As I am about to leave China, I found myself contemplating about the place. I spent about a month here in, not consecutively; I somehow warm myself up to China. In fact it has in some ways had grown on me. If you ever ask would I even consider living here for a while I would.
I found myself getting used to a few things:
- Avoiding dodgy looking public toilets and instead search for good ones, obscure or public
- Looking at kids flashing their butt lips and sometimes doing their business out in the open
- Averting my eyes from open yet occupied toilet cubicles
- People, people and people. There are loads of people everywhere all the time. This is China, country that holds 20% of the people in the world.
- People trying to speak Mandarin to me and have a strange look when found out I could not really do, but quickly forgive me when they learn I can speak Cantonese instead. That makes me somewhat Chinese I guess?
- Food could be a hit or miss. Sometimes you wonder what is the hype of some food but then you realize it could be just because you are not accustomed to the local taste, while sometimes you get a surprise find of something delicious.
Things that I still could not wrap my head around just yet:
- The exorbitant entry prices to all the attractions and beautiful places (aka tourist traps or not). Even the temples, mosques and public parks are charging fees notoriously.
- Incredibly long train rides (10-30 hours is common) getting from one place to another and to top it off the chair is made in such a way you could not really lean back and my short legs cannot fully rest on the floor while the space is not big enough for any other movement. I have aches all over thereafter and incredibly swollen legs.
Though my Mandarin may have improved along my weeks here I must admit it was not dramatically, due to having a travel partner that is so fluent in it I was not really forced into learning it. Regardless I am still resolved to master it someday, whenever that would be.
As for now, I do have had enough of China, wandering wise, I would indeed someday return to continue exploration of this complex country. I had just barely scratch the surface of what it has to offer due to the immensity of its size. I have been up the Great Wall of China, touched the border to Mongolia, relish in the ancient city, walked and cycled on old city walls, conquered one of the top five mountains Hua Shan, finally be amazed in person by the Terracotta Army, visited countless amount of temples and a Chinese structured Mosque, a number of museums, various parks and lakes and even the old Tang dynasty bathhouse. But I believe there are still many things that China has to offer, so literally and not, I would say Zàijiàn.