Thursday, 10 July 2014

24 days later.

17/6/2014. Left Shanghai for a second time. Completing a great second stint in China.

11/7/2014/  China is a happy memory. England is bathed in glorious sunshine. There are no apartment blocks or skyscrapers in view. Supermarkets have all this food that was sought after only a few weeks ago, fresh water on tap and hills that are accessible and climbable in your morning run.  The family are healthy and have had the first BBQ of the summer. Life is good.

Winchester, I’ve come to find though, is a tourist destination. The place is so lovely and English that it almost feels like the Chinese have made it. Its not a grievance, I continually count my blessings that I can come back here rather than say Hull but the idealistic nature of this place makes it feel like the The Truman Show. 

The culture shock is far greater coming back. You notice little things like white people doing mundane jobs, people saying ‘Thank-you’ excessively in places,  overhearing conversations constantly that are slurred and full of colloquialisms a far-cry from the ‘beautiful’ language to which the Chinese paint it.

I'm continuing Chinese on at Glasgow University and will attempt now I'm a Masters student to write more academic pieces like the one I tried about 3 months. So as I have no plans atm to return to Shanghai in the very near future, its a goodbye to this blog, for now? 

However, as an after-thought on Shanghai and China in general I thought I’d write a blog on the 10 things of the top things for me that makes the city and the country so delectable, so intoxicating (not just the smog), but mainly, so livable. Perhaps for the purpose of people living there now to smile and think life isn't so bad or for future people to go and seek out the wonders of the place.

  1. Affordability. It goes without saying the ability to do things, to go anywhere, is about what is being young. Being able to afford the essentials like Accommodation, Food and Transportation without it breaking your budget, allows you to move, groove and really do anything that takes your fancy. This allows you to become hedonistic and worship yourself a bit more, you go out more often and massages, haircuts, shopping treat are instantaneous decisions.
Golf in a stadium, why not.

  1. Futuristic. Shanghai is contesting what modernity looks like. The city is at the forefront of transportation. Tackling pollution, climate change, over-crowded lanes, I feel the worlds future is being experimented on in China.
    New bus design, starting in China.
  1. Night scene. Shanghai had a reputation of being a sin city, where gangsters, prostitutes roamed the streets. Its not quite that culture yet, but the drinking outside, smoking indoors, over zealous spending in nightclubs, the surge in art and general lust for life from the youth, makes the night time an absolute playground.

  1. International scene. This will sound stupid but whether you are from Kazakhstan or Kuwait, Iran or Iceland, you are all a foreigner in China’s eyes. The Chinese race is so strong they see themselves as one race one civilization with a long line of history. So this makes all foreigners, outsiders, I feel we as a group of outsiders revel in it, people from different backgrounds and countries get on and are all ambassadors for their own countries.
International housemates. 

  1. Youth. Young people are flocking to China to study, to intern, to work. The young are beautiful, positive and ‘Yes’natured.Young people come as entrepreneurs to start their bright idea, i.e. new sport TRI see below. 
Trying out the new sport.
  1. Language. I definitely miss the language. Writing Chinese characters is like some kind of secret code. It is the most spoken native language, and will be the language of tomorrow.
Bedroom wall. Live it breath it.

  1. Lionized. China is internationalising, we as Westerners are in demand. A third perhaps more of population lived through the time of the Red Guards, of the Cultural Revolution, of the opening up of Chinese trade borders, foreign faces are a weird entity. A Western face is a sign of China modernising, you are treated with smiles, surprised looks, its a special experience.

  1. The History. You are often told by enthusiastic students that the country has 5000 years of history. Following a century of humiliation, the Mao years, China you get the sense is forging a new era for itself as we speak. All the news seemed relevant and the change that was happening, e.g free traze zone in Shanghai, was dynamic and it was quite compelling to be a part of. Shanghai is like New York of the 80's/90's in that respect.

  1. Chinese. Quirky, innovative in one sense,  resilient and hard-working in another. Unassuming and loyal but go out and you will see lavishness and energy.
  1. Sights. The images that are just so far from your life back home make each day worth getting up for. 
As proof of this I put together a big, old video containing some of the pictures from my 16 months there. 

