kamila

Can’t live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

…and then the China crisis came

I’m not the person who has to deal with crisis while traveling, not very often at least. It may happen that I want to spend the day just relaxing instead of going to yet another place but it’s nothing serious, I guess everyone has similar feelings every now and then.

But yesterday was one of these days that I’d rather stay inside and spend my time watching more and more episodes of guilty pleasure tv shows. And that’s actually how I started my day, with two episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy”. Getting myself together and leaving was just too much and I had to use a really big will power to drag myself out of the hotel. At first I had a plan to visit a neighbor canal town of Zhujiajiao but when I woke up I just knew it’s too much, I can’t deal with any more Chinese people just pushing me around. The weather wasn’t helping either as it was grey and gloomy, but at least it wasn’t raining…

I figured an easier plan for today and so I started with French Concession. But before I even left the metro station I spent at least half an hour trying to find some decent food to eat, there was a big shopping center and a really big choice of food but everything was just pushing me away and I didn’t feel like eating fries from KFC again… I was craving normal food, vegetables, cheese, yoghurt – everything that I can get back at home but of course is not available here (and even if it is it costs a fortune and is not even half as good)… I eventually bought some most Western snack I could find and when I was sitting on the bench and trying to comfort myself with food I was looking around and wondering what the hell I’m doing here. It’s pretty obvious I don’t really like China and I guess yesterday I reached the moment when I’ve had enough of it.

When I saw the first street in the area of French Concession I wasn’t impressed at all. It was yet another Chinese street I saw so many of during this trip, with the difference that it was full of trendy boutiques. I was so indifferent when I walked up there but once I found myself in one of the narrow backstreets I immediately fell for it. The streets were full of photography galleries, quirky shops, trendy boutiques and not smelly restaurants. It’s a perfect place to wander around and even it wasn’t too crowded but after an hour or so I got bored and thought to move on…

I’ve decided that Yuyuan Garden should make a nice afternoon place to visit, especially that there was a vegetarian restaurant in the area. But just after getting out of the metro I was approached by yet another two scammers, the scenario was all the same as before but I guess my face shown everything as they did let me go pretty quickly. From then on it was only getting worse. The crowd was awful and before I even got to the street I wanted to see I was stopped every few steps by people trying to sell me fake bags or watches. And they didn’t accept a single “no, thank you”, they followed me, kept asking more and more and harassing me. I seriously thought at some point I’ll start yelling at them or just punch then in the face… The restaurant was a weird experience too and didn’t really improve my mood. I tried to walk around the old town but even if it was a lovely area the crowds really drove me crazy and so I decided to skip entering the Yuyuan Gardens and leave the place all together.

I thought that going to the Bund may calm me down, after all I enjoyed the place so much. And it did. I just sat there, staring at the awesome view on the other side of the river and writing some thought in my notebook. But apparently it’s a weird thing to just sit down and write as every few minutes Chinese people were coming closer and looking into the notebook what I’m writing about. I highly doubt they could understand Polish but it didn’t stop them from staring for few long moments. Again I though I’ll burst out but I just focused on my attempt to stay calm. On top of that the older Chinese guy was just clapping front and back, front and back for good 30 minutes… I don’t know if that was some kind of exercise or what but it was so damn annoying. If not the sunset I was waiting for I’d have left the place and come back to the hotel.


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At least the night view of the area was worth all the waiting but still the whole day was just nerve wrecking. I’m really surprised I didn’t have a serious breakdown at some point. I called it a day pretty early as watching more episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” seemed to be more appealing than dealing with China some more. It is an interesting place and I’m really glad that I came to see it. It’s just that I’m also glad I’m leaving today and I think for the first time ever I’ll be glad to be heading back home (or at least to good old Europe…)

If you think of visiting China or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!

love, kami 2

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26 Paź '12

There are 10 Comments.

  1. I think you and I travel kind of similarly. I actually liked China, and I have been to other parts of Asia- Vietnam and Thailand (both of which I like very much) – but no matter how much I like Asia, or appreciate the differences, my heart just belongs to Europe. I travelled through Italy for three weeks- not for a second was I sick of pizza and pasta. I spent extensive time in Eastern Europe- rarely did I want a stir fry- but two days in China and all I wanted was cheese and bread!

    • I just couldn't stand Chinese food, even the smell itself was too much for me! and here I can even book flights only to go for few hours to Italy to eat a real pizza there. Crazy, huh?

  2. I agree, China can be a very challenging place. There are just so many people and it can be a real assault on the senses (especially the noise and the smells!), and it can make you feel very much out of place. But, I do think it's worth visiting, simply because it's so different than Europe and there are plenty of beautiful and interesting things to see. And I know you don't really like Chinese food, but I think that also one of the main reasons why China is amazing, despite all its frustrating characteristics. :D

    • It was interesting and I'm really glad I went. It's just China and me didn't really click and I don't think I'll visit it anytime soon. But it was worth going!

  3. Sorry to hear that day freaked you out. It sounds like you handled it well, though.

  4. HAHAHAH. Oh Kami, I accidentally stumbled on this post via your post about Iran solo…and I am happening to be reading it…while hiding in my China hotel room. I spent today reading one of the books I brought with me and didn’t get dressed until 5:00 pm, and only did so because I had to go buy a bus ticket for tomorrow.

    I didn’t even really have a meltdown (yet, I still have a month left) but all the things you listed are so true. And frustrating. But it is all part of the experience…
    jennifer latest post…Dali, China: The Gorgeous Three Pagodas of the Congsheng Temple GroundsMy Profile

    • kami
      23:43 19/06/2015

      haha, I’m kind of glad I wasn’t the only one who had a hard time in China ;) Hopefully things are better for you now! I guess you just need to have a small crisis and take things easy one day so it can get only better from there on! :) Enjoy China!

  5. Asta
    00:03 22/07/2015

    Hi Kami,
    I have been reading your blog for a while now. First of all, I love your style of writing! You and I seem to have a lot in common regarding our travelling styles and things we like and don’t like. :-) I went to China in 2013 and I have to say, I loved the buildings, the landscape and the scenery. However, I had the same problems with the food…I just didn’t like it all that much and got tired of eating it every day. In Shanghai, which was my last stop before flying back home to Germany, I craved pizza and actually went to PizzaHut, something I never do at home. By the way, you didn’t really miss anything by not visiting Zhujiajiao. I got some pretty photos there but the place is absolutely crowded with Chinese (and some Western) tour groups, the shops and restaurants there are exclusively aimed at tourists, it felt a little like a Disneyland version of an old Chinese village. I got a small crisis there because the masses and masses of people pushed me around all the time and it was just too much…! :-/

    • kami
      22:26 28/07/2015

      Hi Asta, thank you for your lovely comment! It’s really good to know I was not the only one dealing with China. It was probably the most challenging country I’ve ever been to but now, after these few years I actually wouldn’t mind returning to see more of it! But I guess I’d skip Zhujiajiao…

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