Posted by: rob | July 1, 2007

Typical rules at a chinese tourist attraction

Typical rules at a chinese tourist attraction, originally uploaded by jasmine_tea.

We’ve been in China now for 17 days and it has been an extraordinary experience. The big sites are as amazing as we had expected. More interesting, at least to us, is the rest. I was prepared for impoliteness, pushing and shoving, no queues, being laughed at for being lao wai and spitting locals but we’ve seen almost none of it. Most people here know very little English, but we’ve been to places in western Europe where these is less English spoken. In restaurants staff are very helpful and kind. Squat toilets aren’t so bad. Today we caught a local bus and it was too much effort for the conductor or us to communicate how to pay the 12p fare (30 minute trip) so we were just waved on, and sat across from a lady with her chickens (alive) in a shopping bag.

One unexpected observation is that there are so few foreigners. I went for a two hour walk Saturday evening in the center of Chengdu’s shopping district and didn’t see a single foreigner. I did the same in Xian. Only Shanghai seemed to have lots of them (us!) about. And the cities are huge. I imagine few westerners would have even heard of the city, but it is as big and brash as London or Sydney with more shopping and cars and buildings and especially smog. Our train tomorrow will pass through Chongqing, one of the largest cities in the world with 31 million people. A decade ago it was barely on the map.

Next stop for us is a week or so in Yangshuo and surrounds, famous for its karst mountains.

Anyway would like to write more but we’re in a room with 300 chinese boys playing internet games and the like and it is beginning to pong.

– Rob

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