Trip report: China 2017

Bangkok and beyond, travel talk on all other places in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
SPONSORS: Bang Saphan Guide : Ban Krut Info : Hua Hin Taxi
User avatar
Bamboo Grove
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4884
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 12:59 pm
Location: So Far From The Bamboo Grove

Re: Trip report: China 2017

Post by Bamboo Grove » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:26 am

Food

Western fast food outlets have found their way to China as well. McDonalds, KFC’s etc where common and they seemed to be in every place I visited. I guess I should have known this but somehow I had thought that China wouldn’t have let them in. Of course there were plenty of Chinese fast food restaurants as well. I didn’t visit the western ones, except on my last weekend in China. I happened to see the famous or infamous Hooters and decided to go in to see what it was all about. Waste of time and waste of money: very average food for high price and the beer was expensive, too. The waitress tried to keep me company, a bit like in beer bars of Thailand but this isn’t for me anymore. So I gulped down my burger and beer and left the place in a hurry.

The Chinese fast food chains I visited every now and then but these too were very similar with each other. I understand, that they have to be like this as all fast food chains need to be convergent. Luckily, I started to find old China style restaurants which were not too expensive. These were small, most likely family run places, where the food (at least to me) tasted authentic. They were also not too expensive. Shanghai is the most expensive place in China so some restaurants had Finnish prices.

Anyway, I enjoy Chinese food and I was happy to find roast duck and goose in many places as well as several tofu dishes, which I like, too.

What really had changed in restaurants and shops was that instead of just tossing the change in front of you, they gave you your change in a very polite manner, with their both hands, the way old Chinese people in Thailand do.. Also the service had gone for better, not that many sulky faces in shops or restaurants, which used to be the standard, particularly in state run shops in my younger days. Not many people use cash or cards in China to pay their bills or shoppings any more, instead they use their mobile phones and apps to do this.
kanaa ja lihapullia.JPG
kanaa ja lihapullia.JPG (106.66 KiB) Viewed 387 times
Aubergine.JPG
Aubergine.JPG (127.63 KiB) Viewed 387 times
So Far From The Bamboo Grove
http://bamboogrovestories.blogspot.com/

oakdale160
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2903
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:51 pm

Re: Trip report: China 2017

Post by oakdale160 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:30 am

Another change for the better is the decrease in the spitting. It used to be the men smoked and most of them were spitting. Now slightly less smoking and in Shanghai at least much less spitting.

User avatar
pharvey
Addict
Addict
Posts: 6455
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:21 am
Location: Back in God's Country

Re: Trip report: China 2017

Post by pharvey » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:34 pm

Bamboo Grove wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:26 am
Food

Western fast food outlets have found their way to China as well. McDonalds, KFC’s etc where common and they seemed to be in every place I visited.
Around 1999/2000 from memory, the first McD's in Chongqing opened. Stupidly thought to give it a go - then saw the 500m odd long queue (well barging fest) ...... :shock: forgo my "snack" strangely enough!! Since then, they've opened up in their thousands around China. Did you see China's equivalent of KFC and it's logo? Classic...
Capture.PNG
Capture.PNG (83.86 KiB) Viewed 312 times
[EDIT] For me, the classic food/meal out was Chongqing's "Hot Pot" - silly hot, but a great time out with friends and a few cold beers!! :thumb:
oakdale160 wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:30 am
Another change for the better is the decrease in the spitting. It used to be the men smoked and most of them were spitting. Now slightly less smoking and in Shanghai at least much less spitting.
Shanghai maybe, but certainly not in the majority of China. :banghead:


:cheers: :cheers:
"You've got to get your first tackle in early, even if it's late". Ray Gravell :wink:

User avatar
Bamboo Grove
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4884
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 12:59 pm
Location: So Far From The Bamboo Grove

Re: Trip report: China 2017

Post by Bamboo Grove » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:51 pm

Transportation

Transportation both within cities and between cities was another thing that is so much easier nowadays in China. All the four cities I visited had metros and I only took buses two different times. In the old days unless you rushed and pushed and shoved among the other strap hangers, you wouldn’t be able to get in. Now the buses seemed not crowded, most people were seated, this must be different in places without metro. The metros were full during the morning and evening rush hours but otherwise it wasn’t bad. I didn’t try taxis or my old favourite bicycle at all.

Using the metro was cheap, in Shanghai the trips started from 3 Yuan i.e around 38 cents (Euro), in Suzhou, Hangzhou and Wuxi from 2 Yuan. I can’t remember paying more than 6 Yuan more than once. Going into the metro system is similar to airports, they have x-ray machines at every entrance. In Shanghai they asked you to put your bigger bags into the machine, other places all your bags. In Suzhou, they also asked you to drink from your water bottle if it had been opened.

Shanghai had widened the streets so that there were no bicycle lines left, other cities still had them. Crossing the street was scarier than in Thailand. They had a similar rule that you can turn to right even if red light is on but cars and motorbikes seemed to turn any whatever way, if they saw a chance to this. This is why I didn’t feel like using a bicycle in Shanghai. Renting one is very easy, yet again, you need an apps to do it. Lots of mopeds in Shanghai, mainly delivery people. Luckily, these don’t go very fast, helmet use is minimal. The cars are surprisingly new and expensive looking.

