Heyo I’m back again! And this time it’s actually with the post I promised you, so get excited for that ;P
As you know I spent 2 weeks in China staying in different cities and during my stay I learned a thing or two about what it’s like to be a tourist there. And to help you fellow travellers out, because I’m just so very helpful and I like you, I compiled a list of all the things you can definitely expect to come across/experience if you ever choose to visit the country.
So if you’re into lists like I am and/or have considered putting China on your travel list, then keep reading.
Be prepared for…
1. Squat toilets
Seriously if you’re not fond of taking a piss in nature, then you will come home transformed. Before going to China I could not make myself pee outside but after having to use almost nothing but squat toilets for 2 weeks I came home immune 😛 If you just figure out how to do it it’s really not that bad. And trust me, you will have to figure it out. Yes, you can always just pee at the hotel where there definitely will be a western toilet, but let’s be real, we need to pee more than once or twice a day. And seriously, practically every toilet you’ll come across will require you to get down low – even at the airport, so you might as well be prepared for it.
I thought I was prepared for this but I didn’t realize until we went to the Pearl Market in Beijing how crazy it could be. Yes things were cheap, but it also felt like you couldn’t even look at things before they were stuffing it down a bag and asking you to pay. I’m not kidding. There was even a lady who ran after us and grabbed me because I’d looked at some kimonos she was selling. It gets real at those markets.
This one is important to remember. Maybe you’re already very good at bargaining when buying stuff, but if you’re anything like me it’s a very daunting experience and it feels very rude to do. My best piece of advice for you concerning this is to throw the people pleaser inside of you out the window. If you don’t go at them hard they will demand so much money from you. I learned it the hard way and after that one purchase I bargained every time.
4. Warm water
It’s quite peculiar but at restaurants they serve warm water. Not even tea, just hot water. So if you want cold water, you’ll have to explicitly ask for it. At first I thought it was pretty weird but at the end I actually didn’t mind it at all. Also please remember this: Do not drink water from the tap. Not even at the hotel. They sell bottled water everywhere and it’s really cheap too, so if you don’t want to catch a stomach bug just stick with water bottles or sodas.
5. A lot of attention from people
This is mostly if you’re blond and especially if you’re tall as well. If that’s you in this case you’re gonna feel like a celebrity for the duration of your stay. We had a couple of tall girls with blond hair in the group, including me minus the tall part, and it was insane. People would take photos of us everywhere, ask to take pictures with us and you could just feel eyes on you all the time.
6. A lot of people
All the time. Every where. But you can probably imagine that yourself.
7. A lot of security
Maybe not more than some of you are used to, but definitely more than I am. At the airport they meant serious business and at museums they had to check everything too. It’s good that they’re thorough and careful, it’s not that, I’ve just never tried being body-searched before entering a museum before, so I was quite surprised by the amount of security.
8. Everything is in Chinese
Of course, we’re in China – it makes sense. Yes it makes sense, but it also makes everything very difficult when there’s a lot of Chinese and very little English. And when most of the people living there don’t understand English it can get interesting to order at restaurants and stuff 😛
9. Missing fresh greens
I like Chinese food, I really do, but damn, after those 2 weeks I was so tired of sweet and sour sauce, spicy stuff and just anything that had been cooked. A couple of times we were given a fresh salad at restaurants but then the waiter came and poured a weird sauce over it. In those moments I cried a little bit inside. All I wanted was a fresh piece of lettuce.
At the end I want to say that though “prepare yourself” somehow sounds really serious and not like fun at all, this post was not meant to be negative in any way. I just couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the title should be 😛
I also really hope you got something out of it, even if it was just a tiny smile on your face. I know I enjoyed writing it, so I hope you enjoyed reading.
And please tell me, if you’ve ever been to China do you agree with what I’ve written and/or do you have something you’d add to the list?
I’d love to hear your thoughts guys xx
Have a great week!
(Btw this is also my 100th post! Damn, can’t believe I’ve written that many).