Story of my experiences in china landscape

After our mishap the day before, we had to concoct express a small program of visits in Guizhou in order to be returned to Guiyang for January 21. The second part of our trip will be to the south-east? So for these 3 days, we will set sail around Guiyang and western Guizhou!

The program for the 18th: a good sleeping in first! The end of semester in college and pre-trip adventures have left some marks on my sleep patterns and my eyes, we have to write our hotel enjoy:]

But not too much, time to observe the view from our room and engulf our breakfast stalls purchased the evening, we go to lunch with the idea in mind to head on Xiangzhigou a destination indicated in the Guide Bleu, northeast of Guiyang, in a region mysteriously left empty in my Lonely. A priori, it is a nice little place that promised natural scenery and horseback riding at about 1:15 bus, the ideal place to spend the afternoon and change the city of Guiyang polluted.

Information carefully graded according to the guide, we headed to the bus terminal No. 2 located right in front of our hotel to make us to another bus station in Guiyang, where we should be able to take the bus that would take us to Xiangzhigou.

But the thing was going to announce more difficult than expected …

1 yuan for the bus ticket, whatever the distance, so far no worries. I tell the driver where we want to go down, it would still be foolish to miss the stop. A few minutes later, we returned to the bus station indicated by the Blue Guide, the Yan’an Xilu, the Guiyang Ke Chezhan 贵阳 客车 站.

Towards the wicket, a quick glance at Table destinations … I see nothing that could decide Xiangzhigou good … we will ask the lady behind the counter information. This is where it became funny …

Have the good chinese name

To a Westerner, the English translation of the menu generator is often a fit of laughter stinker. The menu “English” offers Solicitating this appetizing “water salad” or “salad water” or unforgettable “garbage sandwiches” or “garbage sandwiches.” Despite the irresistible temptation to succumb to the lure of food as refined taste, we ordered something else.

After wiping the tears of laughter against a Chinese waitress and dubious, Joe and I got to talk English first names that Chinese choose.

For China, the most educated people want to have a English name. In business, it facilitates communication with foreigners, and most importantly, it’s cool. Moreover, the Chinese phonetics makes it difficult for a Westerner to pronounce Chinese names correctly, let alone remember. Even Cai Li, with whom I lived for almost a year, sometimes fun to hear me pronounce his name.

And I often meet local ask me to find a English name. Similarly, when I explain that my name is Christopher, the Chinese find it unpronounceable, and ask me if I was not an English name. The result is that almost everyone my name is Chris, or Ke Lin.

For the fun and bilateral approach, many expatriates also ask their local friends to find them a Chinese name. Thus, “Ke Lin” is a phonetic sinicization “Chri”, the first four letters of my name. The Chinese can not pronounce the “r”, and it turned into “l”. Of “Chri”, there has been phonetically “Kli”, ending in “Ke Lin”. “Ke” has no meaning, and “Lin” means “wood” in the sense of small forest, a symbol of wisdom emerging, and also a certain prosperity, as in China, is codified and superstition is so crazy that even the names have luck.

Here, there are no saints in the calendar. In Mandarin, the names are from the usual vocabulary … And are always connoted. This is where it’s fun, because the Chinese do not know the English names are not nouns or adjectives.

Guangxi again and again :-)

n order to enjoy the time we had left before nightfall, once in our room, we hasten to browse our guides to see what we could do in the city. Not really particular site not to be missed, so we go for a walk in the city, just to take the pulse of Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province.
A statue of Mao, unique architecture, and a “monument” already seen housing a supermarket, nothing really exciting indeed …


Even the promising market had simply been destroyed, razed to some future constructions obviously, but still squatted in some houses ready to collapse it still contained.

Fortunately, our random detours we found quays dotted with small parks, and quite pleasant at night …
But what we chose came with the lunch

This is one of the peculiarities of Guiyang city full of small stalls, markets, where people used to come and buy them dinner and especially eating out in one of the tents for the night along streets.
In any case, going back to the People’s Square to the station, we found whole files. And it was not private!
Preferring to avoid the pigs feet and other tails (probably) dog, we délectées potatoes sautéed peck on toothpick (1 yuan / share), skewers of mutton in Xinjiang (1 yuan / bunch) soups and ravioli (3 yuan / share), etc …

A very warm and lively streets. We took the opportunity to refuel fruit and biscuits (weight, 2 yuan 6) for our breakfast the next day.