   ZaiJian 再见

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

62. China acting liberal.

The Two Unifiers

China(9,500,000km squared ) and Europe(10, 160,000 km squared) are of a relatively similar size give or take an area the size of Poland. However, unlike Europe, China does not have a long history of debilitating wars fought against neighbouring states. 
The two leaders who are credited with uniting China after war  are thus enshrined today.  These two leaders are separated by over 2000 years.

The first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC), who unified all the old states of China and subsequently instilled economic, social and cultural reforms. Some of those included building the Great Wall to centralise the state/keep out the Mongol hords, but he also buried alive 460 of the day's intellectuals in burials sites close to where his grand Terracotta Army was later found.
The second is of course, Mao Zedong, whose statues adorn pretty much every city. His greatest achievement was in essence defeating the Chiang-Kai-Shek- led Kuomintang and unifying China after 100 years of foreign influenced rule and the cival war that followed after Japan had exited in 1945. Some of his reforms included instilling women into the working environment and creating a simplified writing system. Also Mao deployed a similar tactic to his predecessor, but nonchalantly dismissed any claim that he was similar to the First Emperor in a speech to his part cadres, he exclaimed
" He buried 460 scholars alive- we have buried 46,000 alive", he continued,  "You intellectuals revile us for being Qin Shi Huangs. You are wrong. We have surpassed Qin Shi Huang hundred fold".

China's out of date philosophy

Thus China has kept a unified, singular state for the majority of its 5000 year history. They are in the majority one race of people (Han ethnicity makes up about 93% of the population). Having been at the forefront of the worlds innovations between the 1st and 18th century, its no surprise the Chinese for China is 'Zhongguo' 'middle kingdom' i.e. the whole world revolves around them. They essentially don't need other countries help.

Chinese people's cultural heritage is more established than more than most countries in the world. However the reason why they had so much foreign influenced rule in the 100 years between 1850-1950, was because they weren't able or willing to rid to change from their norm. They have had an almost obnoxious belief that their way was the right way.

However, since Deng Xiaoping  reforms in 1978 that opened up China to the world, the country has drastically caught up with other around them.

The latest economic reforms first initiated last year, and expected to be extended even further this month, could prove an even greater step forward for the Chinese government, and they are taking place here
in Shanghai.

Free Trade Zone

Shanghai officially launched Mainland China’s first Free Trade Zone (‘FTZ’) in September 2013. The 29-square kilometre FTZ area marked a positive step forward to boosting reforms. 

Quoted in South China Morning Post, First Premier Li Keqiang stated that he ‘wanted to make the zone a snapshot of how China can upgrade its economic structure’. He added that the ‘FTZ is not only a trial program of the country’s reform and opening up strategy, but also offers an important opportunity to drive renovation and facilitate the transformation of development’.

The move makes Shanghai an increasingly competitive location for international business and commerce. This is partly due to the FTZ loosening the tax burdens, hence lifting the city’s ease of conducting business. The Shanghai FTZ offers easier investment access to both foreign and domestic capital and services. 

Sources from the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Management Committee of the Shanghai FTZ have given further implementation details into the future liberalization movement in the FTZ expected to be released this month, these plans include:

  • Further deregulation and liberalization in the investment and financing sector.

  • Expand the cross border using of RMB to further internationalise the currency. 
  • Further the liberalization of the banking interest rate. Currently, the nationwide interest rate is state-governed; the plans if they go ahead would mean banks in the FTZ could offer a lower interest rate to drive investment.
  • Reforming of foreign exchange management. Currently, trade goods are able to be purchased in an RMB convertible currency. This measure is also gradually being introduced into capital items as well.


These reforms show many things.

Not so long ago in China's history, China denied the Brits entry to import our Opium from India on to their shores. This kickstarted the Opium wars, which Britain won quite convincely. The Treaty of Nanjing, 1842, followed that led to us getting Hong Kong as well as three other trade sea ports.

Many other Western countries followed to do an unequal treaty after unequal treaty with China. It was the century of shame for China. 

Mao from 1949-1976 rid China of most of its foreign influences when he came to power. 

This therefore is within a lifetime of people living in Shanghai right now. The FTZ is another signifier of the future being very readily shown in the face of the past. 

The point here is that rather than the Chinese living in the present dominated by their tradition of being a unified, singular state they are essentially dropping their habits and embracing the future by embracing Western business like never before. For a country that is steeped in history, this change really is so uncharacteristic, and worth noting.

