Come visit China as Gimi takes us on her travels and we learn what Ana & Emily miss about living in China!
“UMH GOI SAI!”
Areas of the country I visited:
G: Hong Kong, Hainan, Sichuan province (in particular Chongqing), Guizhou province, Yangtze river for 2 weeks.
E: Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Hai Nan, Macau, Xi An, Harbin, Tibet, Xin Jiang.
A: Lived in Macau.
Favourite monument/place that I went:
G: Three Gorges area of Yangtze river.
E: Kashgar (in xin jiang).
A: My favourite palces are: Porto Interior, Largo dos três candeeiros – A more traditional part of Macau, untouched by casinos and the modern world. You can find quirky shops with handmade artifacts and unique items of clothing and decorations.
Café Esplanada at the Wynn Resort and Casino is one of my favourite places to unwind and enjoy afternoon tea. Caravela is a Portuguese restaurant/cafe in the center of Macau, staff and owners are really friendly and you get to experience a bit of Portuguese cuisine in China!
Describe the country in 3 words:
G: Contrasting, cultural, colourful.
E: Exciting, international, diverse.
A: Dynamic, multicultural, and exciting.
I wasn’t expecting to find:
G: Boiled chicken.
E: So many western shops.
A: The Batmobile!
My favourite part of the culture was:
G: The beautiful paintings and scriptures.
E: The language.
A: Learning about the different superstitions they had. For instance, for the first 15 days after the Chinese New year, people don’t cut their hair because ‘hair’ is a homophone for ‘prosperity’ so they believe they might be ‘cutting’ their wealth away!
I would describe the people as:
G: Curious and friendly.
A: Very friendly, warm and hard-working.
I was surprised by:
G: I was surprised that people would want to take pictures with me because I seemed to be the only white person they had ever seen!
E: How few old areas of beijing are left.
Something I miss about the country now:
E: The food.
A: I miss everything about it, the food, the people, the places!
Any (new) words/phrases of the native language I picked up:
G: I learnt some symbols like entrance and exit, but I can’t replicate them on this keyboard!
E: Chu zu che. (Mandarin)
A: Relax, don’t worry-‘Fong sum’, Thank you – ‘umh goi sai’, You’re crazy! –‘Chi-sin’ (Cantonese)
N.B. Standard Chinese, also known as Putonghua, the official language of the People’s Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) where it is known as. Mandarin Chinese is the branch of Chinese dialects which includes the dialect of Beijing. The official languages for Macau are Portuguese & Cantonese.
Strange or memorable experience:
E: being asked to take pictures with Chinese strangers!
Would you go back?
G: Yes, but to different places, not Chongqing! It was too big and claustrophobic.
A: I will most definitely be going back.
A misconception people may have of the country:
G: It is so diverse, people think China is all the same, but it really depends on where you go within China.
E: It’s not as chaotic as people may think.
A: Macau isn’t just about gambling; it has a long and rich history. The Portuguese occupied Macau from the mid 1600 until 1999 so there is a heavy European influence and feel to the city. If history interests you, make sure you visit the many museums and exhibitions on going. It is also a very multicultural city, you get all nationalities and religions living together in harmony so you get to experience the best of many cultures!
One thing the guide books don’t tell you:
E: Taxis are cheaper in Beijing, but don’t seem to like to stop for potential customers.
A: Traveling by bus in Macau is next to impossible because the busses are always so full of people. You are better off walking, Macau is a small city anyway.
Do not be afraid to stand your ground in queues, people will try to cut in front of you!
Make sure you don’t just visit the hotels/ casinos or the tourist parts. As tempting as it is, at the end of the day you will miss out on all the culture and history the city has to offer.
Other advice I would give to those planning a visit:
G: Take lots of hand sanitizer!
E: Fly out with an empty suitcase!
A: If your stay is short don’t worry, you can experience Macau easily as it is a small city. If you plan it right, you might even be able to visit Hong Kong (which is a 1 hour boat ride away) and Zuhai (mainland China). Make sure you get a visa ahead of time if you want to visit Zuhai though as it takes a couple of days to issue. Overall have fun and make sure you visit the Macau tower for the world’s highest bungee jump!
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