Small English language exchange / Xinjianghua (dialect Xinjiang region in the extreme north-western China) with vendors mutton kebabs around their mini barbecue. So here it is: “Hello” in Xinjianghua, it says “Seumeseu” I finally transcribed like that. Since, wanting to impress my seller skewers Minhang, I learned that “goodbye” is said “(r) Oich” in the ladle. It may still be useful for a future mop in Xinjiang

The discovery of the evening for me was small buns heated grill. There’s just one vendor with his wife who is like that, they travel only on the immediate surroundings of the station. Others found everywhere have nothing to do with.
The fact that it is heated grill and browned bun as it gave the consistency and taste closest to the hot bread, everything that I have tasted in China. Once hot, the dealer is a slot in the bun and to catch what you want from the choices available for the 1 yuan bun. I opted for sugar and peanuts or kinds of gears: hmmm troooooop it was good, I really enjoyed myself: P
(Sorry for the blurry photo, but I had to show you this!)

The last task of the evening was to find an internet cafe. You will see that throughout our stay I’ll need to regularly check my emails, research internship requires time … Find the first will be the image of our research cafés throughout the journey: everyone knows where it is, but it is so well hidden that it is quite difficult to find.
For the latter, after seeking information from 5-6 people maybe we débusquerons the end of a lane near our hotel situated below the level of the station forecourt, masked by large blackout curtains .
Meanwhile, we do offer a dozen homestays. No thank you! For tonight, as we can, we’ll get a good night warm, with a good shower and a comfortable bed … it could not last …

guangxi china

We arrived in the city of Guiyang in mid-afternoon. From there, our first destination was to go to the railway station: we wanted to take the train back to Shanghai, so we had to buy our tickets at the earliest, not to be again forced to fly.

On the plane we had carried from Shanghai to Guiyang in fact, we were able to set a path for around fifteen days we wanted to go in the area. Basically we thought to loop encompassing the region between Guiyang and Yangshuo, Guilin south, thus including the southeastern Guizhou and northwestern Guangxi, with a string of minority villages in points steps. (See map to locate).

Unfortunately, the program had to be revised …
Act obliges series, station, impossible to book on 17 January a ticket for January 30 (just to be in Shanghai on February 1st, the anniversary of Sandrine!), But it is of course Chunyun is! To purchase a ticket for the January 30 departure station Guiyang, “Iron 21” I was told. But of course! Except that we were thought to be already far on 21, maybe a few hundred miles away, not too far from the border of Guangxi example …
Well, then we leave empty-handed, with the impression that it will not serve much to large blueprints of our journey too far ahead or risk losing just our time.

Mission # 2: find a hotel.
This is the period of leave, although it is a monstrous mess for transport, but it is a godsend for hotel rooms! Because if the Chinese move is primarily to visit their families, resulting in hotels are usually almost empty. We can negotiate!
Finally the first we tried to input a discount on the proposed price. 168 yuan for something not super folichon … When I ask to lower the employee refuses. It does not prevent us from leaving, too bad for her, we’ll look elsewhere.
Back near the train station, we pass in front of the hotel that faces it, the Tongda Fandian 通达 饭店, a large building of modern architecture. We enter heartedly, but imagine that the hotel offered just a promotion on doubles! 158 yuan per night for the hotel opposite the railway station and bus lines and quite correct. Banco!


The Last problem, and not the smallest

Finish line: the messenger

Another QQ us back, I have time to turn a few pages of my book, ready to leap to call the courier. It should not be too late, we’re having dinner with friends tonight!
18:30, still no call, oh it’s not true … I still considering plans to wait for the courier twisted one and join my friends after, but it’ll still be a pain! We leave the room not to make them wait at the place of rendezvous, already hurtled floor when a bell rang: my phone! I quickly rises 4-4, opens with a bang and meets all the breathless messenger had happened: “It’s okay, it happens”. Ah that emotions!

Finally we are at the entrance of the university in the process of giving our big bundles of 100 yuan in big guy on his motorcycle jacket, my friends who had just arrived strangely feel that we were to conclude some illegal deal, weird right? We check our tickets, everything is ok, not the messenger finished recount over, and guess what? He forgot the premium distance, and we … well we forgot to remind him that we are bad girls
And we were able to treat us to Simply Thai in Xintiandi calmly, though still a little stressed in my case, but hey, crisis management it begins to know me, we will make revisions early in the morning …


As expected our tickets!
The effect bag, the effect laowai

Tuesday morning and that’s how I went for the first time at the airport Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) for my first domestic flight in China, in fact my first domestic flight short. Yep, Paris-Shanghai was my first flight, what the class:]

To get to Hongqiao, first QQ with our big bags of freshly purchased two hikes Décath to many thousands of miles from each other, then subway to Xinzhuang, and still our little sensation, the And finally what effect bag taxi to the airport, there’s no small savings! Hongqiao course it is very small compared to Pudong, it does not prevent the brasserie offers its Xianrou Caifan (咸肉 菜饭) 10 times more expensive than university restaurant … time to make us 2 cards frequency our company, Air China, a ride on the tarmac, and we are well established.