That probably explains why it is just a pilot scheme. However with 12 other cities around China putting in their request to get a Free Trade Zone, the demand is there.


Now there is the other side of the coin and that is the how the Western world acts who have been given an opportunity to establish themselves in the Free Trade Zone. 

Early signs haven't been encouraging though. Pretty crazy given British ships used to bombard Shanghai to sell their Opium. Surprisingly then foreign capital enterprises only make up 3-5% of the companies occupying space in the FTZ. This could be identified because foreign investors want to understand China’s policies first, while the domestic government moves forward stably.

However, I feel that the Western world are  too dismissive of setting up in China, because they would rather cater for them in their own country. 

As you have seen recently in the news, Chinese rather than just making their presence felt in starting up takeaways on the street corner, they are now investing huge amounts of money in the centre of London.  Plus China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba is about to float itself on the New York Stock Exchange.

These recent examples just go to show that China is trying to internationalise itself in the business world. Will we see the Western companies now do it in mainland China?

Friday, 14 February 2014

61. An Ode to Graduates.

An all too familiar sight. An all too insipid process.

'Hello my name is Oliver Wessely. I am a graduate from the University of York, gaining a 2:1 in English Language and Linguistics. Indeed it is the same course that York Caudwell was on (University Challenge team 2011). Throughout my three years, I worked to the courses deadlines, developing and perfecting the celebrated art of procrastination in the process. In the termly presentation seminars, I showed oratory skills that would have with out doubt trounced Hitler, Churchill and Benjamin Disraeli in any public debate.

Outside the course, I showed my creativity in recycling many costumes for the Club D’s and Derwent rugby socials. I illustrated great attention to detail in always detailing Derwents contributions extensively in my match reports for York Vision. I demonstrated a strong work ethic under the pressure of the Nando’s Saturday back grill shift. I have excellent team skills coming from being a Fly Half who liked to pass the ball to other people to bring the best out of them, unlike that  Bobo Johnson!
At home, I am a driven individual having passed my driving test on the fourth attempt. I can adapt to change having had six different relationships.
While out travelling the world, I showed resilience having done door-to-door sales as a  geekish, white 18year old in Sydneys summertime. I have taken a hands-on approach to work as the Summit Camp audience appreciated in my slightly camp portrayal of Smee in the Peter Pan Staff play. Furthermore, I have often communicated to others, namely in China, where I would try and teach English, shout ‘Bi Zui’ (Shut Up) in Chinese and then enact the body language of a irate teacher when the mass of students didn’t.
So in all, Mr GraduateScheme man, I have shown all the criteria ( and written them in italic) you so dearly look for in the position of Trainee Assistant Administrative for Sales and Recruitment at GraduateSchemes Top 100 Graduatejobs. I am really passionate to obtain this position as it is something I have always wanted to do since I was a wee knipper.
I desperately hope to hear back from you.

Best Wishes,

Oliver Wessely BA Hons 


Since coming back from my voyage to China, I’ve managed to secure interviews with Graduate Fasttrack (such a high turnover I’ve had a cousin go through there), Life Insurance company's Data Analyst (come on, it required 3 GCSE’s) and the HM Prison Winchester.

Surprisingly, the prison job was the only one I would be interested in doing. To my great sadness, it wasn’t like Shawshank Redemption inside. I don’t think I would have fitted in and I haven’t heard back.

Like the Tardis, different on the inside.

Despite the failures in me trying to make that first big step into the job market, I’ve had many temporary jobs in the past four months. From cleaning, to catering, to pasty shop pot washing, to manual labouring, to recently a job as a mechanic assistant at a joystick factory. Adaptable.
I’ve met some interesting co-workers also, but truth be told these have been people I never wished to meet but also I'm thankful that I have.
I’ve had to try and sympathise with a grown man as he faced a sexual assault charge for jokingly groping someone, decline interest to a guy who was looking to try and ship off some of his home-grown weed, try and interpret a guy whose verbal pronunciation could only be understood by his inbred looking sister (he was probably asking someone to pull up his low trousers). Further to this, I’ve had to apologise for reading a book on shift (ironic), joke along with the Poles builders who were convinced my broken nose was due to my sleeping habits rather than surgery and lastly and probably most painfully try and understand a guy from Wigan who moved to escape the gang that he is convinced will kill him if he ever steps back there.

