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  #21  
Old 09.09.2010, 17:00
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Re: Tell me about China

and also, keep away from toddlers who might wee on your legs and shoes! and don't be surprised to see some bags of wees under the fruit stalls of the local supermarket.... I certainly don't miss that..but I miss the very cheap copied DVDs!
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  #22  
Old 09.09.2010, 17:01
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Re: Tell me about China

I have to concur with the MagLev train. You don't have to be a techno-geek to appreciate the engineering and watching cars on the highway looking like they are speeding in reverse...is worth the ticket price!

fduvall

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Shanghai...great city and place can drive you crazy (traffic, buildings, bridges etc...). Visit the french concession (old district).

Maglev train from airport to city is worth trying (400km/h).
If you have time go to Suzhou and Hangzhou.
There are many tourist scams especially with taxi and young girls wanting to practice english.
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  #23  
Old 09.09.2010, 17:02
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Re: Tell me about China

I lived 20 minute away from the magleve and never took it..
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  #24  
Old 09.09.2010, 17:03
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Re: Tell me about China

I found a picture of a rather questionable hot pot we had...
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  #25  
Old 09.09.2010, 19:12
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Re: Tell me about China

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I found a picture of a rather questionable hot pot we had...
Looks like brains or intestines to me. Am I close?
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  #26  
Old 09.09.2010, 19:15
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Re: Tell me about China

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If you are on a street market selling snacks, ask for chòu dòufu. A unique experience.
If you're happy to eat most things, look around Beijing - especially at night - and find people sitting on tiny stools slurping stuff from a spicy broth. You just pick skewers of stuff (don't bother trying to ask what it is!), add noodles, and eat. It costs close to nothing and is called "ma la tang". Ask someone when you're there.

I'm hungry! Bring us back food.
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  #27  
Old 05.10.2010, 13:34
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Re: Tell me about China

Back from China, had a great time and thanks for all the tips. The lonely planet guide book I took with me was frankly rubbish.

I can see why people said Shanghai is terrible, there isn't that much to see and there certainly isn't much left. The entire city looks like it was built just 10 years ago. Have to say I loved it though, the Bund was interesting but I preferred looking at the crazy modern skyscrapers on the other side of the river. Shanghai impressed me a lot more for it's architecture than Chicago did.

Beijing, was brilliant. Si Ma Ta was unfortunately closed, apparently they are worryingly going to build a theme park there, based upon that section of the Great wall. We ended up going to Mu Tian Yu instead (which also smelt a little bit of pee) but was amazing. Henry the taxi driver was ace, even if he scared a tiny bit of poo out of me when he charged a bus head on.
Whisper it, but the Forbidden city was a bit meh. It all ended up looking the same and having already wandered around the Temple of Heaven park I was a bit templed out. The Lama temple, with the 18metre high tree was, on the hand, brilliant, good tip.
Did the climb up the hill to the Pagoda to look at the Forbidden city from above and also wandered around the black lakes/ houhai park for a few drinks in the evening....although 1 place charged me 100 Chinese squibblies for 2 small beers.....guess I paid my stupid tourist tax there.
Went to Da Dong for duck which was great, if the most costly meal of the trip and I look like a dumpling I ate so damned many of them.
Xian was quite a bit different from Beijing and Shanghai. Thought the Terracotta warriors were a bit of a let down, might have to go back in 25 years when they have finished doing some more excavation.

Taxi's turned out to be impossible to get, so ended up on the metro a lot. Getting a seat on the underground is like finding the goose that laid the golden egg. Also I wasn't quite prepared for the distances, usually I end up walking a lot on holiday, from 1 site to the next but not in China, everything is bloody huge. That damned forbidden city and Tienanmen square takes about a 3 hours to walk around.

Took a lot of overnight trains and apart from the bloke I nearly killed because of his snoring and the funny fat Chinese fella who chatted to me for over an hour in Chinese , it was pretty fun. Although I am a little worried about the Chinese student I was chatting to on the way back from Xian. He was pretty scathing of the way the Government runs the media and of Chairmen Mau for going cuckoo as he got older, I kept wondering if a police squad was about to burst in to the train compartment and cart him away for corrective therapy.
One of my favourite places of the entire trip was the Chinese Poster Propaganda museum in Shanghai, fascinating look at how art has been used over the last 50 years as a weapon of propaganda in China. The owner was telling me he is in the process of being booked up by the Victoria and Albert in London for next year, worth a visit if you get the chance.
Had a great time and the Chinese were a lot friendly than I imagined.

EDIT: didn't get out to Hangzuo or to the Expo (too lazy)
The Summer Palace was also a highlight, apart from the irritating American tour guide who kept banging on about the destruction of the old Summer Palace without making any effort to put it into a historical context. - tw@t

EDIT 2: Also I got a lot of photo's taken of me...was a tad weird. Is it that unusual to see a westerner in China? It happened an awful lot, sometimes discreetly and sometimes I had to stand there and pose whilst the whole family had photos taken standing next to me. Some Chinese men like to hold hands when having their photo taken, or was that just with me?

Last edited by PlantHead; 05.10.2010 at 13:56.
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  #28  
Old 05.10.2010, 13:59
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Re: Tell me about China

Glad you enjoyed your trip.. yes they do like taking pictures of westernes..Not sure why but it make them look cool to others.. There must be thousands of pictures of my 2 blue eye blond kids around there...if you're ok with it it's fine but it has freaked many of my friends there..That is why I like being back in Europe.. here my kids and I don't stand out... we are normal again.