After the bag effect, the effect laowai. We are the only naturally foreign to be quite crazy to fly to Guiyang, however, we appreciate the efforts of the crew speak English just for us Oh no English newspaper makes me one sign, too bad …

The flight went well, and contrary to what I was told, no Chinese spit or eat badly. Flight calm, quiet, a little too hot maybe, but we were not going to complain about the sun anyway!

Finally the time for us to carefully browse our travel guides, and develop a frame path to lead us to Yangshuo and return to Guiyang seeing a maximum of picture postcard scenery and minority villages so special. As we already know, because we want to take the train to go back and live the oh so rewarding experiences 34 hours of train, we will take the train from Guiyang, because there is only there that we can buy tickets in time (because we did not 2 times to us).

10 yuan to get on the shuttle that takes us from the airport Guiyang (KWE) to the railway station. It is we in Guiyang, in Guizhou, it’s gone for two weeks of life for backpacker!

It’s hilarious the chinese way of life

All this, of course, is only exceptionally simplistic generalization. I met twelve stars French expatriates who spoke fluent Mandarin, as I met expatriates “fit” watching the Chinese high. What is quite funny is that there is a sort of constant squabble between Internet chinabloggers both categories. In both cases, there is a choice of life, and people do what they want. And in both cases, too, we must recognize that whatever the form of expatriation, in hard times, help each fellow is absolutely complete. As in France, the French had spit in the face when another needs a helping hand, both abroad, they stick together.

One of the candidates that we received working for expatriates in a ghetto. I know the existence of these ghettos (thus expatriates twelve stars call themselves, because there are guards at the entrance, and it is also difficult to enter without invitation in Fort Knox) , Like this, but has never been my choice of life, I have never attended or crossed. I know the ghetto Sanlitun, Beijing, Sanlitun is because the embassy district, and when you walk there, you see more white faces qu’ocres. This is what happened to Amélie Nothomb as a child. I would strongly advise you to read about the “sabotage love,” which tells this period of his life.

So obviously, when the kitten told me his job … I fell a little high. Expatriates who live there, if they have the means, they chew everything. They have everything at their disposal (but rents Pharaohs): they do not manage stewardship related to settlement of invoices, even mobile phone (not knowing, for the most part, not even how packages are set here), and are subcontracted to an office of the ghetto that manages it for them. The same office manages the regulations of all charges, provides day care for children, and a cleaning service sends daily housekeeping in the apartment … Would that to remake the beds, dishes, and laundry! This office acts as a travel agency if necessary, organizing the tourist travel card you want. Even within the enclosure, there is a restaurant mid-western half Chinese history to give a hint of the exotic, and there is a gym and a supermarket offering some imported products. In short, they are treated like children kings, sweetened with exotic amusement park.

It’s funny, but I am an expatriate in the same country, I say that we do not live the same experience. In my neighborhood, I am the only white. In my neighborhood, shopkeepers always stare at me so much, and none of them speak English.

Beyond these discussions, I have received other CVs, and there’s one that made me smile. In China, there are fifty different ethnic groups. Quasitotalité the population is Han, but it is often an element that applicants specify (I must say that this feature is specified on the ID card). Here we are not talking about ethnicity, but “nationalities”. And there’s a contender, which for me specify ethnicity, mentioned in his CV “folklore: han”. I found it folk.

Another candidate sent me your CV with a photo of her. I enclose a photo of the candidate in question. Be joining you this letter to you? Are hired not to work in an amusement park! Kids, these are kids …

And the best is another candidate, who, in his CV, wanted to emphasize the excellent level of English. And to prove it to me, she told me in a long paragraph, she played Snow White in a stage adaptation of the tale, as part of his studies in English, not hesitating to me detailing all the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as it is said to a child, to show me that she knew, as she played the role.

In closing, I leave you with a picture of a candidate, probably a former prime class, which by sending me his smile shot, did not hesitate to subtitle “surely, I’m the right man! “or” no doubt I’m the perfect man “. I let you appreciate yourself.

