...I suspect I may be the luckiest kid in the world

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Toto, We're Not In Europe Anymore, Part 1

I took myself off to the Airport and waved myself off. After a bad experience the week before-
(On the way to London - this included finding lines 100+ metres long - NOT normal for Zurich Airport! I had to beg, borrow and bribe my way through to the front of each line - I have NO jewelery left now, and then running for my life all the way to the gate which happened to be (of course) on the other side of the airport)

...I allowed plenty of time. I was maxed out on luggage allowance and would not-could not, be running anywhere.

After a brief sprint through the Frankfurt Airport, I was drooled on by a Chinese man most of the way to Beijing. I should have seen this as a foretaste of what was to come.

Beijing: Probably one of the craziest experiences of my life. In my whole week in China I probably saw only 20 other "white" people. Which meant that I was a walking sideshow freak attraction to all the Chinese.

Stared at?
Spat on?
Sat on?
Sneered at?
Shocked by?
Sized up?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

It was like going back to the beginning again. I couldn't read anything or understand anyone.

But after a good sleep, I felt like I might be able to cope and had an amazing trip. I got a wonderful glance of the Great Wall and finally was able to beg my way into buying a train ticket (an experience all of it's own) to visit my friend Aimee up in northern China.

I took a Night Train (they would only sell me 1st class-and I had to pay for the privilege) and arrived in Harbin. Here, I finally got to eat some real, good, Chinese food, explore miles and miles of underground shops/markets, take a million taxis, and even practice some Chinese on said taxi drivers.
It was very fun to see Aimee again (I actually caught up with her last when I was passing through Singapore on my way to Switz) and to tag along on some of her classes (she's teaching English).

The night train back was, ah, different, as I managed to buy a cheaper 2nd class ticket. Let's just say that the people who designed the bed size were very skinny.

But, actually, I really liked China. It couldn't have been any different from Europe. It's probably been a good transition spot for coming home. At least, home couldn't be any stranger than China.


  1. Awesome! So glad you got to visit the big country. It's a strange place, that part of the world. What you probably didn't realize is that when the old men spat on you as they passed, they probably cursed you under their breath with the name "White Devil."

    Cheers, eh?

    I'm jealous, though, as I've never maid it over to Beijing/Great Wall/et al.

    Thanks for sharing your story! Glad you had a great trip (and got out of there alive!) :P

  2. You should have waited for me to head to China together! I could have haggled a better deal on EVERYTHING for you. No one bosses Kylie around if I can help it... miss you :(

  3. I presume (when you are talking about "home") that you mean Australia, because your "home-home" is full of all sorts of strangeness - and that's just talking about your mother - heh heh - don't tell her I said so.....

  4. Have you tried dumplings and roast ducks? They are the famous and traditional Beijing dieshes. And also bird's nest soup? Its a delicacy in China.

    Enjoy your days~~~