6 things you should know before travelling to China
- The Great Firewall of China : Imagine my Surprise when I arrived in Beijing China. I had no access to my Gmail where all my information on bookings were. ( Yes i know- I should have picked it up on my pre- research huh? but I didn’t. ) China certainly like big walls. In China there is a huge firewall on normal access to internet as the world know it. Google and all social media is banned in China ( including Facebook, Twitter you tube, Instagram, etc.) I mean who does that? Ok, in a way somehow I get the point they are trying to achieve… but still…. ” Control over their People” …. But really in 2016? this is the reason I have to be posting as Throwback. Better be prepared if you use Gmail, rather open a secondary email like yahoo or MSN ( strange that these are allowed). Some People suggest using a VPN network, which is able to connect albeit these firewalls. I just did not want to bother as there are several VPN networks over the internet- which i didn’t quite understand, besides who knows if I’m being monitored as a foreigner. Another thing that you might wanna do before you get there is to download “WE CHAT”. The whole of china is using it. It makes it easier to communicate and connect. For example in order to access the airport free Wi-Fi you have to register either with your local Chinese number or with a We Chat id. I had neither – i struggled a lot. connecting at the hotels was however somewhat of a bliss at least.
2. The Spitting Maniacs : Man spits every where. That moment when they pull from really deep and then spit. Ssurely this should be illegal. I’m not gonna go into detail with this topic. It is simply nauseating and be prepared, it could happen anywhere any time ( indoor, outside, bus station, train station) – even while eating . Just a disgusting Habit – Nje
3. The Toilet Saga : firstly you are not allowed to throw toilet paper in the toilet after you are done with your Business. Apparently the flushing system ( sewage System) in China cannot Handle toilet paper. Granted their toilet paper is thick and good quality, unlike some single ply I know from back home in South Africa. There is an open bucket positioned next to the toilet to throw this paper in, if not regularly emptied, imagine the whiff. “ Disgusting”. I have heard more horrific stories about the use of Toilets in China. A lot of Places are still using the old Squatting toilets. It reminded me of the culture shock i got when I visited DRC ( Congo) . Often no toilet paper or running water in these Squats, so always carry some tissue and sanitizer. Luckily I always used toilets at my hotels or decent tourist restaurant which were modern. Also, always make sure to ask where you book if they have a new western toilet system. I did a few overnight trains and this squatting is all they have in trains. Even as a village girl it was a struggle for me navigating this system, particularly in a moving train. Just make sure you do no drink too much liquids and pray you do not get Diarrhoea during this train ride.
4. The Pollution–Some Beijing streets were so polluted they looked grey. You will often see people wearing masks to protect themselves from the pollution. I just never got around to buying myself a mask. I thought I am a tough African Cookie. besides, I didn’t think pollution would kill me just after 3 weeks of staying in china. It did however get so bad sometimes that you could not see buildings at the end of the street. Still, I had seen worse pollution in the streets of my South African townships, Soweto and Alexandra especially in the winter evening where people put on the coal stoves
5. Unhygienic Tendencies. – I Know in my previous post http://www.afreakandreamtravel.com/?p=137on things i loved about china I said China had very clean cities. BUT things are different when you get to restaurants. Most Chinese restaurant people have no sense of hygiene, and it seems like unlike most countries, the government does not monitor or control much of the Food courts or restaurant space. In most of these places you just have to pray every time that you don’t get sick from the food. Good thing is that they always serve their food piping hot, so you know whatever bacteria has been attacked. Just avoid cold foods if you are uncertain about cleanliness at a place.
6. Changing Flight Itineraries- China has some of the busiest airports in the world. When travelling within China the biggest airline is China Airlines, with hundreds of flights taking off every few minutes. With that in mind, there is a definite air traffic congestion. Coupled with Air pollution, a lot of the times flights are often delayed or cancelled completely. Bear in mind when you are booking your itinerary that you need to be flexible in the event that this happens. Dont boggle yourself to schedules that are too tight because you will be frustrated, especially if you have connecting flights or set itinerary. When this happens, take a chill pill and relax. expect delays of anything between 2 to 4 hours before they eventually tell you flight has been cancelled. Enjoy flying. Or Just Take a speed train. very reliable, although sometimes a bit more expensive than flight specials in comparison. It is worth your peace of mind.