I’ve just returned from a short holiday, which I was able to take due to the Mid-Autumn Festival (I’m telling you, working for an international school is great when it comes to getting time off-you get days off to celebrate both Chinese AND Western holidays!).
This trip was different to others because, unlike majority of my expat colleagues, who as usual traveled to the nearby exotic locations like Cambodia or Lombok (shamefully I hadn’t heard of that place until someone mentioned they were going there. Have you heard/been there?) and I can’t blame them for it, I decided to use my eagerly-awaited days without waking up at 6.20am to explore more of my new home-China. And why not?
Extremely long traffic jams, I hear you say. Unbearable crowds, you say. Typhoons attacking the east AND south coast, you say. You’re right. It’s a super crazy idea to travel in China during the national holidays. Everyone in their right mind avoids it like the plague. It wasn’t even my husband’s doing so I can’t blame him. It was my decision entirely.
Why would I do this to myself, you’re thinking (admittedly, we did ask ourselves this question when we got stuck in a ridiculously long traffic jam for 10 HOURS!!). I’d like to write that it was my utter desire to discover this ancient and diverse country, but that would only be part of the truth and a small one at that. To be honest, travel during the Chinese holidays is really expensive; it’s like Christmas or Half-Term in UK. It was simply too pricey for us to go abroad. Or so it seemed at the time. In hindsight, this ‘local’ trip probably cost us more than a week in any South-East Asian country.
I don’t regret going at all though. Yes, it was bloody expensive (even the infamous HomeInn‘s nightly price was tripled in comparison to its normal rates!), it was unbelievably crowded, the traffic was horrendous and it was impossible to buy train tickets. Having said that, we managed to have a lovely time.
I would have never been able to take such trip without a Chinese speaker by my side. It just wouldn’t happen. The complexity of purchasing tickets, finding out the correct departure aisle, directing the taxi drivers in the right direction, all those things done so automatically and easily back at home, become, perhaps not impossible, but pretty hard (and for me-extremely hard, bordering on undoable).
We traveled to a few places and describing them all in one post would make the text ridiculously long so I decided to split it and devote a separate post to each town. I think it’s fair seeing as they were all popular tourist destination as some of you may want to find out more about them.
If you wish to ask me some questions about organizing such a trip, websites used, etc. I’ll be happy to answer (of course I’d need to check with my OH first as he planned most of it-a Chinese planning a Chinese trip, makes sense, right?).
Check out my next posts to find out more about east China.x