Skipping The Queue = One Angry Irish Girl

Queue’s in China are a rarity. To get on a bus, there is usually LOTS of pushing and shoving… especially the older people; it feels like because they are older, they have the right to push and get on the bus first. So when you see a queue in China… it is RARE.

So anyway, myself and my boyfriend were after picking up some pasta from Walmart. We were queueing behind a lady with a few things to pay and everything was going fine.. until…… a Tibetan man with his son started to walk in front of us… then he stopped. I was thinking ‘Well maybe he is with this lady…. but usually Tibetan people and Han people don’t usually marry each other’. So then I got suspicious.

I then asked the man in Chinese ‘Are you two together?’ And he sort of shrugged. And he was a scary looking man by the way. By this stage I was getting angry. I started giving out to my boyfriend and he said ‘Just leave it Aisling it’s ok’.

But then… he started SKIPPING THE OTHER WOMEN IN FRONT!!!  The lady said no to him and then thats when my anger took over. Now I’m usually not like this, I don’t like confrontation at all and I can’t watch people fighting on Youtube or anything… so this shows how angry I got.

So after seeing him pushing in front of the other lady, I said ‘F**k this!’ and I pushed my way past him and his son, squished myself between the man and the lady in front, threw my pasta on the counter and I turned around to him and (tried) to say ‘We were here first!!’.

He was pushing right behind me but I didn’t budge. I was actually afraid in case he would try and pick-pocket me or something.

My god I was so angry… but I was shaking as hell. This really isn’t me. I just got so annoyed. What right does he have to skip people???? Was it because he was Tibetan??? Was it because we were foreigners????

He had no right to do that… Queue and wait like other people. Thats it.

Then he started saying in Chinese ‘Go, Go’ for us to move to pay. Who the hell does he think he is????

But you know what the worst thing was……. no one even bothered to help us. Not the lady in front, not the cashier lady… not the couple that were behind us. No one.

No one said a word. I looked at the couple behind me and they just stood there and kind of glanced away. The lady in front didn’t even look, she was just trying to focus on getting her stuff and go.

Like if I was those people and I saw someone not from my own country who was in trouble… I would help; you’d like to think they would actually have a good experience in your own country….

Bu this phenomenon is seen all throughout China. Yeah Chinese people say they are united and whatever, but then when someone is in trouble no one intervenes.. no one helps. Look it up; there are countless stories of people in accidents and they are lying on the ground and people are just walking past or looking.

In Ireland, people intervene, people would get involved and help sort it out. Not here. If something happens you, don’t expect any help.

If he did start doing something else I think I would have shouted more, try and get the attention of at least someone who might actually help us.

So we payed and quickly went to our e-bike to make our escape. . we were actually afraid in case he would come out after us.

This is the first time experiencing this sort of nonsense, so hopefully it won’t happen again. Although I am really surprised at myself…. I get nervous speaking Chinese to people…. so I really wouldn’t have thought I would have the guts.

But there you go… if you are angry enough you can.

再见

爱玲

 

 

Hiking The Four Sisters Mountain

Hiking The Four Sisters Mountain

A couple of weeks ago, me, my boyfriend a few other friends made the 5/6 hour journey to a beautiful area in Western Sichuan where the Four Sisters Mountain’s are located. Because two of our friends were leaving China and heading back home, we wanted to do a small trip before they left.

During the trip I realised that I am so unfit! Having walked up a mountain for 8 hours, by the time we got back to the hostel at 5pm, I was completely wrecked, but I was so happy with myself that I hiked for that long and for quite a distance.

I really enjoyed it, and it makes me want to visit more places for hiking. Maybe when I get back to Ireland? I know there are a lot of trails to walk around the island. Plus the scenery is beautiful there.

Here are a few pictures of our trip! The weather wasn’t the best unfortunately but I suppose it could have been worse!

再见

爱玲

Chengdu Vs Xiamen

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Chengdu

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Xiamen

Here are a few differences which I found between Chengdu and Xiamen. Because Chengdu is situated in the West of China, while Xiamen is in the East, it has a more Westernised feel to it.

People walk much faster in Xiamen. Chengdu is known as being a relaxed city… they actually walk too slow sometimes!

Because Chengdu has an army of street cleaners and sweepers, it’s really quite a clean city, whereas Xiamen is unfortunately much dirtier. It’s a shame; the weather is great and it’s such a touristy place, you would imagine they would keep it cleaner.