Looking at Britain from abroad, the social divide it has is, in my opinion Britains best kept secret. From my own experience, I feel awkward talking about my privileged upbringing with anyone unless I have confidence in the listener. It’s the worst problem in Britain today, people will stay in the jobs that would bore any new graduate senseless, putting their security over any hope and aspiration.
Or Channel 4 Benefits Street will come a knocking!


Anyway, the future looks red, not orange. The red of China. If you don't believe me go and ask Martin Jacques who has written a very good book about China taking over the world. Considering this I am heading back to Shanghai to do an internship where all the experience I’ve had in my life all seemed key to them saying the immortal words ‘Yes’ to my application. Yes I lied earlier. I did get a fourth interview that was done on the telephone so I could still lie in bed.

The company is called CBBC that translates as the China Britain Business Council. So unfortunately I won’t be translating Tinky Winky’s script for the Chinese audience or refilling the green tea of NuNu the Teletubbies badass hoover. If I had got a job at the Chinese CBBC (Childrens British Broadcasting Corporation). I imagined this would have been the case. Instead I'll be editing reports and shizzzz.

So goodbye to everyone here. It has been great catching up with you. Until the next time!

Tinky Winky says Goodbye


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

60. The final post for now. About Beijing and a big great list.

So I’m coming to the end of my time here in China. It’s been fantastic. A great learning curve which in the most part came through teaching. I still though felt that no journey to China would be complete without visiting the Great Wall. On Monday I finally got to tick it off as I spent a few days in Beijing. Here are a few things I noticed that were different about Shanghai and the capital, Beijing.

How Beijing is different to Shanghai.

The clouds were denser and greyer. The air quality was much worse.

There are many more historical/cultural sights to go and appreciate.

You have to walk a lot more. The streets are huge. The space at the sights were huge- Temple of Heaven, The Summer Palace and of course the Great Wall, all took up a huge amount of area.

People actually use 5 Mao notes, the equivalent of 0.5p.

The tourists are a lot more noticeable. Maybe because I was one of them but you actually experienced scam artists trying their stuff with you.

Ok so not the most flattering list for Beijing, but I suppose my best experiences in China were had in Shanghai, so that is where the hear lies. Here then is a list of things done since being in China.


12 different schools taught at or helped cover. They were JQM, EYA1, EYA2, YAH, FDM, LDM, YYLK, Changning Shane, two Kindergarten covers, one Hongqiao cover with Tom and a Zhongshan Park cover in my second week.

46- the most amount of kids in one class (EYA1-third class. Also one of my favourites)

14- the least amount of kids in one class (FDM Wednesday last period, they did have a boy named Superman though)

4 private students:- Bobby, Yuk, Katie and Zheng Lai.

3- times the sticky ball has gone out the window

1 the amount of times a kid has cried in my lesson, the amount of times I’ve yanked some kids table right to the front in anger at them, the amount of times I’ve confiscated pot noodles, the amount of times a kid has pissed in class (it was Kindergarten though).


5 the number of live shows I’ve enjoyed (Questlove, DJ Casper, a Danish Heavy metal band, Japandroids and a DJ set from a guy from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

3 Table Football Finals. Only one did we win.

10 RMB cheapest drink bought in a bar. (Tsingtao in Perry’s/Ellens’s)
90 RMB most expensive drink bought in a bar (Cocktails at the top of the Radisson Blu on the second night)

Out and About

19 massages had over the course of the year. The Chinese massage being the most effective.

146- Highest score in the three times I’ve gone bowling.

7 the number of Challenges I ended up completing in the Challenges blog post.

2 times I visited the Shanghai Circus. The best entertainment in Shnghai.


43 seconds it took to reach our floor via the lift.

4 times I ran the whole way up the flight of stairs to the 31st floor for exercise.

3 guests I’ve hosted and have slept over in the flat.

6 new TV shows I’ve gotten into or finished ( Seinfeld, Game of Thrones, Curb your Enthusiam, The Wire, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead)

300 RMB we paid overall for the sofa. A wise investment.


8 different types of sports I’ve played competitively this year:- Rugby, Football, Badminton, Basketball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Golf and TRI.

