5 things you will learn as an European in China

by mirunaandra

On 1 October, Chinese people are celebrating their national day – so, we had a long weekend that we decided to spend nowhere else than…you guessed it right… China. After doubting whether we should go both to Shanghai and Beijing, we ended up going to Beijing only. Coming from a former communist country, I was very excited to see Beijing and try to find similarities between them and Romania. I am writing this quite late, but anyway, here are the 5 things I’ve learnt while being in Beijing.

  1. In Romania, we have this saying that translated to English literally means ‘Whoever wakes up early in the morning, will go further during the day’.

Being in China and especially Beijing during the Golden week can be a challenge. There are masses of people travelling to the capital to visit the city and see the parade. We didn’t think about that when we booked our tickets- of course, we didn’t!. We were only warned afterwards that we will go crazy because of the trillions of people travelling to Beijing during these days. What we did in order to avoid crowds? Wake up early, my friend! And it eventually worked out. At the Great Wall we expected to stroll through a see a people but that did not happen. At the Forbidden City we ended up not queuing at all and so on…

  1. In China, you can have more than 30 seconds of fame.

I didn’t really get this to be honest – all these people wanting to take pictures with us just because we are blondes and white. Say what? Where we celebrities for a couple of days or just some monkeys that everybody wanted to take picture with. In the beginning was funny, but by the end of the weekend everybody has had enough. I guess we’ll all miss our shiny moments of fame – or maybe not…

  1. It’s a jungle out there.

I’ve always thought Bucharest is hectic and people sometimes can be quite obnoxious. However, nothing, LITERALLY nothing can compare to China – people cut the line, people push you to cut the line, they prefer to stay like sardines in the metros and all these stuff…

  1. No one understands you…and in case you were wondering, you will understand no one.

The first day we decided to go to the Great Wall 10 minutes before we landed in Beijing. We randomly talked to a girl on our flight and she gave us a phone number of a driver that spoke English. However, this guy was away from the city so he put us in contact with one of his friends…who didn’t understand us whatsoever. And the list can go on with people on the streets, taxi drivers, markets…et cetera.

  1. Communism is everywhere.

This might sound a bit biased but oh well, China is a communist country and coming from Romania it was interesting to see what this means to China. Beijing at least looks extremely industrial and grey. People seemed quite sad to me and there did not seem to have too much joie de vivre. You could also easily see the difference between people from the city and people from the country side. Back home, on festive days, people from the country side wear their best clothes and head to the city. And this is exactly what happens in China as well. Of course, Romania is not communist anymore, but it’s still trying to shape its individuality after more than 20 years since Ceausescu’s regime was abolished. However, China is a country of contrasts, that’s for sure.

I guess this was my experience with China. I liked it but in the same time I didn’t. I think it is a nice place to explore and visit, but for me…it did not offer me the feeling of wanting to go back. But at least I got too see the Great Wall – and let’s face it, that’s pretty much one of the coolest things to do life. Another thing crossed off from my Bucket List!