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Reisverslag Beijing & Hong Kong
21 december 2014
Beijing & Hong Kong
For a visa request from Taiwan it was already too late, so we had to begin our trip in Hong Kong to apply for one there.
I just saw that stop as a way to get to Beijing, but Hong Kong was actually really nice itself.
The kind of a rough start when our cab driver couldn't find our hotel turned pretty awesome quickly when we found out that he could only speak a little Chinese, but enough for us to be able to instruct him to call our hotel and work our way from there. It was the first and still only time that I really wasn't sure if things would've worked out had I not known Chinese. With basic Mandarin and him some times accidentally switching to Cantonese, Nina and me eventually found our beds.
We definitely got the most out of our 'wait' in Hong Kong with a Disney Land visit (yes, I hugged Winnie the Poo), a cable car trip to the Big Buddha and many other sights seen and clothes bought. Of course all (alright, most...) in preparation for Beijing's frightening just above or below zero degrees.
Visa in Hong Kong took more time than we'd expected, but then again changing the flight date was somehow free of charge and the hotel owners in Hong Kong and Beijing respectively postponed and delayed our depart/arrival without any trouble.
Finally arriving on Beijing International Airport it turned out that we did not have access to the wifi there without a Chinese phone number to complete registration. Having not prepared our hotel's address in advance we had to rely on a hungry tourist hunter to find out where we needed to go. The up side to all this was that I could repeatedly use last chapter's new vocabulary (N.B. for Leiden students: yep I know, we already also learned this verb in our second year :P) 以為, Yǐwéi (meaning 'expecting something that later turns out not to be the case', 'something' in this scenario being wifi accessibility) to explain to everyone why the hell we didn't know what our hotel's address was.
In the end the same man that indirectly helped us find the address lured us into a way too expensive taxi that wasn't really a taxi serving as our way too wealthy chauffeur who luckily díd know how to get us to our Happy Dragon Courtyard Hotel. After all he even gave us a not too horribly high price when I said that I did realise he was too expensive (only too late) and if it really was gonna cost us 500 RMB. "Hm, you are students" , he said, "300 it is then", thus slightly restoring my faith in humanity.
I am really not gonna be the dumb overwhelmed sheepy tourist again though. At the airport Nina had already noted that we maybe better look for other options first. Anyways, that day I learned...
The hostel was both awesome and shocking at the same time; or actually these two impressions followed each other shortly. An extremely friendly and just at the right pace with the clearest most understandable accent speaking woman welcomed us, but upon entering the room we found out that it was not heated and almost as cold as the minus 4 outside. We turned on the airco and slept in sweaters.
The next morning, Tjerk sent us a priceless picture of three excessively sad faces in Beijing subway showing their disappointment at our lack of organisation to get up and start our first Beijing day early enough. Said photo is enclosed below :)
It was reaaally nice to see Esmée, Tessa, Hannah and Tjerk again after such a long time. We visited Tiananmen Square and we saw Beijing as bright and blue skied as our tour guides hardly ever saw themselves. We were really lucky with the smog only showing up on the last day, many a description of sight was accompanied with an "it usually is not visible from here."
Beida University dorms are like mansions to us Taiwanese students, so it was pretty comfy celebrating the traditional Dutch holiday Sinterklaas in Hannah's room together with more old and new Dutch friends. Davita even brought pepernoten.
Differences between Beijing and Taipei:
- Beijing spits on the streets and pushes you aside, Taipei queues and says thank you.
- A new subway line is an attraction in Taipei, Beijing hardly notices the new stations that pop up every week.
- Scooters in Beijing are silent electric ninjas, Taiwanese ones' noisy co2 emission warns you from afar.
However much I enjoyed Beijing for however short a time, it really was nice to hear the familiar convenient store jingles again and mostly just be back to the city that really feels like home now.
The China adventure is now already some weeks ago, and here in Taiwan I finished and started my first and second semester, my new class and teacher are nice. I have the morning lessons now, every day from 8 to 11. Sleeping is still in my 4 man dorm room, although that's sometimes hard with everyone's different schedule and student rhythm, but they try to allow for mine.
There is something really nice and cozy about roommates moving quietly when (they think) you are asleep. Billy installing his huge scarf as my private bed curtain for the night -to protect me from the most direct light and sound waves from whatever activities my roommates are still engaged in after 12 pm- is almost like my mother tucking me in. Speaking of witch (sorry), she's coming today!! And not only her, but also my dad, sister and two brothers. I'm gonna enjoy their visit so much, any amount of rain showing up in the weather forecast is not gonna be able to spoil that.
Will probably tell you about how I've shown them around Taiwan in my next update. I am now on my way to the airport to pick them (+ stroopwafels) up!
Foto's bij verslag (13)
21 december 2014 16:46 | Door: Tiemen
Wauw, zo vet! Nooit verwacht je met Winnie the Pooh te zien knuffelen Ben :D