A Travellerspoint blog

Old friends, new habits

An Introduction

overcast -7 °C

Just some background information:
- My name is Michelle
- I'm half Chinese, half Australian
- I'm already quite familiar with the country, having come here for the 12th time in my 17 year...
- This time I've come to China to study Chinese
- I've been here 15 days already, and decided just now to try keeping a blog.

Blogging has never done well for me. I've always written one or two posts then forgotten about it. I'm fairly certain I have half a dozen unused blogs lurking somewhere in the vast infocenter that make the interwebs. The difference now is that now my forms or communication are limited to Skype, Hotmail, and now this. And this site is the only one of three that I can upload [unlimited] images on to. I've already got around 130 at this point. [Note: I like to wander the backstreets, hence the URL. China is only half as bad as I show you ;)]

>Firstly, I'd just like to input something slightly irrelevent. It's a necessity at this point.--
I am so, very bitterly dissappointed that I wasn't in Perth for the release of the movie The Hobbit. I don't know if you undersand how much I love The Hobbit/LOTR. Definitely one of my favourite Trilogies. And while we're on the topic of Books, anybody able to help me find someplace in Jinan that sells foreign books (as in English-written ones?) My brain might possibly begin to shrivel without.

So, I'll get you updated on my trip thusfar.

5th Dec 2012 - 7th Dec 2012
Airport shananigans - a pain in the ass for all the waiting, unless you have old, frail and sick with you. Or you're flying first class. Either way you're whisked through quite quickly, and all is good. Also, the woman that led us to the plane spotted Jennifer Lopez entering/leaving Perth as we boarded if your interested in that sort of thing. She got quite excited.
I love flying. It's just a really great way to travel.
I wrote some small notes while travelling between countries and I'll translate them here for you:
- Perth to Guangzhou
- Literally two minutes in the country and I've spotted two maccas, and there's a KFC next door to our hotel. (edit: Claims to be open 24hrs, actually closed 24hrs. Signs not to be trusted)
- I most certainly have not missed the traffic nor conditions of transport here (loud and rough in both cases)
- I keep smelling lasagne, but there's no lasagne :(
- Judging by my grandparents topics of conversations, you could mistake them for druggies. All this talk of pills and needles.
- DISREGARD ALL ZEBRA CROSSINGS. EVERYBODY ELSE DOES.
- Have seen not one nice butt since arrival :(
- Next person to ask if I'm adopted, I'm dragging them to the nearest stall selling sugar cane sticks, and they'll get several up the bum.
- It says 100% orange juice, but tastes like 100% ass.
- Ooh my faaaccceee (? I don't even know)
- If midday here is like fuck off o'clock in the middle of winter in Australia, Imagine what fuck off o'clock is like in China. (It was very cold)

7th Dec 2012 - 14th Dec 2012
Travelled almost every mode of land transport so far.
Spent most of the first week in hospital with my Laolao. She's been throwing up every meal since we left Perth. Stayed over night with her in the Emergency room because they're understaffed here. She gave me 100 yuan for buying her noodles -.- Also, there was this one guy with his mum and he kept following me. As in, I went to get noodles from across the road, found him waiting on the chairs outside the waiting room. I went back in, nec minute, he's back. I went out to get hot water, he left via the back door and walked around till he saw me then walked back. Went to try find somewhere to sleep. After five minutes decided I wouldn't get comfortable, and I'll just do an all nighter, on my way back, I was heading to the back door since it was closest, almost ran into him as I rounded the corner. As in, HE WAS WAITING FOR ME AROUND THE CORNER. SERIOUSLY. I ended up falling asleep on some chairs outside, and he and his mum had gone when I got back. Though when I first woke up, I did catch a couple of nurses/doctors watching me sleep. People here, right.. they will stare at Westerners. They don't think they're being rude, so I guess just be prepared for a lot of attention. Especialy once you leave the most tourist-y areas.
She's currently living as an in-patient, until she's "better"
China is quite filthy. It's all dusty and polluted. And crowded. Though, pleasantly surprised by two days of blue sky~
By god, I missed the sweet potato here. Best. Ever. If you ever go to China, make sure you try the street food. It's all good, just don't go to places cooking raw meat when they've been there all day (and it's hot) And, I mean, do be careful where you eat, but the stalls usually look worse than they are. Anywhere that smells like good food, is probably good. Though make sure you can see where they're preparing the food.
Notes:
- Sitting in an ambulance trying not to laugh because there are all these chinese people scattering ahead of us and thinking "Fuck th Police!" per every road rule broken and hoping noone in China is prone to epilepsy. I'm a bad person.
- Third-wheeling in China already. Haven't even been here a week yet.
- Why does everybody eat so grossly? D:
- SNOWWWWWWWWW
- IT'S AALL SO PRETTY
- Ew. My boogies are black. Dang pollution. (not infact picking my nose, I was just unlucky enough to sneeze without a tissue at hand.
- They run a hospital kitchen like a military operation. Granted, it is a military base hospital...
- NOBODY. HAS. ANY. TACT.