3 days where golf has played a part. Watched Shanghai Golf Masters, courtesy round of golf at the Binghai and then practicing in the Hongkou stadium.

2- Rugby tours. Many beers drunk.

1- number of World Championships I’ve represented England in. Boom!


204 number of views the first Dating blog post got. The most by an absolute mile!

12 girls taken on dates this year. Productive!

58% Chinese. Naturally.

4 girls taken on second dates this year. 

25% Chinese. Naturally.

Date venues:- Shopping Centre, The Docks, 7 x Restaurant, KTV, Cinema, 2x Park, Art exhibition, Heavy Metal Gig, Bowling, 2 day trip to the Beach, 1984 coffee shop, Skating, Shanghai Botanical Gardens...


6 cities visited outside of Shanghai (Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shenjiamen, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Beijing).

1852 photo’s in the China album in iPhoto.


Will upload some photo's and edit it further soon but now I must run! England tomorrow

59. Everybody should go KUNG FU fighting!

This is an account of my week of training in the art of Shaolin Kung Fu.

 Spot the old dude of a Master. Unfortunately this photo was taken in 2010 and the man with the beard wasn't there.

Having travelled 23 hours from Shanghai, I arrived at the camp in the heart of the Kunyu mountain in Shandong province. The more in the middle of nowhere it sounds the better I thought.

Area surrounding the camp.

First impressions

 Nancy who had picked me up at the station showed me to my room. A three-bunk dormitory. Glanced at the passport of the only other occupant in the room. Welsh. Bloody hell not another one. Balding, beard. Could be crazy.
Ventured into the TV room to find a fellow English chap, James, various mutual friends that we didn’t exhaust till the next day. Going back to the room I was to find a man in red pants, a little pissed but hugely enthusiastic about Kung Fu, this was Ian. He’d be my room-mate/mentor and all round bloody hero for the rest of the week.

So inspired by Ian’s late night rant about how Kung Fu and just about everything was ‘cool as fuck’. I got straight into the Kung Fu with two 1 on1 sessions with a Master (Shi-Fu) on the Saturday. I really pushed myself and in both of the one hour sessions I sweated through my T-Shirt. It being the same T-Shirt it got a double soak through.

It was weird arriving on the week-end. Everyone was so inactive and complaining of the pain in his or her body caused from the notorious power stretching or mountain run. However all I saw on the Saturday and Sunday were people lying about or playing basketball. So on Sunday I went on my own up the mountain, exploring a little.

My group 

Monday. Training began. I was in an eclectic team of Shaolin trainee’s. We had James I'd met from the TV room, New College, Oxford graduate and doing 3 months before he started work in February. Dean, an actual grand-dad and retired from the army, was doing 4 months before he moved on to New Zealand. There was a French girl who rarely spoke, Alex, an Aussie who because of his time here was pushed the hardest, Eric, once a bartender in Utah, now a roundhouse kicking kung fu king, unfortunately twisted his ankle during the week and there was also another new guy joining with me, Daniel, who like me left after the week but because he wanted to try other places. This news didn't go down well with the Masters.


The schedule was intense but I loved it. The Masters allowed you to miss a session if you were tired or sick, but I didn’t ask all week.

 You’d wake up at 5:50 am for an hour of Tai Chi and then QiGong. I began to like Tai Chi as it was a relaxing way to bed your muscles in to another extreme day of kicks and stretches. There was a 24 step move which was being taught to all students, I was able to learn 5 steps of it by the end of the week. QiGong was a meditation period and it was very much a ‘what you put in, you got out’ scenario. I stuck with it but it was people who had stayed there for 4 weeks or so who experienced the burning sensation that encapsulated and energized your body. The Master who was high up in the art has been seen to be sweating whilst doing QiGong in his shorts and T-Shirt outside in the cold at winter. 
On Tuesday there was a presentation and nominated students performed. Sam who was the most experienced student in the camp amazingly broke 3 long pieces of metal on his head and credited QiGong for him being able to do it.

After the early morning rise, we had breakfast, which was the same everyday- bolied eggs, bread, rice and soya milk. I’d have on average 5 eggs for breakfast. Lunch and dinner varied but I’d usually have sizable portions. After using my Chinese on the dinner ladies I’d also get generous seconds as well.

