Leaving Town....

Written from Nanning, China on Thursday, September 17th, 2009
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CHINA STUFF!!!!

Last stop in China and I may not even have a photo..... Oh well, here is a few things about China you may not know.......

ONE CHILD POLICY

The craziest thing to get my head wrapped around is the one child Policy. I understand it and all, but I find it hard to believe that since 1979 none is supposed to have any siblings. Don't kids with no siblings get too spoiled and always want their way??? I guess you learn that at school? Also that means all the kids now don't have any aunts and uncles. That means no cousins. OK, it's been just over 30 years so it's just showing these things up now.

-Ethnic minority groups are exempt from this and can have as many kids as they like.

-Farmers are permitted to have a second child if the first is a girl.

TRAINS -They are hellish to book. No internet sight to  book on, ad your limited to where you can buy your tickets. When we were in Beijing we had to wait a few days for the train because of high season, so we thought we'd book our next train from there. Nope at Beijing train station or any travel agent they could not issue a ticket from Xi'an onward???? We had to wait until arriving to Xi'An before we could book the next section?

-I heard they don't even do return trains? You have to go somewhere, and I guess hope that you can get a ticket back  when you need it? That's so incredibly stupid. Can you imagine telling your work you need extra time off since you can't get a train?

-On a more positive note... All trains have a tap with boiled water. Pot noodles and tea are big things here, so the water is scalding and saved us may times from having to buy real food.

-Lights are out at 10 or 11PM depending on the last major stop. After that your stuck loading the train in the dark.

-Getting on a train is  bit nerve racking. You go to your waiting area. Say it's gate 2.... You wait there in a massive room with all the people from your train and usually 3 other trains. From here you sit down where your train is listed or line up in a civilized line..... This lasts until they announce your train is arriving, then mass chaos!!! Everyone runs for the gate pushing and shoving and elbows in full swing. Totally brutal everyone squeezing through one or two small gates and forcing there way through. NOT FUN!!!!

-Wake up call with lights on is at 6AM and blaring classical Chinese music starts at 7AM sharp. Ear plugs are essential.

-I miss the Indian Rail. They are so efficient and pretty reliable. Easy to book on line, you can book ahead, they post your name on the side of the train so no one can argue about seating.... Oh s many reasons....... They weren't any faster, but easier to deal with.

FOOD AND DRINK!!!! -Unfortunately neither of us are fond of Chinese. It's usually pretty greasy and  they have a strange fondness for non meat, meat items. There is always dishes with various organs of animals, and cartilage. Chicken feet are sold everywhere even at the convenient store in a plastic packet. (we watched 2 young girls eating them when they were in the trian line. One started at the ankle and slurped and sucked her way up. The other nibbled one toe at a time crunching away. Didn't try... Thought about it, but couldn't do it without a good reason)... still can't think of a good reason.

-All beer here has rice in it. ALL OF IT!!!! Ok I'm not a major drinker, but after a day of fighting through Chinese tourist groups sometimes beer is in order. In Japan half the beer had rice and I thought that was bad..... Now in China I realize the luxury that was. After looking at every label at every store I jokingly looked at the expensive imports. Budweiser (that I would never buy) even had rice?????

-We bought some clear cheap booze from the store and it was majorly toxic. We were told after that cheap booze is industrial. I swear it tasted like pant thiner. Chris drank a small one over time, but eventually threw out the other little one he had. I refused to drink it. It was worse then the nasty moonshine we had in Ireland and that was bad enough.

-Stick food saves the day!!!! I think we lived on pot noodles and  stick food for the last few weeks. In case your wondering it's kebabs ...you know stick food. We had either barbeque or deep fried stick food depending on the area. (preferred barbeque). There were vegis, spring onions, boc choi, chicken, pork, tons of organs that we tried to avoid.

-China does have Magnum ice cream bars, and peanut butter. YAY!!!!!

-Seshuan area has the best food. They believe in lots of spice :)

TOILETS

-The pipes are so small and overworked you can't throw paper in the toilet. There is always a bin beside it, but in hotels with Western style toilets it took a bit to remember.

-Public toilets are around, but often nasty with just an gutter you squat at. Bring your own paper, and expect the floor to be gross.

AIR QUALITY

-Sucks especially in the big cities. I don't blame people for wearing filters or masks while driving in all the traffic smog.

-The sky was usually opaque and we very rarely could see the sun or the moon without massive amounts of haze and pollution blocking it.

-Everyone smokes!!! After Japan where not many people seem to smoke and it's forbidden on many streets. Hard to get used o people smoking in restaurants and everywhere again.

MISCELLANEOUS STUFF

-PANDAS Rock!!!!

-People in general here TALK SO LOUD!!!! Whoever talks the loudest wins.We saw a woman screaming into a megaphone to a man that was yelling less then a foot away. (this was a disagreement, but funny to watch since they were the only 2 people in the area, and we were still about a couple minutes walk away).

-Chinese Tour groups are VERY popular and if our going to a tourist area of intrest to Chinese people you will see tons of leaders hlding up there flag talking through a mic or megaphone while 30 people follow along and run down anything in it's way.

-Lots of signs promoting people not to litter. There wasn't too much garbage around and people are highered to clean up the rest.It's 1000 times cleaner then Toronto China town.

-No Spitting signs are working too. I think it's much better since my last short visit just 3 years ago. Don't get me wrong there are still a few old ladies horking away as they please, but mostly it's only a few times a day you hear it rather then a constant choir.

-Many people carry a small container with tea leaves in it that they refill with hot water along the way :).

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