I realised that everytime I skype or message someone from back home I end up repeating the same stories or saying the same things, since I usually skype in groups, ma, my brother and my cousin all in the same time period I’m not as excited about it or I end up not doing the place justice! So I’ve decided to write you all a letter about my travels starting with my first time in China, Beijing!
I arrived in around 10pm and after taking a couple of sneaky shots out the plane window. The skyline of Beijing my first set of Christmas lights! I ended up getting straight through customs (I’ve heard of nightmares before so I was extremely happy about this). I was coming from Sri Lanka where I experienced 30 degree weather everyday so for the flight I was dressed in what I thought was warm. Some jeans, a longsleeve T-Shirt, a cardigan, scarf, knit beanie and fingerless gloves. Perfect for the the couple of minutes that I would need to be outside for. (I already had a transfer booked and was basically going straight back to my hotel to crash for the night).It was warm, this was until I passed security and was still waiting for my baggage a good hour after the flight landed. Guess what Sri Lanka forgot to put on the plane with me?! My baggage, full of all of the warm clothes that I had been lugging around for the past three months in one of the hottest climates that I had experinced! (India! Why are you so humid??) At this point I’m tired a little grumpy and after being told my baggage will arrive tomorrow I wasn’t so worried, they gave me 450 yuan (around $50 bucks) so I really thought it was more of a gift than anything! I got in my transfer and made my way downtown. The heating was up, thank god so the -3 degrees weather didn’t bother me and my sweater enlaced body.
I woke up feeling refreshed and great, wow I had my own room at a hotel. It wasn’t a dorm where I could hear the snores come through the walls and the laughter until three or four in the morning! I had my own bathrooom, something I hadn’t experinced in a while. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still pure ‘Chinese.’ The room had small figurines along the wall in different poses, one peeing the other squating, the other fishing, they all looked as happy as larry. On the bedside table condoms and vibrators were for sale, in the bathroom there was a wash set for sale too. They provided you with inside shoes that you could wear around the hotel and room service was advertised too. I think they forgot to give you the number to call though. I know what you’re thinking, “Where is she staying? Does this hotel charge by the hour?” To tell you the truth I was suprised, especially after seeing the condoms, that I couldn’t hear anything through the walls.
Have you ever been to China before? Maybe you have been to Japan? Whenever anyone mentions Japan, straight away I think of the amazing food which I love and havent got to experience yet. Its all anyone talks about as well as the amazing train system. Before I got to China this is the first sentence people would say, “Oh you’re going to Beijing. Do you know any Chinese?” I didn’t think much of this sentence until I got here. Being a vegetarian (officially a pescatarian but this is a minor detail right now) I realized in my first walk from my hotel to the resaturant down the street that Mandarin is mandatory when going to China by yourself. I downloaded an app straight away (only a tad worried about getting no charge as it was in my lost bag). Still to this day alll it taught me is, “You are a man” and “I am a woman” (Seriously as if I was going to keep learning off this app when they thought that was the first thing that I wanted to hear about. #feminism). Going back to the restaurant I’m glad that the Chinese have there own version of Google because I think I would have starved without it. The food is one thing that absolutely surprised me! Chinese has never been my favourite cuisine (not even close to the top) but all of the food that I did dare to order was aboslutely incredible! I ended up showing a picture of chinese characters, which to my knowledge (very limited) said ‘vegetables’ luckily they usually got the gist haha. Anway back to the food, seriously anyone that goes to Beijing and didn’t get to try ramen I feel extremely sorry for you. I also feel sorry for all of the university students who buy two minute noodles thinking they’re decent. I don’t think I can go back to them after trying this, it is THAT good. Leek dumplings also became my best friend and I ended up getting used to the vinegar they served it with too. Chinese food was making its way up in the ranks in my case.
So far,its only been a night and morning and Beijing is already gobsmacking. I’ll see how I go in the next couple of days and I will fill you in a little bit more! Updates on the baggage situation will come too! It still hasn’t arrived (two days and counting).
Love Sophie xx