Ni Hao and greetings from China!
The Grieps have made it safe and sound. 🙂
Now, even as an expat, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for this trip, and the culture shock I’ve experienced thus far.
Although I live in Thailand and spent my holidays in Japan, which is geographically close, I’ve quickly realized the culture here is miles apart.
Where in Japan, everyone is well-mannered and respectful of space, in China, walking the streets feels like I’m in the midst of a mosh pit, trying not to get trampled. Hah! People are throwing elbows left and right, just to get around you. 😛
Where in Japan, the streets are immaculate and cleanliness is of utmost importance, in China, I’m literally in shock at how many pedestrians hawk loogies right on the sidewalk. Yuck!
How I feel right now:
I honestly wonder, how do they even have that much phlegm? 😕
We’ve even decided to make a fun game of it, scoring people from 1-10 on gross-out factor and spitting technique. 😛
In the lead so far is the man who unexpectedly and forcefully farmer blew right behind us in the subway. So wrong!
Now, I haven’t seen anyone defecate in public yet, but hey, there’s still time. 😉
Side note: I have to retract that statement as it was written earlier this morning, and by mid-afternoon we had seen a girl taking a poo outside the Summer Palace. 😮
Let’s pan over to Mom’s look of horror. XD
Anyway, despite the initial culture shock, the food has been fantastic, the historical sites jaw-dropping, and everyone here has been so friendly, trying to help us have the best vacation yet. 😀
Mom mastering the chopsticks 🙂
We must appear friendly too, since everybody wants to take a picture WITH us! Blonde Wisconsinites must be pretty rare in this neck of the woods. 😛
Now let’s get to the biggest challenge, which has been accessing internet in China, to upload photos and post blogs during this trip.
The Great Firewall of China
You see, China blocks many internet sites for censorship, so prior to leaving Thailand, I downloaded a VPN to my phone. This changes my location from China to Los Angeles, so I can access all websites just fine. 🙂
My laptop is another story, since it was brought over without the VPN, and I’ve learned that it’s impossible to download the VPN from inside China.
After many hours spent chatting with ExpressVPN customer service, it was determined I would not be able to download the VPN and access sites on my laptop. The Great Firewall of China has blocked them all. 😥
Although I can access ESLVentures on my mobile, posting one blog via phone takes FOREVER, and I’d rather enjoy my trip now, and post a full report when I return to Bangkok. 😀
Until then, just know that we’re having a fantastic time, and even though the Great Firewall of China has blocked us, it hasn’t stopped us from conquering the actual Great Wall of China, the most important of all. 😀
I mean, just check out this picture Mom took of me riding a toboggan down the Great Wall of China. So cool!
Anyway, I’ll be keeping detailed notes and taking lots of pictures throughout the rest of the trip. Can’t wait to share all these stories with you in a few short weeks. Take care and enjoy your week. 😀