There were 3 periods in the day. Two before lunch, one lasting 90 minutes, one lasting 60 minutes, and then a 90 minute session after the post-lunch siesta. There was also a chance for more TaiChi and QiGong which I often went to before dinner and a basics Mandurin lesson in the evenings.

The lessons in the day were either basic skills or sanda. We then throughout the week had QiGong at the Temple, Conditioning, Power Stretching, Forms-which was weapon practice, Sparring session, Presentation, a Taoism/Acupuncture lesson and to finish the week there was the infamous Mountain Run. We’d also start the first and the third session with a 1 km run, this got quite competitive.

Basic Skills: This lesson was full of kicks. The week I was there the Masters were trying to drill in the side on kick. So they had us hanging on to a railing like a ballerina and on ‘Go’ we’d kick out with our leg. They’d expect us to get shoulder height. It was knackering.

Sanda We’d be sparring in this form and for this lesson we practiced throwing punches and kicks usually in some kind of combo. I realised I had serious malco-ordination problems and having to punch with the left whilst stepping back with the left , then to do a quick fire with the right, as well as keeping the right footwork, punch techinique, back stance, it was a lot to handle. So the older of the two Masters would always take me aside and teach me some cool moves which he would then try on me!

QiGong at the Temple and then Conditioning One of my favourite lessons as we went up to the idyllic temple. First bit involved this calming 7 minute stretch where we had to control our breathing whilst stretching all parts of our body through arm and legs movements. It was deeply energising and you felt part of the Earth you were standing on. Then after that we did conditioning which basically involved punching trees and other people. It would harden the skin and make us tougher fighters!

Alex conditioning his skin by hitting a stick against his shins. Painful after a while

Forms There were presentations twice a month and in this lesson we’d practice our kind of routine. For Alex this involved twirling this huge pike/spear weapon around. Apparently one of his moves is meant to split a man in half. I played with numchuks for the lesson. The Master taught me some moves.

The nearby temple where we did forms, QI Gong and the Mountain Run.

Power Stretching The lesson I feared most. After a rigorous workout of sprinting, bunny hopping, fireman lifting etc up the slope, we got into partners and would push each other into stretching further than we possibly could or would. You’d experience seething pain. Like cry out loud pain, but at the end of it you felt a new man!

Dean giving me a good stretch.

Acupuncture/Massage Class Acupuncture class was the most disappointing of the week. It was all theory and deadly boring. Massage class was quite funny though. There were only 3 of us and there was the on running joke that it was like the ‘Homosexual’ club. Learnt some techniques and then gave and received a massage so no complaints!

Sparring session It got to Friday and it being my last day I put my hand up to spar. Surprisingly there weren’t many who wanted to test themselves in the ring especially in their first week. I did though and got put up against James. He was deadly close range so I decided to use the tactic of kicking. Unfortunately my mind was so set on this course that James’ friendly, respect tap of the gloves at the start of the bout received a high kick from me. It was an intense affair. I took a few to the face when my guard wasn’t up, but I lasted the two rounds and got a few kicks and punches away myself. Quite an experience!

My Master watched on as James and I went fist to fist.

Mountain Run The last lesson of the week and the most hyped up. The whole camp of Mantai, WaiChun and Shaoling students got together to run up and down this mountain six times. Obviously a lot of people walked, however there were some mental ones who bear crawled on all fours down the mountain, I gently jogged most of it but my body at this stage of the week was in disarray and I had to resort to walking up the last few. Somehow I did all six though!



So I’m immensely happy I was able to experience a week of the rigorous Kung Fu training. I’m a little upset I could not do it for longer as there was a great group of lads at the camp who were on the most part motivated, open minded and interesting.
The Masters had an aura around them similar to a Headmaster. You respected them and they pushed you hard. Kung Fu makes you do- things you didn’t think were possible or activities that you didn’t think the sane would do.

If I went again I would stay at least 3 months to get a proper stint as it was blooming awesome!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

58. Chinese people on holiday


This last week China has been celebrating its National Holiday week. Only implemented as late as 2000, the 'Golden' week commemorates the founding of the National Party in 1913. It came about also to help boost tourism within China whilst the weather is so nice.

Foreigners are warned not to travel in this period as great swarms of people move across this country in record breaking numbers! Here are some stats from Wikipedia.

