Being in China is an everyday adventure and also a challenge. It doesn’t allow you to take it easy at least if you don’t speak chinese. The biggest adventure is presented by the chinese lack of english skills or as we are in China my lack of chinese skills. When you order food, you never quite know what you will get. Although I have to say I have never received anything that was not edible in an restaurant. I bought something that I thought would be dried oranges and it ended beeing dried mandarin peal. After a taste I threw it away but that have been the only non edible thing. If you want to ask something don’t expect the person to be able to answer because they dont speak english. Or you might get an answer that is not correct or rather an guesstimate because they never seem to be able to say that they don’t know.
To buy traintickets or rather get your prebooked tickets (because I seriously don’t know if I would be able to communicate where and when I want to go) is also an adventure because you will not find instructions in english or not at least more then a sign pointing to the ticket office. There you have a lot of lines with people waiting. They seem to have different purposes but who knows. I just got in a line and hoped for best. The interesting part is that as a tourist you can get by with doing stupid things like that. And I got my tickets. Which I was pretty happy about yesterday morning when I arrived to my train station of departure. I figured out the waiting hall that the train left from but the train station was massive without any explanations in english.
Another interesting thing is the amount of people and the noise. There are people everywhere and for an introvert like me you start to dream after a while about going to a remote island without people. The metro in rushhour Beijing is full of people but because the trains are passing every 2-5 minutes it doesnt really matter. One time there was little ladies pointing to you how to queue and to get closer to the doors when the train started approaching. Or at least that what I thought she was doing. The metro is an easy and cheap way to transport yourself in Beijing were the distances are much greater than it looks on the map. It cost between 3-8 yuan depending on the lenght of the trip. The noise level seems also to be a lot higher here. People or mostly old men sometimes really scream. People are talking in their phones with the other person on a speakerphone and they always seem to raise their voice in these conversations. The voice level seems to higher here in restaurants and cafées as well.
Everything demands much more energy than touristing in a country were you can be understood and understand the culture at least partly. My tactic will be to schedule maximum one tourist activity per day and to take at least two mental health days without much more activity than studying or reading books.
The last thing that is also an adventure is that I have lived the last 4 nights in a hostel. Me, who has gotten used to living in 3-4 star hotels and having an own room are now sharing a room with a lot of other persons. Back to that later.