Photo: Jingshan Park at Sunset / Beijing, China / April 2, 2017
This was originally a long Facebook post I wrote at Incheon airport in South Korea on April 24th.
Beijing > Seoul Layover > Brisbane
I have never been more glad to leave a city or a country in general. I loved my short time in Shanghai at the end of last year, but with the end of this trip, I’ve come to the conclusion that China is just not my cup of tea. For every beautiful thing or person we encountered, there were a thousand more not-so-beautiful things or people. Every amazing experience we had was coupled with some nasty incident or treatment by the locals. Perhaps we were just extremely unlucky, but this trip has been very trying in more ways than one … I’m beyond exhausted now. From the very moment I stepped into the airport at Brisbane and tripped face-first, some seriously stupid things just kept happening, things that normally just wouldn’t happen. The bad luck just kept on coming. Taiwan was a joy ride, Mongolia was life-changing, but China just brought out the mean in me. We were getting scammed and cheated left and right and if it weren’t for the thick skin my mother gave me, we would have basically been food for the wolves.
Some awesome experiences:
– Hiking the wild unrestored part of the Great Wall and having it entirely to ourselves
– Climbing Mount Huashan and doing the Plank Walk of Death
– Meeting our Couchsurfing hosts – One was a filmmaker, one was a painter, and one was a journalist … Incredible people with incredible stories
– Biking the Xi’an City Wall and eating yummy street foods at the Muslim Quarter
Some not-so-awesome experiences:
– Missing my flight from Beijing to Taiwan. My taxi dropped me off at the wrong terminal and no one would help direct me to the correct terminal even though I asked a million different people. I paid $400 for the next flight and had to sleep at the airport that night while my mom waited for me in Taiwan.
– Matt getting locked inside a taxi BY THE TAXI DRIVER when I refused to pay x5 the normal rate. I didn’t hesitate to get out and slam the door on the driver-scammer-thief but the hubby wasn’t so quick …
– Breaking 2 out of 3 lenses I brought with me … One rolled off the bed and one rolled out of a taxi (LOL seriously). I’ve travelled with my DSLR and lenses for years with no issues … until this trip. My lenses are my babies and it was super devastating. This was also after my SD card self-corrupted at the end of my week in Taiwan.
– Having my personal space invaded on an overnight train by the person sitting across from me … A person with very poor personal hygiene kept propping her feet up on my seat. I kicked her off multiple times, but she never got the hint. She even grunted and cursed a few times. Thus, I spent 10 hours with dirty and smelly feet in my face.
– Getting harassed and then called an “ugly stupid bitch” after politely refusing to eat at a restaurant
– Squat toilets. Enough said. After Mongolia and China, I will forever feel blessed when sitting on my normal western toilet at home.
– The Chinese general population’s lack of basic manners or courtesy … Eat or be eaten. Pushing and shoving is commonplace and we got stared at constantly. It didn’t help to stare back. They really had no shame in their stare game.
There’s honestly so much more I could write, but it’s not worth mentioning every tiny little inconvenience we encountered. I was going to go to China again in November, but I think I might opt for Cambodia instead. China in small doses!
At the end of the day, I’m glad I got to experience another country and culture in its full glory, but this trip has shown me just how lucky and privileged I am just for having been born in the US of A/living in Australia. And before anyone gets on my case about cultural differences—I’m part Chinese. Let’s also not be that person who has to invalidate another’s (miserable) experiences.
Brisbane, here we come!