Here’s just a bit of a rant about the things that have been annoying me while travelling around China. When you’re away from all your home comforts some things can seem so foreign and also so annoying.
I miss internet that functions correctly and at a reasonable speed. So many things are blocked on Chinese internet that a simple search on Google for Chinese travel destinations, or as I tried earlier ‘Chinese lucky cat’ can lead to every page you try for the next five minutes coming up as ‘page cannot be found’. Of course this is also the case of searching anything to do with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or anything with the word ‘blog’ in it. This makes me glad I chose WordPress and not Blogspot. The idea that witholding information on the internet will make a better society is bizarre and I’m beginning to thhink its all because the government is so scared about what would happen if people managed to talk enough to form a rebellion party as even a queue in a train station is nigh on a riot. Everywhere I’ve been the internet has functioned at a speed similar to dial up, which is pretty frustrating when you’re used to fibre optic 25mb.
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Our intention with Wuhan was to go there for the soul purpose of getting a boat to Shanghai. By the time our train ticket was booked we had realised that it would be tricky, expensive and that the better Yangtze views were in the opposite direction. So by the time we arrived at our hostel, which was quite expensive, we were in a city which didn’t seem to have much going on, feeling under the weather and in a useless hostel which didn’t even provide an area map, ticket booking… or western toilets.
so the first day we had to go out and find a ticket booking agent and managed to sort the train tickets,with this off our mind and the knowledge that not even the hostel staff could understand Wuhan busses we had no option but to wander around. The street scene in Wuhan was the most vibrant I’ve seen so far (with the exception of there not really being much street food). We strolled along the side of a lake and found some windy bridge pathways over an expanse of lotus flowers and a large outdoor swimming pool. When back on land we came upon an open workshop creating large fantastical displays for carnivals and parades.
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Trains in China are a much more important operation than a small European country, they act as the main mode of transport between different cities and the quality of travel can vary immensely, on the whole as a westerner it’s a pretty awful experience and leaves you continually thinking inside your head ‘You could never do that in England’.
The first thing to note is that you can’t book train tickets online, you have to book them from the city you’re leaving and you have to do this as far in advance as you can otherwise there may only be seats available. Also if you do it too far in advance they may tell you there is nothing available at the station as the ticket agents pay them commission and so they would rather it be sold through them.
Our first train journey was Beijing to Xi’an. This takes 14 hours Read More »
When visiting Luoyang in China, which in itself is not a common destination for the western tourist and is mainly only Chinese tourist, we opted for an alternative to the ‘International Youth Hostel’. The hostel we chose (as there was only a choice of two on Hostelworld anyway) was run by a man and his teenage son letting out rooms in their 3 bedroom apartment on the top floor of an apartment block on the edge of the city, accessible only by dirt tracks. It is most definitely more like staying at someone’s house as a guest than in a hostel or hotel.
This has definitely been the best, and deepest, insight I’ve had into Chinese culture so far; into everyday life for the normal person and the effects of propaganda on the public, which, of course, we don’t talk about. Read More »