Xiamen is definitely more expensive. Rent is also ridiculously expensive… but also food and drink also costs more than Chengdu. Also, during the Summer, they increase the prices of things for tourists. We got charged more for bananas we bought at a stall because we were ‘tourists’.

I was really surprised to find out that there were not many foreigners in Xiamen. Instead it was bustling with Chinese tourists, mainly from Taiwan. I heard that many Westerners leave Xiamen during the summer, but to me it was strange not to see many. There are increasingly more Western people coming to Chengdu, so you are bound to see one now and again.

Because Chengdu is in the West, the people there are kind of sheltered from the influences of the Western culture. This means that they are still sort of surprised when they see a Western person. They would rather shout “HALLO” to you when they have actually passed you….instead of saying it directly to you. In Xiamen, they are definitely not afraid to try and speak English to you. They are braver.

I thought Chengdu had a lot of fruit.. but Xiamen definitely has more.. and it’s more delicious! The mangos are huge…. and they have a much nicer juicier taste. Also the bananas taste much better.

I think because many Chinese tourists visit Xiamen, both myself and my boyfriend have noticed that the Chinese people there look different to the people in Chengdu. In Chengdu, they have rounder faces (I think anyway), whereas in Xiamen, they have a different looking face. I’m not sure how to explain it, but a lot of women have more oval faces… they just look different to Chengdu people. I’m guessing it’s because there are a different mix of people in Xiamen.

Chengdu is overflowing with e-bikes, we also have one too…. because they are just so handy and cheap to get around with, and because the ground is flat, e-bikes are everywhere. In Xiamen, there are not as many. I think Xiamen has a different regulation with having an e-bike, so not as many people have them. From what I’ve seen, it’s usually just for people who have a business; so they can transport their goods easier.

I missed Sichuan food so much in Xiamen! And no Hot-Pot to be seen! For people who don’t know what Hot-Pot is, it’s a large pot with simmering oil and spices. You put different food into it to cook it in the spicy oil; like  sliced potatoes, boiled eggs, meat. It’s great to eat during the Winter. In Xiamen, there was no Hot-Pot restaurant to be seen. That is one thing that I will miss if I move to Xiamen.

Coming from Sichuan, where most of the food is spicy…to eating sweet food from Xiamen is quite strange! They prefer to eat food that is more sweet in taste. The food really reminded me of the Chinese food I would get from our Chinese take-away shop in Ireland. The taste is really similar. In Xiamen you could order ‘Sweet & Sour Pork’, whereas in Chengdu you would never see that on the menu. Also, the food in Xiamen is not as oily as in Sichuan. Sichuan food can be too oily sometimes.

One thing that really surprised me was that shops in Xiamen would play Western English music. It was so weird to hear! In Chengdu, you rarely hear English music… they always have Chinese music playing in the background. I’m not a huge fan of Chinese music… so it was nice to hear English music being played in shops.

There are too many people in Chengdu! Everywhere you walk there are people. Compared to Chengdu, Xiamen is so so quiet! You could walk in a park and not meet one person the entire time. It was great walking around the island.

No Tea-houses in Xiamen. We were walking in a park and I noticed ‘Huh… there are no tea-houses here’. In Chengdu, you could find 4/5 of them in one park; people sitting for hours drinking tea and chatting or playing Mahjong. In Xiamen however, this tradition simply doesn’t exit.

Those are some differences that I noticed between the two cities… If I remember any more I will add them.

Xiamen is a much more beautiful than Chengdu, but Chengdu has more charm I think. It is more traditional and has kept more of it’s old culture than Xiamen. Xiamen has become more Westernised. I love both places in different ways!

再见!

爱玲

My Xiamen Experience

My Xiamen Experience

Having arrived home from a great trip from Xiamen, Chengdu hasn’t exactly welcomed us back with lovely sunny weather…. smog and rain greeted us.

Having had our eye on Xiamen for a while, we wanted to take a visit to the city so we could experience the city and see whether we could move there in the future.

Leaving on Monday morning, we were constantly checking the weather forecast for the following few days… Monday looked ok, sunny with a few clouds… but from then on it didn’t look too good; Tuesday: Thunderstorms, Wednesday: Thunderstorms, Thursday: Thunderstorms…. and so on.

I of course was a little angered over this, I didn’t want to be cooped up in our hostel for the whole 6 days while we were there!

So, the weather didn’t look too promising.

When we arrived on Monday morning, we had the whole day to explore the city, knowing that this was the only good day we were going to have.

We decided to visit Gulangyu Island. A very touristy island that is a must see for anyone visiting. So we got the bus and headed to the ferry to take us. We got in the line and my boyfriend said “I hope we don’t need any ID”.