My husband told me , that his ex chinese employers have displayed many pictures of my 2 girls in their house ..

they also like to check what you have in your shopping trolley..picking stuff out, looking closely to everything i was buying... even touching my baby legs and look very closely to the kind of shoes she was wearing... they still don't really understand the concept of privacy there. when I took my baby home , i had 15 chinese people standing in front of my door to see the western baby... now i feel for all these famous people....
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  #29  
Old 05.10.2010, 14:19
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Re: Tell me about China

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EDIT 2: Also I got a lot of photo's taken of me...was a tad weird. Is it that unusual to see a westerner in China? It happened an awful lot, sometimes discreetly and sometimes I had to stand there and pose whilst the whole family had photos taken standing next to me. Some Chinese men like to hold hands when having their photo taken, or was that just with me?
Welcome back and I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed the trip! Tried anything more exotic than duck and dumplings?

About the Chinese wanting to take pictures with Westerners, not very uncommon. Happened to me as well (well not be obviously) - I first climbed the Great Wall at Mu Tian Yu with my Aussie colleague who has blonde hair and blue eyes. There were a couple of people coming up to him for pictures. One family even asked him to take a picture with their toddler, who was staring in awe at him. Most amusing.

PS: I am apalled to hear about a potential theme park at Si Ma Tai..nooooooooo!
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  #30  
Old 05.10.2010, 14:33
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Re: Tell me about China

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EDIT 2: Also I got a lot of photo's taken of me...was a tad weird. Is it that unusual to see a westerner in China? It happened an awful lot, sometimes discreetly and sometimes I had to stand there and pose whilst the whole family had photos taken standing next to me. Some Chinese men like to hold hands when having their photo taken, or was that just with me?
Easy to explain: The tourist attractions you visited were also visited by Chinese tourists. An average Beijing resident does not take a pictures of you - he can see foreigners every day. But if the people were from some very rural area they do in fact know foreigners only from TV... so yes, they are interested in you and want to show their fellow villagers a proof that they in fact met a living sample...
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  #31  
Old 05.10.2010, 14:38
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Re: Tell me about China

There were 2 blonde girls in not very much at the Summer Palace, they must have had over a 100 photo's taken of them with various Chinese people. I felt a bit sorry for them in the end. They also had to sign bits of paper, disappointed no one wanted my signature.

The food was the one thing where I think I missed out a bit. I needed someone who knew what they were doing to help out. I had enough problems with chop-sticks to be honest, why is all the food so damned slippy, I need grippy food.
We ended up just ordering 4 dishes at random and eating like kings. Didn't eat any rice for the entire holiday which surprised me. Some of the stuff on the menu's I am sure was a mis-translation. Fish lips? Pigs Spherical's?

To be honest some of the food was just point and hope, not sure what was in it, sea-cucumber is the one thing I never tried but wanted to. Looked like a large slug but seemed to be everywhere.

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PS: I am apalled to hear about a potential theme park at Si Ma Tai..nooooooooo!
I was a little unclear about exactly why the wall was closed. I was told by our taxi driver that they are rebuilding the village to incorporate new hotels, a golf course/spa resort and other tourist attractions, the wall was also being renovated (?) Sounded like the current villagers were going to be moved to somewhere else and the Government were coming in to build a tourist park.
I can't find anything detailing exactly what is happening though, so it could just be over-dramatisation on my part.

At Mutianyu I went on the toboggan ride to get down, which was fun but a little touristy.

Last edited by PlantHead; 05.10.2010 at 14:51.
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  #32  
Old 05.10.2010, 15:35
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Re: Tell me about China

Glad you had a good time. I miss Beijing! I lived near Houhai and the small, unassuming restaurants in that area (all the way up xinjiekou to the third ring road) are excellent.

As Treverus correctly said, the Chinese taking your photo will be out of towners. They probably took photos of McDonalds, too. So you know where you fit in to the scheme of things

The Forbidden City isn't that exciting and Tiananmen Square is an odd place. Like you say, it's horrid to walk around. I always cycled though, which sped things up no end. I forgot to recommend it, but near the SE corner of that square is the urban planning museum - it's surprisingly cool.

Dumplings, dumplings and more dumplings *jealous*.

Da Dong was cheap when I was living there, but I went back a couple of years ago and the price had doubled. Apparently it was a "special offer" for the first 12 months it was opened. Still worth it though, especially if you think in terms of CHF.

Argh - I want to go back *checks flights*.

The visa's a hassle though - did you do it in Switzerland using your B permit (or whatever you have) to prove you live here? I was working in Stuttgart beginning of last year and had to get my China visa in London. Luckily, they did it on the spot but they've cancelled that service.
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  #33  
Old 05.10.2010, 16:45
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Re: Tell me about China

MIssed the Urban planning museum, it was recommended to me though as the best museum in China.

I got my Visa in Zurich from the embassy in Wollishofen. Took my B permit and filled out form on a Friday and picked up the visa the week after, very easy.
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  #34  
Old 06.10.2010, 09:07
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Re: Tell me about China

hahahaha! "point and hope..." yeah, heard that a lot that western peeps get a modeling job there all the time...thx for your report.
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  #35  
Old 25.01.2011, 22:30
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Re: Tell me about China

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