High tech, low life. East China
The idea of & nbsp; to drive to China was thrown to me by a friend from Siberia. At first I still had a little doubt, but when I stayed with her in January, all doubts disappeared by themselves. Initially, the plan was to drive along the east coast from Beijing to Hong Kong, but by the summer such tickets turned out to be much more expensive and we decided to enjoy only a few cities, but to the fullest. It’s also funny that the cheapest option turned out to be tickets with a transfer in Switzerland. Happenes. 🙂
Our exploration plan:
After a 9 hour flight from Zurich to Beijing, we are finally at the Capital Airport. Very stuffy and hot, although only 5 am. We deal with what is happening, plans, wishes, public transport. We get on the bus and go to the city. An hour later, the first understanding of the size of the metropolis comes. We leave, change to the subway, another 20 minutes we go to the center, to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
We fall into our hostel, we get through for a couple of hours to at least some kind of Internet. It was not fun to navigate without Google Maps. Without Google search, even more. I felt myself blind by a half eyes. We decided to take a walk just like that, to see what is nearby.
A friend was stuck in every shop along the way, some were really cool. In grocery stores, I wanted to TRY EVERYTHING. Well, almost everything.
I just really wanted to finally get my skates and ride around this city, but as soon as we returned, the weather turned badly and it started to rain. I had to postpone this case. It was very upsetting, because I looked at all these ideal bike paths with really burning eyes.
In the hostel I met a man from Mongolia who suddenly knew Russian quite well. Introduced him to his Siberian friend, in the evening he invited us to a kebab dinner. It was hard to refuse such a meat offer. Actually, this was the beginning of our real acquaintance with the local cuisine.
In the morning I also met a student from Harbin, who came to some get-together of neuroengineers. As a result, we walked together all day, having managed to climb several places from my list “Must see in Beijing.” Parks impressed me most of all. They are not just cute here, they are very large, rich and so clean and well-groomed that it is even difficult for a person living in the post-Soviet space to imagine.
At night I got out to roller-skate, but at about two o’clock such a downpour began that I returned to the hostel only in the morning. On foot. Because I haven’t learned to swim in rollers yet. As a result, I slept for half a day, and the rest of the day was chill-out. Only in the evening did the realization come that tomorrow we are already going to Shanghai.
The high speed trains are impressive. They look modern and very technologically, inside you feel as if you were in an plane. Thanks to them, we flew 1300 km from Beijing to Shanghai in 4 hours, reaching our destination by lunchtime. I thought that a little more, and trains here will travel faster than planes. We already have magnetic levitation, it remains to build vacuum tunnels, and … Oh, yes.
Literally the day before, I walked around the night hutons and saw a huge number of poor people who had nowhere to sleep and hardly had anything to eat in the morning for breakfast, even a few houses that did not have windows or one of the walls fell off. In the center of the capital there are parks, historical sites, city buildings – yes, in good condition, but ordinary people, most of them, live in deep poverty. To say that it was an unrealistic contrast is to say nothing. It was a revolution in consciousness.
Skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. There are an incredible number of them. I felt as if I had moved not in space, but in time. The epic nature of the situation is added by the understanding that 30 years ago on the site of such a modern new city there was an ordinary Chinese village. At the site of the Shanghai World Financial Center, cows grazed. : 3
Large-scale shopping centers in Chinese. A huge number of European brands and local labels mowing quality for them. Tellingly, there are practically no local brands here.
Bund Bund is a tourist default spot. Looks cooler in the evening with the view of shining Pudong, the new center. And in the morning there is just a wonderful sunrise: the sun comes out of the depths of the ocean in the east, while first the tops of skyscrapers are illuminated first, and then the sun’s rays slowly and gently descend lower and lower, onto the streets of the still sleeping metropolis. Sticky.
We also found a cool art cluster called M50. It was very disappointing that we arrived late by Chinese standards, and it was already closing. But even two hours of looking at countless workshops, studios, exhibitions, cafes, installations, sculptures and a bunch of other things turned out to be enough to understand that any our art quarters in quality and especially in scale just nervously smoke on the sidelines.
We had one night left before leaving for Qingdao. A friend said that she was tired, so she went to bed, and I definitely did not have enough to see more of this city. Understanding the scale and how little I had time to watch made me very upset, so at about one in the morning I took out my videos and drove to catch up.)
I rode like this until the very morning, and then in the morning at rush hour, special human pushers tried to push us into the subway car. Badly rumpled, they still missed their high-speed train. I already began to secretly rejoice that we would stay here a little longer, but the kind Chinese said that they had free tickets replacement, even if you bought it yourself. Considering that the ticket cost almost $ 100, the replacement for the next flight was unexpected like a double rainbow in a coal mine.
And Qingdao turned out to be a cute resort town. Due to being late and changing tickets, we arrived here almost at night, and the next day we had to leave, so we just walked along the embankment, where the greatest concentration of cool places.
I took every opportunity to sit. : D
By nightfall, the whole city was covered with a terrible smog. Here it is, in principle, a normal phenomenon, but somehow I did not expect to see so dense in a small town. It’s amazing how people generally live with such an ecology, if even a healthy person (yes, I’m hinting at myself!) Sometimes finds it hard to breathe.
We had a return plane from Beijing, and in our plans we had a couple of interesting places, so we decided to spend the last three days in this city.
But this was our double room. The intimacy of the situation just went off scale.) Then I was told that this joke can be found not only among these guys and even not only in China. But it’s one thing to listen to stories about this, and quite another to find yourself in such a situation yourself. Okay, also me, but I’m afraid to even imagine myself how at that moment the girl with whom I was traveling felt.
The wall is cool. One can feel the scale and some monumental grandeur of this building. The only thing that really upset was that the plots were isolated from each other. I was going to walk at least 5 kilometers from Badalin, but after a kilometer I buried myself in a bunch of fences. Climbed over. Behind the fences dozens of cameras. Well, okay, I still moved far enough to take a couple of good shots without people in the frame.
Another must-see place in Beijing is the Summer Palace. A place that gives a very good understanding of the level of stubbornness of the Chinese. The lake, part of which is visible in the photo, was dug by hand. The mountain on which the palace was built is, in fact, the very earth that was dug up. More than 3000 buildings. The total area is 290 hectares. We bet you won’t get around everything in a day?
The last couple of days have turned on the free swimming mode. My friend went in search of happiness to the endless expanses of the markets, and I wanted to see more lifestyle and knew exactly what I would do.
And look [as if it were the last time in this country].
But I’m definitely not here for the last time.