Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Second China Trip

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Dad wants to take the family on a second trip to China. At the moment there seems to be two main ideas that are being tossed around. They are as follows:

Option 1:

There's a city in the northern part of China called Guilin. It's supposed to be extremely scenic with mountains and rivers, that sort of stuff.

Classic image of Chinese scenery.

That's the thing. I'm not that big into scenery and nice mountains, birds chirping in the trees and the wind in my hair. Mother Nature hates me, causing me to be allergic to a ton of flora (amongst other things...) and I burn in the sun very fast. I love urban areas, big, crowded cities with skyscrapers.

But then my Dad got a phone call, which leads us into option 2...

Option 2:

My parents are fairly devout Buddhists. And recently a monk they used to pray with gave them a call. He's actually going to be visiting various temples in China in the summer and invited them to come along. My parents got excited.

Me?

See the video of this cat here.

This means more nature as we'll be climbing mountains, no meat and no internet. I'm sorry, but I'm a carnivore and I love my technology. Take both away and I'm reduced to a shell of my former self. Plus, if I'm suffering from heat stroke or having an allergy attack it's only going to help the "Zombie Damian" look.

But another thing that really bothers me is that it's another really expensive vacation so soon. My parents are willing to pay for everything again for another overseas trip that's going to last several weeks. Those aren't cheap and it doesn't sit well with my conscious having them pay. Even though I couldn't pay them back immediately if I wanted to.

Being a student sucks.

But last time I received quite a few questions. In no particular order shall I try and answer them, hopefully in my rambling below I'll have gotten to your particular inquiry.

We did go to a lot of places, I can't remember every single museum or historical area (doesn't help that so many of the names are in Chinese and my Chinese is kind of terrible) but one of the museums that really stuck out to me in Shanghai was wonderful. The entire building are sparkling clean, beautiful art in every room and what do I see as I'm walking? A man holding his daughter over a garbage can so she can urinate.

There was a bathroom not 5 meters to their left and they opted to use a garbage can. I think this was probably the clearest example of the difference between the mindsets of the rich and the poor. That, and some of the rural areas are kind of run down. One of the tour buses stopped through a town called Chengde and we nicknamed it "Creepy Town" because of how degraded and old the buildings looked. Meanwhile Shanghai and Hong Kong have gleaming 5-star hotels and massive malls.

But while we're on the topic of toilets I was surprised not to see any of the famous doorless bathroom stalls. Maybe we didn't go into any really rural areas, maybe they're being phased out, who knows. Beijing had these really funny bathroom rating system though. Based on how clean a bathroom was it would get a rating from 1-5 stars. From experience, 3 stars means clean but it still stinks, 4 stars is clean and little smell, do not enter anything less than 3 stars.

Use at your own risk.

Like at the Great Wall, oh the smell. We could smell the bathrooms from 10 meters away. And for whatever reason, female bathrooms are always, ALWAYS, worse than the male ones. Don't ask me why. The Great Wall itself is relatively hard to climb. The steps are uneven and you're going to have to lift your leg quite a bit even if you're as tall as me. I feel sorry for anyone short climbing this thing. Oh, and like any of the historical monuments in the Beijing area, expect cigarette butts and discarded water bottles all over the place. Maybe segments of the Great Wall are cleaner elsewhere but the part we visited was filthy.

As for cultural differences I didn't notice any in terms of physical contact. Though if someone brushes against you it probably be a good idea check to make sure your wallet is still there. But if you become squeamish at the sight of animals on display for food, avoid the live markets. They have frogs, turtles, fowl, fish that are priced differently depending if it's dead/half dead/alive and they will butcher the poor thing for you in seconds if you're interested.

And that's it for now. The trip is still tentative (aka. Dad is looking up airline tickets as I type this) and he wants to go for about three weeks starting at the end of June. I just hope I have internet...

64 comments:

  1. Man, honestly to me the first option sounds way more appealing. Thing is though, I like scenic things, I like nature and sun whereas you don't so I'm not sure. Try have fun no matter what though buddy and keep us updated!

