Cultural Differences

20th AUGUST

Today we tried our hand at Chinese handcraft before heading to the train station in an attempt to book trains from Beijing to Xi’an and Xi’an to Shanghai. We didn’t have any luck and I nearly caused a riot by not letting a tramp push in front of me…cultural differences.

Dined in an amazing hot pot place (tho this time we didn’t need bucket loads of rice to quench over-heated mouths) before getting very frustrated at the Wang Ba (internet caf) because the computers we were on didn’t work and they refused to give us a refund. Now I think about it I don’t even think there is a word for ‘refund’ in Chinese. The last straw of annoyance was from the 1960s washing machine which had failed to wash my clothes, leaving me to scrub them in the sink with shower gel at 3.30am!

The Hot Pot place where things are steamy hot, rather than spicy hot...aaah!
The Hot Pot place where things are steamy hot, rather than spicy hot…aaah!

My annoyance was somewhat reduced by the discovery of some hilarious Chinglish in the accommodation handbook:
– The other people is forbidden to live in your room
– When there is fire, do not to use lift or jump off building
– Do not play loudly

 

23 AUGUST

The time had come to say farewell to Harbin, which had been our home for the last month. Many an adventure had been had, with many a story to tell. But now it was time for more adventures, if we could just get to the train station first.

Due to pretty much the entire road network of Harbin being gridlocked, the logical solution of the taxi driver was to drive on the pavement and swear in Chinese, at least we think he was swearing – it’s sometimes hard to tell, making us feel like we’d just been dropped into some weird Jackie Chan movie.

The Jackie Chan Taxi Ride Adventure!
The Jackie Chan Taxi Ride Adventure!

After an intense barging session to get to our platform we were finally on the train- bring on the 13 hour journey to Beijing, which wasn’t all that bad and I had a little kid who adopted me as his jiejie (older sister) for the entire journey.

Arriving back in Beijing with a better grasping of Chinese and staying in the same place we had before meant finding our hostel was surprisingly easy!
The only problem was the hostel did not have enough dorm rooms for us as some of us had booked the wrong nights, so had to settle with twins and doubles- which were in fact single beds passed off as doubles! Those of us with ‘double’ beds decided it would be much more fun to explore Beijing by night.

Author: ellecoco

A buckaneering chocolatier, fuelled by chocolate, powered by adventure...

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