China Journals

Around the World Without Flying - Part 7

A January 2011 trip to China by Shady Ady

Beijing - Tiananmen Square Photo, Beijing, China More Photos
Quote: I'm attempting to travel around the world without flying. After travelling from England to China via train and teaching for 14 months in the north-east, I'm continuing my travels down through Asia. See http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/ShadyAdy/ for photos (they are too big to add here).
The Army of Terracotta Soldiers Photo, China, Asia
Quote:
Hand on heart, if there’s one thing I can say I hate with 100% certainty, it’s Chinese train stations. I swear, if you sent all the rapists and paedophiles to a Chinese train station for a week, they would never re-offend for fear of similar of a similar retribution. Even in Chengdu, a place regularly frequented by tourists and independent travellers, I had to face the unenviable task of fighting elbows with elbows to make my way in to the waiting hall. Here I immediately became the number one source of amusement for other commuters . Migrant workers, returning home to their families for the Spring Festival period, sat next to me. Picking their noses, they played with their newly acquired...Read More

Week 67a - Panda 'Masseurs'

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Sichuan Opera - Chengdu Photo, China, Asia
Quote:
Travelling on trains in China during Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) is something which brings only stress and frustration. It has been said that during this national holiday, the busiest on the Chinese calendar, there will be three billion journeys made across the train network. This works out to three trips for every inhabitant. It was still close to a month before the Chinese New Year and I was shocked to find out that tickets from Lhasa in Tibet to Chengdu were solidly booked a week in advance. To leave on the train I would have to wait another week before I could purchase a ticket. Lhasa is nice, but spending another week with a hangover-sized headache from altitude sickness was th...Read More

Week 66b - Prostrating Pilgrims

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Lhasa - Potala Palace Photo, Lhasa, Tibet
Quote:
Lhasa is home to some of the most important Buddhist sites in the world. There are enough monasteries, temples and palaces to keep even the most avid of pilgrims happy, another thing Lhasa isn’t lacking. For some it’s the Potala Palace, once the seat of the Tibetan government and the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama that they come to see. For others it’s the Jokhang Temple. Wherever you go in and around the city, pilgrims are in abundance, constantly spinning their prayer wheels or prostrating.I have to admit, I’d heard virtually nothing about prostrating before. Hearing the word out of context for the first time, I’d suspect it was something that youngsters do today in the privacy of thei...Read More

Week 66a - Top Gun

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Beijing - Tiananmen Square Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Beijing would be my first destination of unemployment since finishing my contract in Benxi. It's been a place I’ve been looking forward to visiting for weeks. Not because of the world famous tourist attractions in and around the city, but the chance of catching up with old friends. There are several smells in life that invoke intense feelings of pleasure and fond memories. Freshly cut grass is one. Another is the aroma of a Sunday roast. As I was welcomed in to my friends’ apartment, there was no mistaking this smell, something I haven’t whiffed in years. Before I could sample home-cooking at its finest, we conversed about our experiences of living and working in China. I migh...Read More