After being in China little over a week I have already come to realise there are just so many people. In Forbidden City you feel like cattle being herded from one part to the next without much to see. After going through two large gateways you are faced with the third which requires a 60RMB (£6) ticket. When you’re through this bit there are a few plaques and snippets of information about different oblects along the way, such as the cauldrons which were full of water to put out fire, and various creature statues which represent a number of different elements and protection etc. On the whole the courtyard looks very similar before and after the paid gates with the same architecture and design throughout. None of the buildings are available to go inside but a few have their doors left open and barriered off so you can get a peek but this results in a near moshpit for the sake of a glimpse of the inside of an empty building. There was a small darkened museum area but this was full of children running around and bouncing balls… even against the glass display coverings. The garden area was really nice, but again would have been better without the constant shoving on your back in 30 degree heat. There was also much more litter inside Forbidden City than I’ve seen in any busy area in China so far I think this is because of their unique recycling system.
Monthly Archives: July 2011
The nation of China is so different from the western world, and perhaps even anywhere in Asia, I am yet to see. There are so many things I read about that I thought couldn’t possibly be true but have now see for myself, and after a few days almost got used to. I can’t be sure if it is the locals or the tourists from smaller parts of the country but either way it definitely is occurring..
The most predominant of these is spitting. The older generation of loves to spit, when walking down the street you will regularly hear a ‘hocking’ noise crescendo behind you, resulting in a large spit on the floor. This I was semi prepared for, but it being done inside buildings and even in restaurants is the most shocking thing I’ve witnessed, though apparently they also throw down bones on the floor in restaurants I’ve yet to see it but spit and napkins regularly line the floor. Dare I say the five second rule should not be used here?
Six days on a train is most definitely for everyone, if you are fidgety and in need of outside stimulation this is not for you. Also if you are used to the luxury of good quality hotels you will probably be a little dissatisfied, as even someone without particularly high standards I believe the shower there in first class was the worst place I’ve ever been! Despite that I got used to it and really enjoyed the trip, mainly because I needed some pure relaxation at the same time as detoxing myself day by day from the strict society of the western world.
Catching the train itself isn’t too difficult as it arrives at the station about half an hour early, Yaraslavsky station which I recognised on the tube station as ‘KomoComo’ as it looks similar to that in Cryllic. When you’re there you don’t need to go through the inside of the station as it’s round the back by some small shops with about 4 platforms. The area around the station isn’t great so with time to kill a restaurant/ café was our best bet.
Although not somewhere I would normally choose to go, Moscow was the final port of call before catching the Trans-Siberian. I hadn’t heard much about Russia apart from all the Cold War/Soviet type things, and recently watching the film Farewell (which was very good). After doing a small amount of research about what to do it was hard to find much that wasn’t either Red Square or really far in the outskirts. I found out about a traditional puppet theatre, but this was too far away. As far as art galleries and contemporary exhibitions Moscow seems particularly sparse, favouring lavish independent art collections which will often be European Art.
In feel Moscow is much like a European city, though obviously with Cyrillic rather than Roman alphabet everywhere. The metro is extremely easy to use, just paying for single journeys which can be anywhere in the city, no zones like London. The currency, Roubles roughly translates to 50 to £1. So a metro journey costs roughly 50p. Russians will often neither associate themselves as being Asian or European and class Moscow as being very multicultural, despite what I saw in the city centre which was almost entirely Caucasian faces, especially compared to the multiculturality of London.
After catching international trains in various countries I can now confidently say that the Eurostar is extremely official and well organised. With its own section in St. Pancras and a recognisable logo all over the place, even those with no grasp of English would find the correct train reasonably easily. The same cannot be said for the remainder of the trains we caught.
Or, as I have found with the contents laid out in front of me, what don’t I need? This isn’t going to be a very exciting blog but it may be useful or interesting for someone. I found it hard to find a definitive list of things to pack and spent hours researching and buying the things I would need to keep my safe and clean in Asia.
4 x socks, 5 x pants, 3 x tops, 1 x long sleeve top, 2 x shorts, 1 x long cotton trouser, 1 x bikini. 1 x canvas shoes, 1 x flip flops.