As I board the train to Xi’An, I shall give you my 2 cents or 5 Yuan on Beijing….. I did not like it, but that’s just me.
London town and New York subway, I have found them all easy peasy to follow and get around. Beijing I was on may arse! I got the airport to the subway and to the gaff fine. The rest is all a blurred.
Your thinking if I learnt the Chinese for North, South, East and west that would make a difference, it doesn’t. I mapped one visit to one area only to find 9 streets with the same name and the road at the end is named different from the map, why? Proper mind melt.
People say folk in London are rude, I’ve never found that, they’re just getting from A-D. It’s kinda like that here, however, manners (opening doors and saying thanks) are very low. I went to buy ma train ticket to a Xian and at security (even something as simple as buying a ticket you have to go through airport style security/ bag scan), a boy jumped in front of me. Well, the lass gave him a telling off and put him behind me. I love you long time.
There is a lot of poverty around. People go into McDonald’s just to get some warmth and to sit for 20 mins or so. Some stay in back streets in a house no bigger than your living room/kitchen combined. However, every main street and subway entrance has guides as well as two, suited and booted Train police standing guard. There are 4 entrances to each subway, so x 4 guides and guards, as well as the standard airport security as you go down the Underground. On bridges, car parks, beside the thousands of public toilets and shops, shopping malls, there are tons of people on hand to serve, help etc; which must be great for the job market.
The hostel was good, which you should see from a previous post. Don’t be dismayed by a gaff being called a hostel. Wifi was great, English speaking for advice, they organised a doozy trip and they let me borrow a travel guide book for a day.
I could not hack the spitting that goes on. Boys wander out shops and gob on the ground. It’s disgusting, it goes on all the time and I canny hack it. Imagine if you will what goes through your mind when a black cat walks in front of you? Well, when, a boy sitting on a crate some ten yards in front of me spits, I’m thinking, you done that on purpose cos I’m about to walk there, so I give his a massive Wardy stare!
The place is kept clean, with tons of public toilets that do smell truly honking, but are clean and safe to use. Nae George Michael’s on the go which is a bonus. I don’t know the Chinese for stop staring at ma dick neebs.
Prices are daft and out of kilter. Most subway journeys cost 3rmb, which is aboot 35p. I could travel across Beijing for the price of a packet of monster munch 😯😯. McDonald’s meal is about £5, which is standard, but I could get a large tube of flavoured noodles (like 2 x naked noodles) for 70p. Fruit, nuts and local cafes are the way to go and you hardly spend anything. A meal with beer is about 12 rmb = £1.50.
Beers range from £3-£4 in bars and the night life start pretty late. Up to £5 in the Irish Bar, while juice is commonly £1.50 for a bottle of pop. I need to Google the Chinese for Gin, cos I’ve bought a bottle of vodka that’s like 60% – pure dead mad mental juice, let me tell ya, helps me sleep tho. It’s funny, a boy spotted my Northern Soul t-shirt in a hypermarket and started chatting, he had picked a similar vodka, so I gave him a standard warning.
Most don’t speak great English and why would they. I found screen shotting very handy, especially for ordering dumplings. Plan as much as you can before you arrive. Get a Beijing road and subway map. You get them in lonely planet books. They are life savers as most places don’t have city guides to hand. For everything else, just go with the flow and live it on the hoof.