Don’t get me wrong here, I had an amazing time in China, and I made so many good memories. It was a good month, and I won’t forget it. On the other hand, I’m glad to leave China and see some other countries. Also, China and its people have some things I’m nerved of after spending nearly one month in here. That’s what this post is about and what I want to talk about with you. There are this constant control and surveillance, the constant staring at me, the manners of Chinese people and the worst thing is the non-understanding of English at all.
The language trap
I mean people in China are in general nice, and I’m sure I would have seen more of the kindness if there wouldn’t be this language barrier. The only people who can speak a little bit of English are the people working in Hostels, and even there not everybody can speak English. In the Hotel I’ve been, nobody could speak one word of English for example even though I found it on booking.com. My best friend for the whole month was my translating app which also didn’t help every time. If I wouldn’t have internet, I think I would have been completely lost because nobody could say me how and where to take a bus or metro and most of the time everything was written in Chinese. What I did was basically comparing the signs on my phone to the ones on the busses or metro stations. To order food it was always some kind of lottery, I looked at the pictures and ordered what I thought would look good by pointing fingers on the photo. And if I had a problem I tried to ask someone but the only reaction I got was confused looks, or they spoke with me in Chinese. Not even in the touristic centers on the touristic spots or in the train station, they spoke one word of English.
The unbelievable amount of control
I had to scan my fingerprints to enter a national park?!? I needed my passport to hike up a mountain and, in every metro, they had security measures as on an airport in Europe. Cameras everywhere and by everywhere I really mean everywhere. There is probably not one place – ok maybe the toilets – without video surveillance. And to enter a train, you need to show your passport 3 times, check your tickets 4 times and scan your bags after you already scanned them in the metro. It’s annoying especially when you got a big bag as I got one. But you know what is the funny thing about it? They don’t allow you to take a knife or a lighter into a train or metro – well I carried a big knife and a lighter with me all the time, and my bag got scanned at least 40 times, and they didn’t find the knife or lighter once. I mean why are they even doing these checks if they don’t find anything? It’s just worthless and annoying. I’m from Europe, and I’m used to crossing borders without any checks, and I love my freedom, so it’s hard for me to get used to these security measures. In fact, I think it’s just to demonstrate the power of the government and to show people that they can’t do anything wrong.
The positive thing about all that security and the hundreds of police and military people everywhere is that I felt safe. I would let my PC open on my desk in the train while being on the toilet with all my other belongings on the seat because I was sure nobody would even touch it because of all the police and surveillance in the train.
The behavior of the Chinese people
I mean if there is a group of young women who wanted a photo with me that’s funny, but if there are tons of people staring at you while you sit on the bus stop to wait for your bus, it’s getting annoying. Often, I couldn’t tell if the staring was because they don’t see tall and white people as often and are interested or if they would just be like “eww what do you want here, go back.” At the end I just stared back, they got nervous and finally looked away.
Other things you just need to get used to is the constant spitting on the floor, smoking everywhere and dirty toilets.
I don’t want to be too negative I mean I really had a good time in China and as I said in general people are nice. Often, they would try to help me even without speaking one word of English. Nature here is fantastic, and I can’t get enough from the food. Just be aware that it’s a different thing here and don’t stress out too much. Taking these things into account, China is a place to have a really good time.
I’m really looking forward to Macau, Hongkong, and Vietnam!
See you on the sunny side of life!
If you got similar experiences or don’t agree with me at all, tell me in the comments. Happy to hear your opinion.
- Total countries I visited until now: 26
- Planes: 3
- Busses: 11
- Trains: 11
- Km running: 401
- Drinks: 24