China

Well, What about China. It was my first step on this journey. I haven’t be disappointed, and I strongly aim to go back there one day. My memories are a bit old (it was 5years ago) but i remember feeling lonely from time to time. Beijing is big big big, hot hot hot, and very polluted. I’ve shorten my stay there, looking for oxygen and green spaces, but still the city was very enjoyable. It’s a great place to meet other backpackers and plan some stuffs together. I guess what i’ve preferred there was the “Hutong” (old Chinese neighborhood), and of course the food (but don’t be surprised to receive something different from what you’ve ordered).

Other memories are endless train trips, and a massive Chinese’s crowd at each popular touristic destination (it is actually very impressive). Yes, the train journey were endless (>20h, sometimes more than 30h), alone and surrounded by dozens of Chinese faces staring at me, but it was most probably my best times in China. I mean, it was always the same, first a 30min to one hour observation round, with all the women smiling at me and the men more on the “doubtvious” side, looking firmly at me. But then was coming the best part, the sharing round, with loads of cigarettes, peanuts, banana, or strong local liquor offered to me. Well, it’s when you realize you don’t always need to exchange words with others to make them feel good or laugh. I really have appreciated those moments in the train because i haven’t been in really remote places in china, but beside of Beijing, I was most of the time the only foreigner around. Not that many Chinese spoke english, and they were “most of the time” avoiding direct interactions with me, but in the train they couldn’t escape. (In big cities, alike Beijing or Chengdu, and also in train stations, you’ll cross way with some students very happy to practice their english with you. It’ll be more difficult in smaller town.)

Well, not sure the previous paragraph sounded positive, but it’s part of the travel, and also what makes some moments very unique. Exchanging few smiles and laugh are sometimes more pleasant that to be taken in a 3hours chat where you try to stay polite but soon realized you’re speaking with a negative soul.

China was particular, and yes, lonely at times, but it never disappointed me. Beijing and the Great Wall have an heavy history and strong aura. Sichuan for its people, large green spaces and dramatic landscapes is a region where i could stay for months (it is where i also preferred the local cuisine). Yunnan, being close from Tibet has a very special vibe, and it is so much more to do in this gigantic country. It was “particular”, but better go and see it with your own eyes.

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