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  2. I vote for option 1 ;) I hear you on the expenses. But, to parents, I think it's more of enjoying the experience with their children. I wouldn't feel guilty. Just treat them to a really nice brunch :)

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  3. Well it seems out of the two options that the first one is best for you. Though neither is that great for you.

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  4. Interesting - I wish WE had a five star bathroom rating system. it's not fun walking into surprise awfulness.

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  5. hahaha i hope you have internet too, i'd be so hopeless without technology. i hate nature as well.

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  6. Yeah no internet or meat doesn't sound like a fun time to me either and see all those animals on display prob not me cup of tea as well. Could be a fun trip though, maybe, sorta..haha

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  7. It's amazing that something that excited your parents so much makes you not want to go, but I guess that's just a difference. I think in the past that probably wouldn't have appealed to me much, but now I think it could be quite interesting.

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  8. Are you kidding me?! Awesome post, I'm jealous. The only Chinese I know is "Bing Bong Ching Chong" which I believes translates into "I'm an ignorant American."

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  9. nice pic being student
    hope you will enjoy any one trip which ever you go

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  10. please please please..

    PHOTOS for me :)

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  11. If I were you, I'd go with the monk. Always been interested in spending some time as a monk over yonder, though never had the money, time, or possibility to travel all the way there. Still, temple-hopping sounds pretty neat!
    But they're vegetarians? Really? Didn't know that..

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  12. could be fun, I just don't care for the culture or the country.

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  13. I am a traveller, experiencing either scenarios I would adore even if it is putting me out of my element. Sorry you would not have fun. Can you just stay home while your parents travel? Could be a quiet at home vaca for you lol.

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  14. Hello! Very interesting place...

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  15. no internet would be a challenge... holding his daughter over a trash can so she can pee is a riot.
    i'd love to visit china but i'd want to stay in a nice hotel with internet in a major city.

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  16. Guilin. I'd love to go somewhere with just mountains and scenery. I'm glad I'm not allergic to anything :D

    And.. do you have to go? It sounds like there'd be nothing in it for you..

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  17. Visiting China would be interesting. I like the outdoors [I live in it every day], but might go through withdrawal without the internet for more than a few hours. :)

    It was fun to learn some things about China.

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  18. Have fun in China, and take your allergy medicine! :p

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  19. I'd say you should choose whichever trip is the most unlike your usual, everyday life. That's what travelling is for, isn't it? And if it's the trip your parents fund, say "thanks" and pay it forward someday to them or someone else!

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  20. You going to China? That's the place I'd never want to go to. I've seen too much bad news about that country like the ff:

    1) Sewage recycled to cooking oil
    2) Food made of cardboard boxes
    3) Exploding coins, watermelons, chair, etc.
    4) Dangerous train rides

    That's all I could remember right now but I've seen many more.

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  21. Yep definitely be aware of pickpockets there. Also, just to be safe, wear your bag in front of you so that no pickpockets will stand a chance.

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  22. Best of luck with which ever your dad decides to do!

    Man... Hearing about all that littering at such a historical place disgusts me.

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  23. Anywhere in China is awesome. Just make sure you stay away from the gambling... or you'll leave china with a few limbs missing.

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  24. Between the whole bathroom thing and the markets, I think I'll pass on a trip to China. Besides that way I'll leave more room for others who might really appreciate it more.

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  25. Oh, me like the natures. It relieve my stress and everything. That's right! It's expensive but you can enjoy it! :D

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  26. China is a beautiful place to visit...

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  27. I was going to suggest your parents take me instead of you, but the bathroom situation seems a bit too dicey. And I have short legs.

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  28. Is that really china in the top photo? It looks a lot like Halong Bay in Vietnam.

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  29. I had a crazy day yesterday - and although I read your post, I can't remember if I commented yet or not. Hmmmm Well anyway, it was neat to hear all about China - and I for one would love to visit. But the one thing I don't get is that it sounds like you pretty much don't want to go... so can you just decide to stay home?

