Monday, 17 February 2014

Welcome to China

Some time ago I saw a list of 20 things which change in you after living in China. So true. Drinking hot water, spitting all over and being tolerant for any kind of weird noises made for example during a meal by Chinese people is no longer weird at all.
4718 m above sea level pass
But anyways - China. Exactly 5,5 months spent in my dream country. 2,5 travelling, rest teaching English (duh! what else white European can do over there :>). I absolutely adore this country, which I probably mentioned in previous post. From the very first moment after crossing Vietnam-China border I was overwhelmed. Maybe not as much as later on, when I was more and more sinking into the world of China. But the positive attitude from the beginning stayed till the end with almost no interruptions. Probably only one or two breakdowns and panic "how can I survive in this place?", but in general I was extraordinarily calm when it came to facing problems.

I hitch-hiked some 5000 km over there, all alone and what should I say? I'm fucking proud of myself. I did it, I survivedthe place I definitely need to visit again.
Hardcore pass through mountainous Sichuan ended in Chengdu - the capital of the province. From there, hitching around 400 km a day, I reached Xi'an with Terracotta Warriors and had a chance to use my fake student card, which I bought in Bangkok, for the first time - it worked all right.
tibetan praying place
yak on my hitch-hiking route
While visiting Yichang - the place of the biggest dam in the world (Three Gorges Dam), I got the humble idea of applying for some teaching positions as I've already found out how easy it was to get a job. On the way to Guilin - one of the top 10 places in China - I dropped by to the house where Mao Zedong was born, and surprisingly I was the only waiguoren (foreigner) over there...
In Guilin I stayed 15 days, 1. because I had to wait some time for my visa extension, 2. I got involved in volunteering as English teacher with quite nice conditions and great environment and nature around. In the mean time, as I expected, I got offered a few teaching positions and after choosing one, went to Beijing to see the agent who organized the school for me. From there I was sent to Harbin, which was like a present for me: I wouldn't be able to visit it on my own due to lack of time, which I would have regretted a lot. Unit 731, which interested me for the last 4 years was/is located in Harbin. Coincidence (fate?) that from all the cities in China I was sent to deal with new visa right in the place I really wanted to visit?
From Harbin I hit the train for a deadly 40 h travel on hard seat with 7 h break in the city with the biggest statue of Mao. How could I miss that! I reached my final destination - Fuqing (pronounced Fuching) near Fuzhou, where I stayed for 4 month, teaching in public Middle School. The best job I've ever had in my life! 3 h a day, 4 days a week, all public holidays off and paid and being the only foreign teacher in the school for 3000 students. The city, or rather town for Chinese standards (only 0,5 mln people) was... very Chinese and not Mandarinian Chinese, which complicated everything quite much. But after fist week of apathy and wishing to run away, I started finding small details which made my stay over there actually damn good time. I loved my students and the other teachers. I loved most of the Chinese anyways :) The best people ever! 
last day and dozens of signatures
miss teacher

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