Memorie of chinese trips

Good, and although it is grated economies and experience the 34 hours by train. Perhaps we have more chance to return? Meanwhile, back in my room (yes because besides the hotel being full campus due to exams and no dorm room was available, we did a little camping in my very tiny dorm room with the complicity of ayis, Sandrine is meanwhile become my big sister, congratulations Dad! “Ayi Bangzhu or” = “” Ayi help you, “ah … my girlfriends – end of digression), passage plan B: buy tickets, quick! No way to drag in Shanghai, experience is not the best time weather perspective …
Plan B: plane

So the second trick and flash practical info, always plans to travel to China on the Internet: site, with an English version is not too bad too!
In addition to the services of hotel booking, the site provides information on all flights to China, and … and … and … even to book and pay online or to take delivery and pay delivery, not to mention the loyalty program to earn points and get discounts!

But back to the point of interest. Flight Shanghai Hongqiao – Guiyang for Jan. 17 no problem, a flight at 12:05, not early in the time you wake up well, arrival at 14:30, perfect for time to find a hotel. Subject to 40% discount, and including airport taxes, we’re doing for 1050 yuan per ticket, gulp, a little more expensive than the train anyway …

So much so that we were going to have to withdraw money from the distributor. Ah, will take delivery and pay cash to avoid all this banking commission, if we knew …
At first we thought not being able to book these tickets at all, due to overwork on the site, and yes it is the period. To believe in an accumulation of schkoumoune, but it was still nothing. Abandoned after a few minutes my computer vexed, ctrip calls me despite crash computer reservation is passed, we will be delivered at home, for a small surcharge of 40 yuan, because it is far Minhang what we knew that cool … OK! The horizon brightens? Hmm, not for long.
The final obstacle: the ATM

Second mission, the distributor. The campus has 2 that accept Visa and only two other Chinese maps. Sandrine is the first DAB Visa, problem, impossible to remove. The second is simply down. Never mind, I can lend him money by removing my purse: oops, actually I already had to remove it, I’ll spare you the intricate details, the fact remains that instead of 1100 yuan my account no longer showed 40.15 yuan (important to remember for the rest of the trip). Of course the other DAB will a deaf ear to the Visa Sandrine. So we start looking for other ATMs outside the campus. First idea, Auchan! But no time to lose, we have before us more than an hour before the delivery, and I do not think the motorbike courier accepts Visa …

So we take each of our credit card to be sure to remove it. But guess what, Auchan, on DAB 2 up, 2 ATMs out of service, presumably during notes: the Chinese who travel, they must they pay for them with their liquid notes, because it stop does not accept either … Anyway, here it really starts to make a lot.
I might add that this time I was supposed to finish with my revisions for my part the next day afternoon, and with all these stories, and others that I give you [yes, critical period this weekend end mid-January], I barely had time to open my book. Let me tell you that I started to stress a very very little bit!

Auchan outputs, while schkoumoune no end to fall, we get into a QQ already considering having to return the courier being unable to pay, no anything. Suddenly, a miracle: a bank hid behind a bush! I signaled the driver to take us there, I do wait time to get the checker to accept the DAB Visas: this is good, we will be able to withdraw money! Finally do not cry victory too soon, there are still three people in front of us, and each taking pleasure in systematically remove 2 times 1000 yuan, the classic withdrawal limit. Sandrine passes his card … suspense … we’re not even sure that it will pass … ah! noise saving device that comes out tickets! That’s it! We can pay for our tickets, our journey finally materializes!

May trips

I announced in the last post just before our departure, it is by plane we Guiyang rallied from Shanghai. But one – it was not like it that I considered to arrive in Guiyang, and 2 – just buy these tickets, this is a fantastic adventure in its own right, as I begin to get used to when it comes to travel during the New Year holiday …

And yes, we were not yet parties that already, 春运 Chunyun (= period before and after the Chinese New Year) would play tricks on us …

Objective: 34h train

In order to save money and try it at least once, Sandrine and I wanted to make the trip from Shanghai to Guiyang by train. As you follow diligently, you say, “bah, last year, you’ve already tested the long-term process, with berths and all the fuss!” Except that this time there, the journey lasted 12 hours ONLY, What a joke. Shanghai-Guiyang is 34 hours by train! Not that the distance is much greater, especially as this is Shanghai-Guiyang is joined by a K112, K as Kuai which means not really fast either, while Shanghai and Beijing, it is Z8, Z as “too damn fast Zuper” or “Zui kuai” maybe “fastest”.

So it is full of motivation that I went a week in advance small window of train tickets Minhang I now know well the employees. Since galèèèèèères (1), (2) and (3) last year, I have come a long way! So now before you go, I know where to look on the internet to find train schedules and ticket prices for classes, and even the detailed route 2060 km of line if I want.