14th Dec 2012 - 20th Dec 2012 (Today)
I've noticed people here are still quite patriarchal. Men "lead" women (unpleasantly in my opinion), and are generally quite controlling, there are still common occurances of wife-beating, and I can't find any clothes that aren't red, pink, yellow, white, frilly or ugly :(, and in most households, women still do the cooking.
Very different mannerisms. It's polite to spit and pee on the streets, but it's impolite to yawn in company. No matter how tired youare. Supress that yawn.
On the 18th I went to Da Guan Yuan to look for a book store that I never found. Instead, twice, people tired to jip me. Once, I was strolling down a street, and one man tried to sell firecrackers (I politely declined) but he insisted I come in so he could read my face/palm/tarot sticks/medallion doobees, and he told me how he works in Shandong University (then why is he here, I thought) he kept saying how pretty/smart/lucky I am and how everything I picked was extremely good, and I'll find a really good chinese boyfriend (no I won't, I don't want oneļ¼‰and then he got me to kneel on an elevated cushion to pray to the gods for luck, wealth and love and tried to make me give a 100 yuan donation (DO NOT LET PEOPLE SEE INSIDE YOUR WALLET). I have him 1 yuan for his effort and got out of there. He wasn't so friendly after, adn wouldn't meet my eye. Also, if you ever find yourself in such a situation, watch the body language. Just before the praying part, he indicated to one of the other stallholders to wait a minute. I suspect they have some kind of pact, or else they would be in awful competition. But yeah, be careful of that kind of thing. And later, I went to get some food, and stall holders can be very tricky. They might try to sell something to you more expensively, or distract you while taking your money. This woman kept asking me questions and being all excited about me being Australian while she tried to hold back 10 yuan from me. MAKE SURE YOU COUNT YOUR MONEY AFTER EVERY TRANSACTION.
When going out, keep in mind the following points:
- People here are very good at taking more more money.
- Scammers. Everywere.
- Keep your valuables close and be wary of them at all times.
- Do not let people see your wallet and make sure it's not easy to reach (inside pocket or one of those flat strap on waist bags that you can tuck into your pants are best)
- Count your money after every purchase. If given large notes, check them. Real chinese money has a matte feel to them, and there are a couple other easy tricks you can learn off the internet.
- Do not leave valuables wherever you're staying. Even my grandad puts money and passports into a locked safe in his locked room in his locked home. Which is surrounded by trusted neighbours and guarded at the entrance.
- Basically, just be alert all the time. Don't stress, just be alert.

The weather at the moment is amazing. It's freezing, and you have to wear layers of clothing, but it's not dry and hot, and you don't sweat and stink. I love it. And we've had first snow. I can't wait for more :D (hopefully we do get more :P)
I've never been so excited about Christmas in my life :3

Personally, I'm a bit of a fan of the back streets and anything that isn't shiny and a little dodgey, and I like to take photos of some pretty dodgey areas, so don't look at my post then look at my photos and decide never to come here. It's really quite a nice place. Everybody is very hospitable and the food here is amazing.

Posted by michellecareyy 16:55 Archived in China Tagged china flights hospitals

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