Last Bit of Mongolia, CHINA, and into Southeast Asia
01/01/2009 - 02/27/2009
I finally left Mongolia. I liked it alot but staying over three weeks was not part of my plan. It was definitely time to go to China.
China was an experience. There were alot of ups and downs. It was a great adventure but some of those first days were completely frustrating.
At first it seemed that everyone just wanted my money. My second day I narrowly escaped the infamous Beijing tea scam (see video). But once I left the big tourist centers of Shanghai and Beijing, it became obvious how friendly and hospitable Chinese people are. It's true Chinese people spit, burp, fart, slurp, litter, cut lines and my favourite the loud yawn but at the same time they are very polite and extremely nice. Most people see you as a guest in their country and want to do whatever they can to make your stay easier. It's almost too much, foreigners (especially white skinned) get special treatment.
My tea scam. The progression of this scam goes "Hello can I talk with you a while", "would you like to go to real Chinese tea shop" and "Yes its very normal for Chinese to spend $70 on 7 thimbles of tea now pay".
As for the Language Barrier yes it can be torture. I thought there would be alot of english spoken here but in fact most people speak no english at all. Even sign language seemed more difficult.
I talked to the guy on the right for a few minutes and the next thing I knew I was teaching an english class.
The food in China is reason enough to visit. I could have done without the MSG (on the side in a salt shaker sometimes) but there is so much to eat and its always delicious. Amazingly I never got sick and I ate anything and everything from anywhere. This shows the pride the Chinese take in their food.
I actually ended up arriving just before Chinese New Years. Wow how lucky! Yes and no. I got to see alot of unique cultural stuff (and fireworks) but at the same time everything was more expensive and getting between cities was always a hassle. Either I waited for days to get a train ticket or I had to buy a super expensive luxury sleeper ticket or the deadly "standing ticket".
First day of Chinese New Year in Shanghai.
I couchsurfed the whole way in China which was great. Every couch was something totally different I never knew what I was going to get.
I won't forget China anytime soon. It was definitely the most interesting place I have ever travelled, so different.
The Great Wall
I am now well into my whirlwind tour of Southeast Asia. It's a whole different ballgame. My brother is coming! I'll be meeting him in Bangkok March 4.
My farewell at the China-Laos border.