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China: Long Journey I – We Begin in Peking

Published: 9.3.2013
Do you know this feeling when you just want to try something new, different, just set out for some adventure? After spending whole January in Beijing we missed China so much we found the cheapest flight tickets and we decided to spend summer again in China.

Beijing Jun 24, 4am. Already a strange smell in the air let you know you are back in  China. Large noisy crowds make you even happy because it means the vacation of your dreams begins

Far from an airport you are, the more attention as a foreigner you draw upon yourself. And even more if you have blond hair and you shock small group of people when you start speaking Chinese. After you explain them, for a hundredth time, you are students and you are going to spend the following two months travelling across China you realize you are really going to do that. You also realize things work differently in this country. You hurry to buy train tickets right after you have little rest. You can’t let anything on chance because it would be only foolish to think we can buy tickets a day before departure.

lehátka ve vlaku

Then you get a true reward – food. Chinese food is worth of an article for itself, and I am not even sure one would be enough.

We won’t stick long by Beijing’s cuisine. Few days later we will taste some meals of the Mongolian, Tibet, Szechuan cuisine... If one thing is certain about our stay in China – we won’t loose weight. That’s for sure. Not even if I count the fact we will spend large part of our vacation in trains eating instant 0,75 cents noodles. This time will come soon. This time we have no time for long walks in Beijing, perhaps shortly before our departure. Now we are moving of to the train station in western Beijing. According to a train schedule our next destination in China will be the former capital of Liao and northern Wei dynasties, Ta-tchung and from there we will continue to the capital of Inner Mongolia, Hohhotu.

polévka chun-tchunsečuanské papričky nápis - ochladilo se, jezte psí maso

There is about a zillion meters long queue of fellow-travelers. You can hear „lao-waj, lao-waj!” from everywhere. Well, what we can do, Chinese just need to say everyone that foreigners will travel in the train. With noodles in our hands, backpacks on our backs we try to reach the top “floor” in our couchette railway carriage. When we finally settle there we watch events below us. Middle-aged Chinese women sit down on the lowest beds and start talking. Almost everyone has in that time his/her noodles swimming in hot water and is sipping them. Who hasn’t his/her attention focused on noodles is eating sunflower seeds and children are eating chicken talons. Uneaten parts are being thrown on the floor.

We are back in China...

supermarket

Text/photo: Hana Bašová



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Published: 1.2.2014
Bozhou said good bye in style. We went to temple Mu-lan cch'. It is a temple dedicated to the memory of famous Chinese heroin, Mulan. Perhaps some of you have heard her name in the Ballad of Mulan. Until the present, Mulan is an example of traditional Chinese son/daughter devotion (siao in Chinese).

China: Kaifeng: Nontouristic Experiences
Published: 8.2.2014
We loved Kaifeng from the very beginning. Well, not actually, no. Because I was snorted over the fact that they even hadn’t swept up the room when the previous guests left.

China: From Kaifeng to Heze
Published: 15.2.2014
Another day spent in Kaifeng was very spirituality. At first, we visited five mosques, because in Kaifeng there is a large community of Chinese Muslims. We were surprised also neglected half-ruined church, where making of wedding photography took place. We finished the entire circuit in a Buddhist temple.

China: Heze
Published: 1.3.2014
Although, I was about to tell you how we lost accommodation in Heze, I should mention our train trip as well. We sat in a slightly crowded carriage and talked in Czech, which of course attracted the attention of our fellow travelers. In contrast, a bunch of us sat constantly laughing gentlemen who were watching us a lot, and finally dared to ask where it actually are.

China: Qufu – Confuciu’s City
Published: 8.3.2014
While browsing in the diary, I found this note: "Qufu, arrival around 00:00." I remember that moment too well. It was quite cold, pitch black, and right at the exit of the station greedy taxi drivers came to us. Matter of principle had to be rejected. Then, however, had no choice but to hope that they were wrong and that you can get accommodation in and around the station ...

China: Zoucheng: Just a Little Bit and the Circle Will be Complete
Published: 15.3.2014
Previous day in Chu-fu, sadly, in comparison to places that we've visited was not that interesting. Maybe if around the tomb of the great Confucius did not stand crowds of Chinese eager to make photos and if for passing the cemetery of the Kchung family was not required admission 40 yuans, the overall impression would be a little bit better.

China: How It All Began – When It Is Ridiculously Hot in China
Published: 21.6.2014
Who was in summer in China, knows what I am talking about. Once you get off an airconditined airport, its like by a switch somebody turns on sauna. At least I felt like this when I arrived to Chengdu.


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