I’m running away from China and going here:
I really need to escape China. Badly. And I think anyone that’s lived here longer than a year can 100% agree with me.
Beaches. Rice Terraces. No masses of people. No spitting. No people shoving me every corner I turn. Sunshine. Clean air. Clean water. Food without fake meat (aka no fox meat substituted for beef).
Oh yes. Please.
Getting Out of China First
As I type this I’m in the Hangzhou airport. Since it’s National Holiday Here （国庆节） I decided to take the safe route and come early. During National Holiday, the roads are usually plugged up with traffic and the wait to purchase a train ticket can take a few hours. Although my flight leaves for Bali at 11:00 PM, I decided to get my ass out of Shanghai at 2:30 PM and come to the Hangzhou airport early.
National Holiday is a week long holiday in China, and it’s pretty much the equivalent of Golden Week in Japan. Traffic is insane. Airline and train ticket prices triple–in some cases, quadruple. Traveling domestically is just out of the question. When 1 billion people all get on tour buses to go to the Great Wall, you can’t even tell the Great Wall is a wall anymore–it’s just a giant blob of people. Tian’anmen square is the same. The forbidden city. The night view from Shanghai’s oriental tower. The Terracotta Warriors. All these sites turn into Chinese armies of littering, screaming, yelling, shitting (yes, shitting) and shoving war battalions. And trust me, they’re not afraid to shove you right off the Great Wall and have you plunge to your death–they will do it to get ahead of you in line.
Although I’m leaving the country (hopefully Bali isn’t plagued with Chinese people), I still had to go from Shanghai to Hangzhou in order to escape China.
And good lord. Even that was horrible.
I got shoved on the train 23 times. I counted.
Mary had another explosive moment when getting her train ticket at the Shanghai station. My friend helped me purchase a train ticket online, so all I had to do was show my ID and confirmation number to the clerk and and pick up my ticket. Luckily for me, the line for online purchased tickets was far shorter than the day-of-purchases, and after a mere ten minutes I was able to reach the front of the life. However, when it was my turn to talk to the attendant, a Chinese man pushed me aside and cut in front of me.
In America, I probably would have said: “sir, I’m next in line. Could you please wait your turn？”
Chinese Mary, instead, screamed the following:
“I’M WAITING IN LINE OR DO YOU NOT SEE ME?! MOVE!!”
and I pushed his fatass out of the way.
And I wish someone could answer this question for me, but I don’t know why Chinese people have to board a train like they’re running away from an oncoming flood. As soon as the gates open up to board the train, everybody crowds around the gate, pushing and shoving, in a frantic craze to get rush past the boarding gate as soon as possible. It’s almost as if the zombie apocoloypse is coming and unless you get on that train, you’re going to be eaten alive by the undead.
I almost wish we were fleeing a horde of hungry zombies, at least that would excuse all the excessive pushing and shoving.
I haven’t been on a trip alone in a long time. When I lived in Japan, I traveled around China and Vietnam alone and had the time of my life. It was exhilirating. Being in a foreign place, meeting new people, trying to communicate in a language I didn’t know (at the time my Chinese was terrible). Although I was alone and I had those moments of loneliness, it was refreshing to reflect on a new environment and really learn about myself.
It’s a bit personal, but I just went through a breakup. I dated a Chinese man for two years and we had a beautiful relationship. But for a variety of reasons, the relationship ended (although not bitterly), and now we have gone our separate ways. I was supposed to go to Bali with my ex-boyfriend, but here I am with a backpack slung on one shoulder and a luggage in tow with my other hand, strutting into the airport alone with both fear and excitement in my heart.
I think we all get lost abroad. No matter where we are, whether that be China, Japan, Europe, India; it doesn’t matter the place, but being in a foreign country is taxing on you. Even if the foreign country becomes your new ‘home’ (i.e. China doesn’t feel so strange to me anymore; seeing people spit in the street or eating in a dillapidated noodle shop are normal to me now), you still feel exhausted from the everyday drudge and putting up with minor cultural differences that gradually build up and blow up in your face.
So whether you’re living abroad or not, I think we all need a vacation. Maybe some people think my life in Shanghai is just a permanent vacation, but that is so far from the truth. Life in Shanghai is crazy stressful, and unless I escape this city once a year I think I’m going to club a 富二代’s beemer.
I’ll admit it. I’m nervous and scared to travel alone. I’m unsure I’ll meet people over there on that island. I’m afraid people will look at me with that look of pity in their eyes thinking, “that poor solo traveler, she must be so lonely.”
But I want to stand proud and walk forward. I’m going to meet people, enjoy the sights of Bali, and most of all figure out more about who I am (while taking a very much needed break from China).
So I’m off to Bali. And who knows, maybe I’ll bring back more stories regarding China and Japan in the process.