Not So Much

I've been in China since Saturday afternoon and I have decided it's definitely no Europe. And maybe that's my fault because I was hoping it would be like Europe. And maybe it's that I'm not used to something so completely, utterly different than what I know. Whatever the case is, China has taken my expectations and blown them out the window.

Walking off the airplane I was happy to see a glass, stable, permanent jet way. Jet ways scare me to death so it was nice to know this one wasn't going to fall. Entering the actual airport it was gorgeous. If it wasn't against Chinese law I would have taken pictures of it. It opened just before the Olympics so it's new and very airy.

A health check (walking through temperature gauges) and customs proved to be scary. There are about twenty customs lines, each with a Chinese official in a surgical mask. Yes, a surgical mask. They don't want to get sick (who does?) and they check your passport and visa - making sure, I assume, you were on the plane manifesto.

Seeing my sister was absolutely amazing. It even made up for the fact that I had McDonalds two meals in a row (minus the meals on the plane). We got to our hostel and by 7 p.m (5 a.m in the U.S.) I was out.

Beijing turned out to be an experience and preferably one I won't have to repeat very often. (Or at all in the case of the metro experience.) The streets are dark, littered with garbage everywhere. And you have to make sure you are avoiding the spitting. Apparently the Chinese believe that is bad to keep phlegm in your body so they spit it out. And also, they wear knit surgical masks because they want to keep their mouth warm. Interesting huh?

We weren't rushing but somehow we got through the Forbidden City and Tian'amen Square in about three hours. The Forbidden City is cool for about the first five buildings. After that it's like, "Oh, more Ming architecture."

Lunch was at a Muslim restaurant where the beef wasn't of great quality - but we were hungry and wanted food.

The Chinese metros rarely have escalators and never elevators so we lugged my two suitcases all around the metro. We think about half of China's population was on those metro rides. There aren't weekends for the Chinese, as I've experienced.

We changed train tickets and had an absolutely horrible experience with the train. Now we know never to get standing room only tickets on a train again. Arriving in Handan around 8:30 we got to Maggie's apartment and then almost promptly went to sleep.

The next morning I went to class with her. And that was an experience of a lifetime. I walked in to a class of 65 students to find them cheering and clapping for me. It was definitely overwhelming. So far I've been to two classes - I'm going to more after lunch. And they were both Junior 1's - the first year of middle school for them. Both classes asked me my age (they thought I was old) and then later, in the second class, they brought Chinese dimes to me and asked if I would buy them an iPod. Sorry honeys, that won't buy an iPod.

I had something at lunch that really turned my stomach and so yesterday I skipped two classes so I could rest and be near a bathroom in case I needed to throw up. After eating some fried rice last night and again today for lunch, I am much better. So yay for so far avoiding the dreaded traveller's sickness.

Until later -

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The Dreamer of Dreams said...

It sounds like your adventure started from the get go....too bad you felt a little sick, but glad that you are feeling much better.

Have fun.

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