at it. Well, it's the little things in life I guess, but it was pretty cool.
After 3 weeks of school we had our first break again called national week. A week in which whole of China gets off of work and school and starts traveling around for holiday and it is advised not to do the same since it's so busy every-freaking-where. So obviously, we went traveling.
Being three dutch girls on the other side of the country, our teachers and dormitory building manager were super over concerned and warned us to be careful and gave us their phone numbers and everything in case there was any emergency. Of course we told them we would be, and of course we almost missed our train, got lost in the Longsheng rice fields, went hitchhiking, and argued with scary taxi drivers trying to set us up.
We started off on the wrong train station causing us to catch our train with 3 minutes left to departure on the right one on the other side of town. A 16 hour train drive to Guilin in the south inlands of China started. First night would be spend in the Longsheng rice fields another 2,5 hours (without heavy traffic) from Guilin. The directions to get to the hostel ones there were quite simple: follow the brick road. Finally arriving after a 5 hour bus ride we discovered that there was not just 1 brick road to choose from, and so we ended up calling our hostel's host so many times while trying to find the right damn path that she send her husband down to the valley to come and get us. In our defense, we would have never ever have found it since this 'brick road', once you would have find the right one, was going all over the valley, up the mountains, in between rice fields, and all of that in pitch black darkness since it was so late. Sweating like crazy and totally exhausted we arrived at the top of our hostel's mountain where our reward awaited us the next morning with the most beautiful sunrise viewing the entire Longsheng rice terraces, making it all worth it.
Getting back to Guilin after hiking down again was a little harder than we thought it would be. It was so busy, like we had been told, that public buses just passed us by cause they were too full even though we were in the total middle of nowhere, in the rain. Hitchhiking was inevitable. We got a girl to translate our sign “Guilin” into Chinese and hitched a ride within 5 minutes of standing there with two of the sweetest families ever. Not a single word of English they knew and the cars were pretty full with their kids already but they welcomed us warmly to ride along anyway. When traffic was just too busy still after 2 hours of sort of driving they decided to have lunch. One big round table, kids doing the macarena like we taught them, food that just kept coming, and we were expected to join like we were family members. At the end of the day they brought us all the way to Guilin even though they had to go to a town an hour drive in the opposite direction as we later discovered. Those scary Chinese people everyone warned us about, right. We ended our day making our own dumplings at the hostel and doing some crazy karaoke in a Hello Kitty style room downtown. A pretty awesome start to our pretty awesome trip, which it definitely was.
3 days after being back home in Shanghai, and exactly half a year after not having seen them my parents and sis arrived. After spending the weekend in Hangzhou we headed to Shanghai where I had a crazy 22nd birthday celebration with friends and family and I got to be the tour guide through SH whenever my classes would let me.
Well, there's far much more to tell of course, but I think it has been quite the read already and it's time for everyone to get back to their books. No more excuses. And of course I need something left to tell you guys when I get back home in less than 3 months, too ;).
Most importantly, I'm still alive, having a great time!
Lots of love from China
Foto's bij verslag (16)
1 november 2015 21:38 | Door: Gwennyn
Great read sis! Keep ON living and enjoying yourself and we'll see you again in notime! XXX
2 november 2015 13:22 | Door: Birgit