A macroeconomics class, a study abroad brochure, and an akward phone call all somehow led up to buying a one-way ticket to Beijing. See how with the Sinology Institute's new blog.
If you live in China, you know Wechat is your most essential phone application. Everyone that meet in China will have wechat and it is the best way to get together with your friends, keep in touch with your friends back home, communicate with colleagues, and post pictures and links on your Wechat moments. Even the Chinese Communist Party has a wechat account!
Holidays in China used to be a tricky business as (as a western foreigner) you would suddenly find yourself with an empty fridge at home but with all the stores closed for a whole week on three occasions a year: Spring Festival, May Holiday, National Day. This scenario was quite common about ten years ago. Things have changed, however, as due to the increase in bilateral trade Chinese holidays had to get more in tune with the rest of the world.
Taking a train in China is always great fun. You meet all kinds of people, get to eat 方便面instant noodles without feeling bad about it and see a lot of the country. In my personal opinion, it is superior to any other kind of longer distance travel: planes are so impersonal and you don’t get to see much, coaches are very crowded and lack toilets, cars are like coaches with even more confined space.
Beijing features two pre-dominant foreigner markets; they are so called because they are mostly frequented by foreigners hunting for that almost perfect copy of a Gucci bag. This is not to say that Chinese do not go there, too – and I mean not as translators or haggling assistants to their foreign bosses. But, funnily enough, Chinese prefer the real thing if they can afford it so, actually, it is mostly the 老外.