So with just over 2 months before I leave for China, I thought I should do a little deeper research into what I have actually signed up for! So Here are 6 things I’m stoked for, and 4 things I’m not so stoked for!
I have booked onto the Dragon Tour – a 25 day tour around China with a group of 18-30yr olds. I figure if I’m going to get homesick it will be in the first few weeks so having a bus full of familiar faces can only be a good idea right? On this tour they organise everything for you, transport, accommodation and some daily mandatory experiences. Plus loads of optional extras if your sense of adventure/budget allows! So the following are just a few highlights, there is loads more to the experience.
Bamboo Rafts Down the Yulong River – on the second day we are in Yangshuo and all board Bamboo rafts, Chinas answer to Venice’s gondolas. I’m down for chilling on a boat… so long as sea sickness doesn’t apply to rivers too!!
Panda Sanctuary In Chengdu – Now if those fluffy little teddy bears don’t excite you at all, then I don’t know what will! I get to spend the day around the sanctuary, hopefully not long enough for me to convince myself I can fit one of the little teddies in my bag.
Blind Massage – After my day with the teddies I get the option of a massage from a traditional blind masseuse. The wording of this one really confused me. A traditional blind masseuse. Why are masseuses traditionally blind? Do they have to give up their sight to get the job, or is the job only available to blind people… surely thats a HR equal opportunities nightmare. Either way, I’m intrigued.
Fake Market – So in Beijing we get to ‘test our bargaining skills’ in a fake goods market, this is 13 days into the tour, by this stage I will be happy if I can say hello and order a cup of tea, never mind try bargaining in a market! But either way I will coming out of that market dressed from head to toe in Armani and smelling like a 10 year old boy that got over excited trying out his Dads aftershave.
Roof Top Hot Tub – In Shanghai go to a roof top bar with hot tubs to enjoy a glass of champagne with a view of the city. I don’t think I’m quite classy enough to pull off a rooftop champagne bar, but I think the hot tubs should bring it down to my level. When else will you get that opportunity!
Panda Sanctuary in Chengdu – I know, I know, as much as I am stoked for the Pandas, I also have a issue with Zoos. Animals in tight conditions and generally ‘domesticated’, which is basically what they are, bother me slightly. So if the Zoo conditions aren’t great I’m really going to hate being there… Fingers crossed it will all be fine.
World’s Busiest High Street – So to get to the roof-top-hot-tub-champagne-bar the tour guide takes us through the world’s busiest high street… I’m not a fan of shopping and busy shopping areas should always be avoided!! ALWAYS!
Mandarin Challenge – ‘Use your freshly learned Mandarin to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways. The winning team earns a prize.’ Anyone who has spent time with me in a foreign country will know that languages aren’t my strongest feature (I’m still trying to work out what is!). But they are expecting me to remember the Mandarin they teach me in these lessons and speak to actual Chinese people… somehow I don’t think I will be winning any prizes!
Chicken Feet – Okay, Chicken Feet is not on the itinerary for the trip, but a few people I have spoken to have told me about this phenomenon. Apparently it’s a staple food out there, and not the best staple food either! I was expecting crispy chilli beef and chow mein, apparently that isn’t so common… who knew!
Have you ever been to China, what did you think to the place? I’d love to hear your tips!