It didn’t even occur to me to bring any, but then as I looked around, all the Chinese people surrounding us had theirs. I had my passport picture in my phone, that should be ok I thought.

No, it wasn’t ok. The lady wouldn’t give us any tickets until we could present an actual tangible ID card. My boyfriend fortunately had his Mexican ID, but me…nothing.

Obviously I got very upset about this…. I don’t want to waste the only good day we had having to travel back and forth from our hostel and loosing half the day. But seeing that it was only 1pm, we decided to head back to our hostel and get our passports.

So… we end up back at the ferry and thankfully got our tickets, joined the other Chinese and boarded the ferry to the island. It used to cost 8元,however now it is 35元 or 50元! Apparently they increased the price so as to ‘deter people from coming to the island and ruining it’…. MMmm with the way the ferry was jam-packed with people, I don’t think that it’s working too well!

Gulyangyu Island is very pretty, old and I really like the old buildings that are there. There are a lot of cute wee shops in the small alleyways on the island.

By 4:30pm, I was just wrecked: having slept only 4 hours the night before and sight-seeing straight from being off the plane… plus the unbearable sun and heat… I was tired. Having to wait until 7:00pm to leave the island, we took it easy for the rest of the afternoon…. and by 9:30pm we were asleep in our hostel!

On Tuesday, we woke up by… GOOD WEATHER!!  The sun was beaming down and the sky was blue… we might get 2 good days I thought!

We decided to venture to Nanputuo Temple first. Of course it was mad busy with people, but the area is beautiful. To me, after seeing countless Temples in China, they all look the same… but it was nice none the less. We found a trail which led up a small mountain behind the temple and found a lovely viewing point!

 

To the left of the below picture is the scenic Xiamen University, it is free to enter, but of course we needed to show our ID’s, which luckily this time we brought!

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In the line to enter the Uni, umbrellas were needed!

Ever since I came to China, I’ve always complained about the girls using umbrellas during the summer. They don’t want their skin to get darker, so they always bring an umbrella when it’s sunny.

Unfortunately in Xiamen I became one of those girls. It was definitely not to keep my skin this pasty ghostly white colour; the sun was that strong I had to use it so I wouldn’t get baked. I feel in Xiamen the use of umbrellas is necessary for the sun, whereas in Chengdu.. it’s more of ‘Oh my God I see the sun, I don’t my skin to get .5% darker!!!’ So, it still pisses me off seeing umbrellas in Chengdu… It’s never even sunny!

The Uni itself is very beautiful, a lovely lake in the middle, palm trees, the buildings themselves. It’s like a park. The Uni is very close to the beach so you can wander around it and then head to the beach for a while.  Also, in their shop, they had an open fridge with all sorts of fruit inside it; apples, oranges, watermelon, mango…. all cut into slices. Beside the fridge they had loads of round containers to put the fruit into… You pick what fruit you would like and then pay..then you can enjoy the cold, fresh fruit. It was the first time I saw this but then I realised you can do this all over Xiamen. Such a good idea!

Wednesday came… good weather once again! I thought ‘yeah that weather app was totally wrong’. At this stage though, the heat and sun were getting to me… and by 4pm I had to have a lie down because of the tiredness.

On Thursday we decided to visit a Mandarin school to find out more information about their classes. At least there is a good school for us to learn from if we do decide to move!

We also walked around some parks and around the main road at night. Called Zhongshan Road, it used to be a busy road for cars, but a few years ago they blocked it off and now it is only for pedestrians. During the day it is deserted, with it only becoming alive once the sun goes down. Because Xiamen is a very touristy place, the road was full of Chinese tourists.

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中山路 Zhongshan Road. 

Below is a place called Hulishan Fortress. An old fortress build in the 1890’s. A nice little stroll about!

The last day we decided to go have lunch in a place called Grandmas Home. We initially went here in Hangzhou, so we were pleasently surprised that there was a chain in Xiamen too! It is cheap and delicious, but you need to wait a while sometimes to be seated. Thankfully we only had to wait 5 minutes until they were showing us to our table. In Hangzhou we had to wait 1 hour!

 

If you ever see a Grandmas Home, it’s def worth it to have a try!

Xiamen is a gorgeous place, very very different to Chengdu. I loved the place, except the weather (too hot) and of course the seafood. I don’t like fish or seafood, and this is like their staple food… I really missed Sichuan food!

So we will have to have a long think and weigh up the pros and cons about moving….

再见

爱玲