It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was worrying about going to China.
And already I am leaving. Time flies.
Before coming, I had concerns about the food. But actually it’s been fine! And I’ve generally really liked it. I’ve eaten street food, in cafes and restaurants. I have tried a variety of local foods and snacks. And ordered from Chinese-language-only menus, where I’m not entirely sure what I have ordered. But I’ve also had my fair share of McDonalds!
The language barrier was another concern. It’s been a problem sometimes, especially with rogue taxi drivers who drop you somewhere random. But overall, they don’t expect a white person to speak Chinese, so they either just ignore you, or accept silent pointing!
One thing that I really don’t like is all the blatant staring. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, everyone will be staring, pointing and telling everyone else around that there is a white person there, so they can all stare too. You sit down for a 2 minute rest and instantly someone will sit ontop of you and shove a camera in your face. You are walking up a flight of steps and someone will walk in your way to take a photo. Someone will be standing next to you and will turn, totally facing you and stare. They don’t even stop when you stare back.
Even as I write this on the plane to Bangkok, the Chinese in the row infront are turning around in their seats to have a good stare at me and take photos. I’m trying to enjoy my flight in peace!
I feel like a zoo animal and I’m fed up of it!
It’s almost as bad as the permanent spitting that everyone feels the need to do. Disgusting.
Overall, despite the above, I have enjoyed most of China – but I won’t be rushing back any time soon.
I left Beijing in the morning, for the return 2 metro and 1 airport train journey, back to the airport. I’m popping (can you call it popping when it’s a 6 hour flight?!) back to Bangkok to pick up the rest of my luggage I left there over a month ago.
I’m looking forward to thawing out and eating some red curry!! Check in was a bit ridiculous. Not only was I asked for proof of onward travel (noone else was being asked), I had to show a credit card. Why?! Then security was even more ridiculous, since when did you have to go through the scanner several times just because you have a camera in your bag.
My passport photo was scrutinised – ok yes, it was taken 8 years ago, noone else normally even bothers looking. China certainly know how to make you feel like you are in the wrong! What a palava.
We left at 2.30pm, on time, through the thick smog covering Beijing. Aside from the constant staring and photo taking, the flight was fine. I even had a tv to play with (that’s quite novel for flights through Asia!).
I landed at 7pm. 31 degrees (at night time!). That’s a bit of a shock coming from just 4 degrees (at its hottest!) in Beijing! A very welcome change.
Getting off the plane was like walking into a hairdryer. Oh how I have missed this! Wow.
Bangkok airport; land of the white people. The Chinese won’t know where to look! I feel like I’m in England. Its a bit of a shock coming from a foreigner-free China.
I only have 2 pages left in my passport and I’m still going to quite a few countries before I come home. So it’s now fairly critical where it gets stamped. None of this stamping in the middle of a free page rubbish anymore! (I don’t know what happens if you actually have zero space left, what do they do? Not let you into the country?)
The woman didn’t speak good english, so did not understand what I wanted, despite having post-it noted the spot for her – but eventually she stamped in a nice small space for me.
The airport train, then 2 metro trains into the city (£1.40) felt like they took forever. Well they did, nearly an hour and a half. I’m sure it was a lot quicker last time I did this. First things first, some Thai food!! No red curry in this restaurant, so next best thing. Green curry 🙂 So good!
Reunited with all my copious luggage and dive equipment. Im not looking forward to dragging this all round with me for the next few weeks now!! After another re-sort I got rid of a load of clothes that no longer fit. Although it hasn’t really made a huge amount of difference…. It feels a long time ago since I woke up in China!
Monday 18 March 2013
I’ve been to Bangkok several times now and have already been to all the touristy sights. So a day of relaxation. Life is hard. After a nice lie in, I booked myself in for a massage and headed over to the spa just before lunch. Last time I had a massage in Thailand (Chiang Mai) it was actually pretty good, so I have high hopes. 90 minutes of being pulled and pushed – this one as a bit different, with the lady using a ‘hot compress’ a hot ball that was pressed all over my back. It was really good. I went somewhere fairly expensive, you seem to get what you pay for with these things.
Other jobs for the day; stocking up on cheaper toiletries and snacks for the next few days! I love 7-11.
Despite not meaning to, I found myself wandering around. And what is a day in Thailand without a temple! This time, a Hindu temple – Sri Mahamariamman temple. All around, the shops were full of flower garlands and incense. Really pretty.