It’s funny, I have never thought that I would go to China. I was born in Taiwan and so was my mother so when she asked me if I wanted to go, I thought why not seeing how this is probably the only time I will be able to go for a while. My initial impressions of China was an ignorant representation of it: dirty, packed, uneducated area. Some of my impressions still are true but I was proven wrong in some areas. I have the pictures but I still need to get it developed.
Day 1 — After a twelve hour plane flight, we arrived in China Tuesday morning. With a +15 hour time difference, I was awake for almost 24 hours with a few hours sleep in the plane flight. The plane flight there was uncomfortable seeing how I was taller than most and the economy class seats weren’t made for people like me to sit comfortably. The food wasn’t five star either, so I decided to skip some of the meals. For 12 hours I sat miserably and hungry. Life sucked.
Once we arrived there, we just grabbed our camera, water bottles(DO NOT DRINK CHINA’S WATER. JUST DON’T), and some snacks and went off on the tour. Super Vacation (our tour company) gave us a pretty cool tour guide except he didn’t understand what I was saying most of the time so I just kept shut. On the way there, he gave us some cool stats about China. In Beijing, which is where we landed and stayed for the first 2 days, had a population of 13 million and the city was half the size of Taiwan. When you think about it, that is one HUGE city. The other city we were going to stop by, Shanghai, had a population of 17 million and is smaller than Beijing. I thought that was packed but it’s nothing to another city he named which had a population of 31 million and was smaller than both of those cities. I forgot the name because we weren’t touring it, I never heard of it and I just didn’t bother to remember it. The first day we went to visit the Forbidden City and the scenery was GREAT. I found out if a boy cleaned only ONE room per day it would take him around 27 years to finish. That’s a lot of rooms, 9999 to be exact as I found out later. I also found out that the emperor himself had 3000 concubines…for…himself. That man was set for life. I envy him. Anyways, we continued touring the area until it started to sprinkle. Tour guide mentioned it was rare for it rain so most people loved it and didn’t use umbrellas. Well, it sprinkled…then rained….then poured. Needless to say, everyone started using umbrellas. We left for lunch where I learned it would be the same exact dishes EVERY SINGLE MEAL EXCEPT each meal was to be made different. My cousin mentioned to me after I got home that I got thinner, well now you know why. I ate little since I got sick of most of the meals. After lunch we went to the Temple of Heaven where it was the temple only for the emperor to use. There was this long corridor to the entrance that the tour guide mentioned that no females were allowed to even walk on. The women’s rights movement changed that After the temple, we headed over the Summer Palace where it was the personal palace for the empress. MAN, this place was niceeee, she had the lake extended by 2/3 so it was huge. Jeez, it there wasn’t an overcast then the place would be SOO beautiful for photography, with the lake glistening and hills in the background.
Did I forget to mention that we shopped after every place we visited? The tourist coined the places government sponsored shops, which they were, but it was just amazing the amount of money they generate from us. Also, I have to mention that China has the best customer service EVER. I mean EVER, I have never seen nothing like it. Reason is that there are so many people who need jobs that everyone will do whatever it takes to keep their job. So when I enter the government sponsored shops, there are more people behind the counters than there are tourist. When I look at something, I have one person speaking with me and like 3 people backing the one sales rep up. It’s so cool.
We had dinner after the Summer Palace and more shopping. The waitresses at the restaurant treat everyone so nicely since they usually don’t get that much business so a tour bus is like making bank that day. After that we went to an acrobat show which was really….interesting…and sad. Most of them were kids so you know they aren’t going anywhere with their life. We saw this girl juggle a table with her feet, this boy who can balance BIG ass flower pots, this incredibly flexible girl, and much more weirdness. Never seen one before so that was cool. We went to our hotel later where we were treated like royalty at the Holiday Inn. I forgot to mention that our exchange rate from US to RMB was one US dollar to 8.21 RMB dollars. Most of us say 1:8 so it’s easier to calculate. Just one US dollar would make anyone smile there. Five dollars would probably result in them carrying you wherever you wanted. It was great, I felt rich.