Is it worth going to China? Exotic, distant travel is becoming more and more popular every year. Bored with clean, hotel beaches in Greece and Spain, Poles are looking for something more.
To give you a better understanding of what traveling to China entails, today we will try to introduce you to the country from a slightly different angle. From one that is not described in any guidebooks :)
Why isn’t China for everyone?
First of all, it is important to remember that this is a completely different country from what we are used to in Europe, and the people are different not only in terms of skin color. It is crowded, noisy and sometimes…. even smelly!
People are noisy, shouting to others even as they stand next to them, throwing garbage on the ground, pushing and bumping into each other all the time. Driving with a stroller is a veritable slalom, because you can’t count on someone to move over or provide a piece of sidewalk, just as you can’t count on someone to make room for a stroller in the elevator or subway.
You are also sure to be surprised by Chinese savoir vivre. Chinese people are no strangers to slurping while eating, burping, farting, picking their noses and even taking care of their needs in the street (although this has been effectively eradicated in Beijing, but for children it is still condoned).
This is a country where you will often encounter a cockroach on the floor, and hotel staff do not always communicate in English. So if you are not prepared to be completely different, overcome prejudice and złall European standards, a trip to China may not be the best idea.
How to count in Chinese?
Anyone who wants to visit China should learn to count from 1 to 10 in Chinese (necessarily including showing numbers on fingers, which is quite different from in Poland!) and practice haggling at a stall. The Chinese are well aware that European tourists are eager to visit their country, but they are totally unfamiliar with their language. So you must be prepared that you will pay more for lunch or that souvenirs at the stall will be more expensive than you thought. Don’t be afraid to haggle and show the locals that you know what you should pay. However, we advise against brawls and arguments, as you will never come out of them victorious.
How to count in Chinese? See below:
The cradle of our culture at that time
Despite the many dissimilarities and “quirks,” it should not be forgotten that the Middle Kingdom is actually the cradle of our culture at that time. Surely you haven’t forgotten what you learned in history in elementary school? It was here that items we still use today, such as ceramics, paper, printing or silk, were created…. We have appropriated most of them for ourselves and underestimate China’s contribution to our continent.
One of China’s greatest explorers was Marco Polo, who traversed the Silk Road and was one of the first to reach the Middle Kingdom. He was the one who showed Europeans what had been standard in China for many years. Had it not been for his expedition, we might not even know the game of cards to this day! As one of the greatest card game enthusiasts in history, Marco Polo not only brought cards to Europe, but also made them one of the most popular games on the Old Continent.
Most likely, no guidebook will tell you that China is a country where, in addition to its history, traditions and culture, you discover yourself and your openness to other cultures and customs. You will be surprised here not only by the dirt and disorder, but also by the breathtaking sights and nature you won’t find in Poland, traditional architecture, Danxia’s rainbow mountains and picture menus in restaurants.
It’s a country that’s beautiful and ugly at the same time, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which prevails.
As you know very well, we love to experience everything on our own. We want to get a decent night’s sleep and dine at a good pub, but at the same time we don’t care to admire only the landscapes straight out of tourist guidebooks.
Getting to know the local culture, people and seeing something interesting are priorities for us, so we ate at both the better restaurants and those that are overlooked in guidebooks and those that look like mordant restaurants but are crowded with Chinese people. We talked to people (once we managed to find someone who spoke good English) and learned about their way of life, how they spend their free time, and where they recommend going.
We can calmly recommend to you a trip to China as one of the most interesting trips of your life. Open your minds, leave your prejudices in Poland and enjoy the difference that will meet you already at the airport :)