One of my favourite places so far is the ancient town of Fenghuang, away from anywhere else of tourist interest in China. Being small enough to not have a train station is quite an achievement in China to begin with resulting in an eventful journey however you travel. I chose to arrive via Huaihua which has hotels by the station or taxi drivers ever at the ready or a standard Chinese town which looks upon a white face with interest and friendliness.
When mentioning Fenghuang to any of the Chinese people we met they would always attempt to discourage our journey, saying it was extremely touristy and that we wouldn’t like it. It was indeed very touristy but mainly among Chinese students with not another white face in sight. I like to compare Fenghuang to somewhere like Newquay for English people. The old town area was sizeable and completely unique to anywhere else I had been. Street sellers all had different goods, there were people selling communist memorabilia and there wasn’t a sit toilet to be found. Read More »
In the ten months of travel I recently completed there was only one place which I would skip in hindsight. There are hundreds of extra places and different places I would go, including Myanmar, but Huangshan was the only place that was an ill informed choice for our budget and time constraint.
Our general time constraint was quite liberal but more specifically we needed to get to Hong Kong due to having a dual entry Chinese visa and the first half nearly being used up. We had intended to stay five days in Huangshan, or Tunxi as the actual area was called and in this time we ended up doing very little. One thing to be aware of is that the only train to Shenzen comes from Shanghai and so is a very busy route in which you are unlikely to be able to get a bed as they prioritise people doing the entire route and only open the leftover a couple of days before, if there are any. In a town with no English spoken we managed to get around the ‘No’ situation at the train station by getting a quieter train to Guangzhou which then has regular bullets to Shenzen. After doing a few hard seat journeys already I didn’t fancy one for 20 hours. Read More »
I seem to always be saving money, either for travel or something else like a Masters degree and apart from making me a bit grumpy and down every now and again I don’t find it too tough a challenge. I’ve realised that because of this I am quite an outcast and that a large percentage of people genuinely lack the ability to save money. Here are my theories.
After recently reading the book ‘Age of Absurdity’ by Michael Foley I have begun to spot all around me signs of instant gratification. People may be saving with intention but when their bank balance reaches a certain level it will suddenly spell out ‘iphone’ or ‘weekend away in a nice hotel’ or ‘shiny expensive shoes’ and all of these things provide you not only with the instant gratification of owning them but, what I think is more important, attention and compliments. Ultimately being careful with money wins you no friends and no attention, you don’t look cool. At what makes it worse is after all the hard work of saving, when you can afford your target, the response is always ‘you’re so lucky’. Luck has nothing to do with hard work and sacrifice. Read More »
Travel is amazing at the time but I can’t help but think the come down of it is disproportionately difficult, but maybe that is only so in the case of being confused about your future and having very little monies to your name. Basically when your only option is to knuckle right down and forego any luxury.
I’m working back in my previous customer service job. It’s not bad, the staff are the best part, the lack of ability to use your mind is the worst. I’ve realised recently that a lot of people don’t seem to have goals of any sort, no ambition and no aims. If you consider what their life will be in five years time quite a few people would be content to be doing the exact same thing but with a few more wrinkles. But these same people are the ones who get frustrated at the job, at the management and at the customers but make no effort to change. Read More »