As I've mentioned before, intercity trains are fast, clean and cheap and there are more of these than in the old days, so getting a ticket is not a big problem. Also, you can do it online.
So Far From The Bamboo Grove
http://bamboogrovestories.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Bamboo Grove
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4884
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 12:59 pm
Location: So Far From The Bamboo Grove

Re: Trip report: China 2017

Post by Bamboo Grove » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:34 pm

This is the last part of my trip report, thanks for sharing this with me and for the comments.

Problems in present day Chinese society

Corruption

Corruption is still a huge problem in China, even though Xi Jinping said he would stop the practice. But how can you stop a thousands of years old practice in few years, well you can’t. My teachers told me examples of lower level examples so I’m not making these up. For example, I heard that you can avoid paying your taxes by greasing the local officials. So the bribes are lower than the taxes would be, remarkably in some cases. Also, there are teachers who are paid even though they have no students and no classes. The schools don’t have their own budgets so they claim to have more students than they have and get more money this way. The local officials get their due bribes from this as well.

Kids abandoned in the countryside grandparents and kids

Another big social problem becomes from people moving away from countryside to work in the cities. China has had for a long time a system called “Hukou”. You are issued an i.d. card which ties you down to the area you are born. There used to be hukou’s for country folks and for city people. Moving from countryside was basically impossible but then came the fast development and construction projects. People started to move to the cities after work. However, their hukous were still of those in the countryside so they couldn’t get free health care and their children couldn’t go to school in the cities. They had to leave their children behind.

So the children are left in the care of their grandparents who may be old and not strong enough to really look after their grandchildren. In most cases they also lack education themselves and cannot help the kids in their schoolwork. The teachers are not qualified and there is shortage of teachers in the countryside so the all these things combined the kids are into mischief, causing all kinds of problems. They may only see their parents once or twice a year. I think, I read that the system is starting to slowly change but surely these left-behind kids will cause problems for a long time.

Also in Shanghai I often saw kids with their grandparents in the metros. The parents work so looking after the kids is left for the grandparents. However, they seemed to enjoy this but what kind of world view they install to their grandchildren is another question. China has been changing rapidly and the grandparents have lived through the communist China’s early years as well as the cultural revolution era. Also the one child policy has caused a lot of pampering, more so by the grandparents who even in other cases tend to pamper more than parents.

Teaching in the schools of countryside

The other of my teachers was born in 1990 in the a small village in Anhui province. She was the second child, which was not allowed at that time. The family was poor so they were facing several problems because of the birth of a second child. So her mother went to live with the relatives in another village and after the birth of her baby girl, left her there for couple of years. My teacher returned home before the start of her school years. The school lacked teachers and they studied only three subjects during her primary school years; Chinese, maths and P.E. Then she was lucky to get into a better junior high, followed by a fairly good senior high and eventually into a university. The universities are divided into three categories, first grade, second grade and third grade. She was only able to get into a third grade university located in the northernmost province of China, in the city of Harbin, where she lived for four years before graduating. She then arrived at Shanghai and got a teaching job there. The problem of quality of teaching in the countryside remains a big problem.

One child policy

China has recently changed it’s one child policy, which has been in place for almost 4 decades. Now it’s possible to have a second child. Both of my teachers said, it’s not very likely that families want to have two children because raising just a one can be very expensive and you need to be wealthy to be able to guarantee a good future for your child. The parents, I have a feeling, this is particularly the mothers, still want to choose who’s going to marry their son/daughter. However, many women are not too willing to get married, unless they can find security in their marriage. Security mainly, at least in Shanghai, means that the husband owns an apartment and has a fairly well-paying job. Otherwise, they are not in a rush to get married, although the society looks down upon a woman and a man as well, who is approaching 30’s and still not married. Boys are still more wanted than girls as children and the boys are mainly the ones who inherit their parents, if there are two children in the family. There are plenty of wealthy people in China now and they seem to be willing to pay their children’s life if these are not keen to work. Another social problem in the future for sure. I also heard that there are parents who are willing to pay a woman to give a birth a child to their son and then tell the woman to disappear from the lives of the husband and the child.

Miscellaneous

Generally my internet worked ok, I didn’t buy a Chinese sim card. Sometimes it was very slow but I could handle that. Vpn was necessary in order to use google, fb and instagram, which I use to connect with my family and friends. They say that China will ban vpn’s next year but what about the big international companies who need the vpn’s? Can China afford that or do they care about it?

I lived and studied in Guangzhou in 1987 and the way they speak there is totally different from Mandarin, same thing in Shanghai. I couldn’t understand their local way of speaking and although most of them speak Mandarine, not all use it with their friends or family. Is this the same in Sichuan, Pharvey? I once had a repair man in my apartment in Shanghai and I couldn’t understand anything he said.
So Far From The Bamboo Grove
http://bamboogrovestories.blogspot.com/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 11 guests