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  30. The monk trip might be an interesting experience, although I sympathize with the lack of technology and meat, but I mean might be something you could say you have done you know? Still should be a good trip either way =)

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  31. That's what bothers me the most too, when going on vacation...WHERE WILL BE MY INTERNET?! It's just so hard, to let go for a few days.

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    1. I hope you have internet too, I'd die without it.

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  32. i bet the female bathrooms are used a lot more. great insight to a country i've never been to. i feel your no internet pain :(

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  33. Dicey indeed. Wow, a rating system?

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  34. You paint such a "pretty" picture.

    Both option sounds pretty cool to me - but I love nature. I'm curious to know how this all will play out.

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  35. I'd volunteer to go to China with your family :) I'll be your butler :)

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  36. A vacation without blogging does not sounds like a vacation at all but sounds VERY stressful! However you could use it as inspiration? Take lots oh photos and share things that many of your followers (like me) would never get the opportunity to see!

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  37. Seems you don't want to go. On the other hand I'll gladly take your place. =p

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  38. I'd be SO excited for either trip. The gorgeous scenery of the first trip would be enough for me, but hiking in the mountains is something I definitely miss, living at the beach as I do.

    But I totally understand not wanting to go on a vacation that will cause you stress (pollen and internet-wise) when you wouldn't even be paying for it. Your parents want you there, but...well, I sympathize.

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  39. DWei, sorry, totally off topic comment here but I just wanted to tell you that I'm deleting my blog (to focus on boring old real life) and I just wanted to thank you for the numerous comments and visits so, yeah, thanks!

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  40. does sound like a good trip but no internet without a few days would tear me into craziness.

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  41. your dad seems like a very awesome dude.

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  42. I've only been to Taiwan and it was back in 1989 the last time I went. I think a trip to China would be great but I can certainly understand the cultural difference.

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  43. You should go to Harbin in winter. ;)

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  44. Visiting China is one of my dreams. I wouldn't mind lack of Internet in such a place :)

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  45. I be a nature dude, so give me all the nature I can handle, but with meat

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  46. I hope you get to go, and I hope you'll still have internet access. I don't think you'd regret going...just think of the future blog posts :) Fingers crossed for you!

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  47. wow this goes to show that one persons hell is another persons heaven. I happily ditch the tech to go on a trip with a monk...

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  48. "Oh the smell...Do not use anything under 3 stars..." OMG you are the most hilarious travel guide. You should think about a career.

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  49. I once wrote one like this and someone reported me to tourism board of India, I can never travel back to India. And there where you spoke about garbage can, I saw India thereChona isn't so bad,enjoy your trip

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  50. "Based on how clean a bathroom was it would get a rating from 1-5 stars. From experience, 3 stars means clean but it still stinks, 4 stars is clean and little smell, do not enter anything less than 3 stars". hahahahahahaha, thanks for that. I want to visit China, when I graduate.

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  51. I'd really like to check out Guilin someday. I think it's gorgeous.

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  52. that picture looks really nice. wish i could go travel too

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  53. That's awesome! Looks like fun. I went to Hong Kong before but not China.

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  54. No internet would be hard . . . a day or two without the web is handleable, but longer than that and everything seems so out-of-reach.

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  55. My girlfriend's mom is a Laos Buddhist and when she traveled to Thailand she went all the way to some cave that apparently had a lot of super-superstitious tales about it, and a Buddha statue at the end.

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  56. Unless the temples have wifi (which I'm assuming...they probably wont...) maybe option 1 would be better.

    Ew about the man holding his daughter over a bin to wee. That's nasty.
    although once when i visited pakistan as a kid, I saw a little kid doing a dump in the side of the street. The another kid fell over around there. I'm vomiting in my mouth a little thinking about it....
    Have Fun!!! :P

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  57. I think there should be a bathroom rating system everywhere, it would have saved me from having a lot of experiences that I'm trying hard to forget.

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  58. Hmm.. yeah... It sucks how expensive traveling is. ><

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