Newsflash practice: a look at (in Chinese only) to find all the info. Against by the Chinese railway is not the station. Impossible to book online (where then tell me how!), So it is necessary to take his little legs to go buy a ticket …

And queue again … for … 2:30 … finally arriving, completely refrigerated in the lair of the wicket, and presented very proud of his little information about paper tickets you want, and everything … and be heard to say: ” oh no, sorry, but here I have one more. ”

Crestfallen … … … crestfallen crestfallen …
How they do it one more, but you can not buy the tickets 9 days in advance at this time of year (still one of the wonders of the Chunyun …), was in J-8 therefore there must not abuse?! Could it be that all Chinese are traveling in soft bed, 65 euros tickets anyway?
“Iron Sunday in 5 days, I might have.” It’s weird I like déjà vu …:

Guizhou travel

ay is, I begin this article with the story of my recent trip to China. Did I say “my” trip? “Our” trip of course! Because of course this trip I did not, but only with my cousin / friend mops China, Sandrine course;)

We must also believe that we have established a sort of little tradition every year for the Chinese New Year holidays, Sandrine’s cousin France Air France uses its miles patiently accumulated in the year to come visit her Céline cousin resident in China, and every 2, they leave en route to an unknown land in China.

And in general it is not sad! More than a journey, it is often an opportunity to real adventures! If we had started nicely last year by ten days in the capital this year we really are parties to the adventure in a land far megacities such as Beijing or Shanghai (in red): Guizhou (green ) and Guangxi (in yellow).

Shanghai-Guizhou is about 1800 km. But to be honest, at the beginning we planned to go further, in Yunnan (area west of Guizhou and Guangxi and). But on the advice of friends, we changed our idea at this time of the year, northern Yunnan and Sichuan, deemed most interesting are inaccessible because of the altitude.
So what is the Guizhou and Guangxi we headed to refuel scenery and meet many people say minorities in the region.

Put the cap is roughly what have limited our travel arrangements.

Having received advice from Marieke who went there last year, we did the day before our departure that 2 or 3 points on our journey. No hotel booked course, all will be decided on the spot or on the road … it is the true backpackers or you do not;]

Finally … so we have a guide that does not date too hands …
Our traveling companions were my friend that the Lonely Planet China 2005, and the Blue Guide China South East (dating a little more) Sandrine, although sometimes a bit overwhelmed, we still gave good road tracks to follow.
Thank you to them!

Especially this destination there was nothing like Beijing. Instead of making us once and for all in a city and visit what was around, this time it was indeed a touring trip. We expected not to stay more than 2 nights in the same hotel, and we had to go to Guiyang, our first step, the capital of Guizhou, Guangxi Yangshuo.

But as you will read later,), is would have been too easy!
To change as well, we are not parties after the festivities of the Chinese New Year (January 29 this year) as we wisely did last year, but in the preceding fortnight, full Chunyun?? !
That’ll teach me to be too impatient to go on vacation … This little detail of dates had some influence on our program but also our meetings, and finally, it is also the charm that made our trip giving everything … spicy!

So, finally you put water in the mouth. I could not resist the urge to grind my Photoshop to make you a little map of our journey.

Chinese quotes

Then there is the expatriation like mine, where the reason for leaving was never money, but the desire to live in a different context, and they live almost at the Chinese, even if their difference so marked, is pointed, and allow a better adaptation, but not integration. They know no strangers, even if the daily difficulties are numerous, if not financially enrich themselves, they learn every day about their new environment, and consequently on themselves . In shortcut for them, expatriation is a reboot, not to say a deflowering.

The third category of expatriates, it is the teachers. The Chinese are very demanding in English teachers, or even French or other foreign languages. They make decent salaries for the local environment, which, even without Pharaonic (not to say ridiculous compared to a western standard of living), can live more than comfortably in China. They live in a university environment, which is a cosmopolitan blend of local and foreign.

And then, there is a fourth category, which tends to grow enormously. These unemployed youth. There are plenty of little guys very courageous, who are tired of galérer France to find a job that did not specifically diploma, and with a small amount of pocket, go to China hoping to enter a opportunity. Again, most remain among young Westerners, often French, because beyond the fact that they do not speak Chinese, it is quite common that they do not speak English either.

In general, the first and second category of expatriates does support only moderately, and not by chance that attend. The twelve stars expatriates believe that expatriates “fit” (like me) will play the stupid adventurers and bohemians. Expatriates adapted, meanwhile, believe that expatriates twelve stars have no major behavior settlers who think only of their money, who have no idea what China.