We all have those holidays, trips or adventures which stay with us for a long time. That’s the beauty of travelling- the memories last forever and it’s wonderful to be able to flick through an old photo album, CD, or Facebook profile and reminisce over the special times you shared. Here at Space In Your Case we know just how lovely it is to take a trip down memory lane, so if you have a weekend away, holiday or adventure you want to relive then get in touch with us.
It Was October 2010 when my husband and I landed in Shanghai. Though the main purpose of our trip was to attend the wedding of our friend James, we did plenty of sight-seeing in Shanghai and also took the opportunity to make a three-day trip to Beijing (without our friend to hold our hand!) before flying back to the UK.
Our trip to China is one I will never forget. We spent those 10 days in a state of constant amazement, our mind boggling at:
- Taxi-drivers are educated at the school of Batman. Other cars, cyclists (who appear even on motorways) and mopeds (frequently carrying 3-4 people, the dog, the baby and the daily shop) are but mere specks on the horizon and shall not deter the taxi-driver from his quest for speeeeeeeeeeeeed. Overtaking on both sides is perfectly acceptable and why on earth would your passengers need seatbelts?
- Skywards is good. Stubby little buildings just don’t have what it takes. Shiny new skyscrapers are springing up like mushrooms and creating skylines that put anything I ever saw in Tokyo or New York to shame.
- Chinese weddings are quite mad, and possibly bigger and fatter than Greek weddings. They involve, in no particular order, ‘bribes’ for the bride’s family, deafening firecrackers, copious amounts of tea, a motorcade of BMWs, a bonfire or two outside the groom’s house, a lot of food and many, many guests. It takes a whole day and is very confusing but highly entertaining for two non-Chinese speaking guests.
- There is no rest for the wicked. Nor for the jet-lagged or disoriented. I am eternally grateful to our friend James for all his patience in showing us around Shanghai, even though all I wanted to do was sleep for the first three days. Thank you for making sure I didn’t miss out on the Yu Garden, the 2010 Expo, or the Bund by night.
- The Chinese are numerous. Though I anticipate much forehead slapping and ‘Duuh!’s, I’m still going to say it as nothing can prepare you for sharing a 3.28 km² Expo site with 300,000 people, of whom about 100 seemed to be non-Chinese. There really are a lot of Chinese people, and they were all on holiday at the same time as us (and yet the transport system coped… *waggles eyebrows at the British train people*).
- Food in Shanghai is truly amazing. It tastes fantastic and looks a picture. My favourites by far were the dumplings from Yang’s – little meat and soup-filled pockets of goodness, fried and crispy at the bottom and soft and steamed at the top. Bootiful.
- The sky in Beijing is not blue, it’s yellowy-browny-grey. I’m really not sure whether we were there during a particularly foggy spell (as the Chinese claimed), but for 3 days we could see no further ahead than 300ish metres. The haze even got into buildings and from about 4pm I was able to take pictures of the sun because the light was so diffused. It felt like being in a giant oven all day – you could feel the heat of the sun around you but not actually on you. Very, very odd.
- Visiting Tiananmen Square was a profoundly sad experience. It’s huge and built in a very austere communist style, with wide, straight avenues in every direction. It was abundantly clear that protesters would have had nowhere to hide. The fact that hundreds of Chinese tourists were milling around and having snapshots taken in front of an enormous screen showing the annual military parade made it all even more poignant. I am grateful that I visited this site, but it is not an experience I want to repeat.
- What on earth is ‘personal space’? When standing in a queue, 10-30 cm in front of me equals breathing space and an attempt not to squash the person ahead. To a Chinese person, however, it seems to mean that I am not in the queue.
- Passing out on the Beijing underground during the morning rush hour is not a great idea. Unless you are trying to snaffle a seat, in which case it is extremely effective.
Thanks Eline, do find her @Pasta_Patchwork on Twitter if you have any questions about her trip!