'In 2012, the PRC government announced that national highways would be toll free for Golden Week, and as a result 86 million people travelled by road (13% increase compared to the previous year).[3] The same year, the Forbidden City in Beijing had a new record of 182,000 visitors within one day on October 2, the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen had 215,000 visitors on October 4 (10 times the number of visitors on a normal busy day), 7.6 million people travelled via domestic airlines, 60.9 million people travelled via railway, and revenues from tourism totalled at 1.77 billion renminbi.[4]

Thankfully I don't have to wait to long till I can go on holiday. My contract is up on the 10th, I have a visa extension to the 26th of October. So enough time to do the things I want to do before heading back to the UK.


There is something about Chinese people traveling abroad which provokes aggravation. The country's reputation whilst traveling has gotten so bad that the Government has issued helpful 'Do's and Don'ts' tips to people leaving the country.

I had a few encounters with Chinese folk when I went to Nepal and Australia in the summer and in all instances they just made themselves stand out, or in others it was refreshing for me to see Chinese folk in a different light. Here are some of the Chinese people I met when on my travels. Unfortunately no pictures.

The Chinese Hippy. A Chinese couple wearing  pants, multicoloured knitted hoody with beanie on top. They'd really gone to town. It was funny the thing which made them recognizable as Chinese was the fact that they had brought matching gear.

The Chinese not airline trained. Man I felt sorry for the Qantas airline hostess who had to tell a fair proportion of the Chinese folk on the plane that, once finished with the tray the airline will come round and pick it up. You had the bizarre sight of Chinese people walking around with their finished trays when they couldn't find the hostesses to take it off them they put the tray down in the wheelchair assigned space.

The Chinese who revel in foreign conversation. Whilst waiting for a friend in Sydney, I encountered two Chinese kids on the steps by the Town Hall. I asking them some questions in Chinese. Their family loved this so much they had the Granddad filming, the Mother and another woman both taking pictures of this conversation.

The Chinese person after a photo together. Funnily enough haven't had as much as you'd think in Shanghai. However when we went to a seaside town, an elderly couple came over and requested a photo. I was with a friend and we flanked them either side in beach wear. One for the mantelpiece perhaps?

The Chinese person who is representing. Feeling completely at home again in the comforts of Australia's Western culture, I get a little reminder of what's waiting in store for me back in China when a middle aged woman walks past in her favourite pink trouser things. Maybe in China, not here.


Here is an article detailing the governments advice to people going abroad.

And the actual document


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

57. Blissful ignorance

What benefits do you have as a expatriate living in a foreign country? I thought today blissful ignorance was one of them.

Living in another country is different to just visiting that country on holiday. You encounter day to day situations you don't get the time to experience on a holiday and as a foreigner you can manage to bypass them, gain from them or vent your frustration at them without getting into as much of a bother as you would back home.

Situation 1: Leaflet givers

Just like home leaflet givers go out of their way to plant some kind of useless material in your hands. However I have found them here to retract their Chinese written leaflets from your oncoming path (as they make the judgement you would not be able to read it). It’s one less worry.

Situation 2: School canteen

School lunch’s consist of dubious meat with tasty sauce, rice and two vegetable sides. There are two different types of veg sides, one is sloppy and horrible the other is crunchy often combined with egg and quite yummy. Through some foreign lingo of grunting and gesturing, I manage to get two of the better veg dishes and sometime even come up for seconds.
It’s not allowed to have two crunchy vegetable sides but the poor ladies don’t have the English to tell me No. Every little helps.

Situation 3: The confrontations

Every now again you can get in a heated argument usually with a taxi driver. It is a welcome tonic to release a vent of anger in your own local swear lingo. As I know they are doing the same.


Being a foreigner in Shanghai is great though. You don't get the celebrity style attention that's afforded in the smaller cities and in general you are respected quite a lot. 

Clubs often give you free tables with questionable booze so you can go into their club, and old folk are often very warm around you especially when you hold the lift for them.

I suppose the Brits have been here since the 1830's. Though we didn't exactly shower ourselves in glory with the Opium war we started. However despite the way we enacted ourselves on the law and public back then, the public in general treat you very well.

For the ones who don't you have that blissful ignorance to fall back on.