Well, finally, I'm leaving China. I left China proper two weeks ago, but some people consider Macau and Hong Kong part of China, so I guess I'm really leaving today. Didn't really expect to stay this long but it's been awesome. Here is a wrap up of stuff I've left out, obsessed about and random tidbits.
* Guess that brings up my first point. For me to enter Hong Kong and Macau I just need my passport. For XiaoYu, a Chinese Citizen to enter another part of China she needs a special permit. This permit is basically like a visa, limited stay and limited entry. In fact her permit only allowed her in Macau and Hong Kong each one time and only allowed her to stay 7 days. On the other hand, a LaoWai (Foreigner) like me got 30 days and 90 days respectively.
* The fireworks display in China is just awesome and scary. They fire everything and they do it everywhere. In the streets, throw it at cars, in their backyards, off their balconies, etc... So between New Years and a week after New Years it's pretty much constant fireworks and firecrackers. Nanjing sound liked a war zone, firecrackers echoing off the office buildings, fireworks illuminating the night AND day sky. Just crazy. Macau had an official firework zone and from XiaoYu's cousin's place we could see and hear both of them. Firecrackers started about 3-4pm in the afternoon, fireworks started as soon as it got dark and went on until about 2am. Just crazy and awesome, took some pictures and posted them. If any of you have been following the news, a brand new hotel burned down in Beijing because CCTV (the official Chinese Television company) illegally set off fireworks in their own compound and burned their new hotel down.
* I was called 'Shu Shu' for the first time and really felt like strangling the kid for some reason. 'Shu Shu' means uncle; a male of your father's generation, more specifically a male of your father's generation younger than your father. This was one of the kids China Climb had over from Shanghai and I was the group leader. It's like being called 'Sir' for the first time, but in that case it meant you were an adult. This meant I was old enough to be the kid's dad. Crazy...
* Macau and Hong Kong are just EXPENSIVE (compared to China). Before I rant, for reference 1 USD = 6.82 RMB (China) = 7.99 MOP (Macau ) = 7.75 HKD (Hong Kong). Now the smart people in the streets of Macau decided that 1 RMB = 1 MOP = 1 HKD. You realize how bad a trade that is, for every 100 RMB you lost 15 RMB, for a 100 HKD you lost 5 HKD. Some schmuck at a restaurant gave me change in MOP when I paid in HKD, didn't fight (but argued) with him cause it was 1am and he was the only place open. Anyway, back my point, EXPENSIVE (compared to China). A full meal that would fill me up in Macau was costing me about 70-80 MOP, or 10 USD (reasonable....), but in China that same meal would cost me about 30 RMB, or 34 MOP. So in China when I had 1000 RMB (146 USD) in my wallet, it'd pretty much last 3-4 weeks; in other words I spend $146 USD in 3-4 weeks - no plastic. In Macau, 1000 MOP (125 USD) left my wallet in 3 days. Granted in China I cooked more and wasn't sight seeing as much, but still! Can't wait until I get to Oz and see the sticker shock there!
* I've been to China many times, been to Thailand and Vietnam. I'm pretty sure I ranted about this the last time I was in Thailand and Vietnam, but here it is again. It's CROWDED here! People have no respect for personal space. You'd think that if you were afraid of pick pockets you'd give space. Instead these people crowd, shove and butt in lines! At both Disneyland and Ocean Park in Hong Kong people pushed and shoved like it was the end of the world! So you are standing in line and the person behind you either bumps you every time the line moves and stops, tries to casually edge past you, or if you leave anything more that 3 foot of space between you and the person in front of you, tries to shove into that space or yell at you to move into that space. Look, you are in line, even if I leave the whole queue in front of open, you still have to wait for me to go before you can go, the open space doesn't matter! What is with this bumping and pushing? Is being 1 foot closer to me going to make a difference, make the line go faster? That some how bumping me will make the line go faster? That like electrons, they can bump the one in front and create a current? I was standing at the airport in Guanzhou, I had all our bags and was waiting for XiaoYu to come back from the bathroom. I stood 15 feet (3 meters) away from the luggage carousel and the space behind me was empty - nearest wall was 60-70 feet (20 meters) away from me. This guy pushing a luggage cart going around me, runs over my foot! WTF!?!? All the open space and he runs over my foot? What don't you just make a little wider turn! Why the tight turn? Was he practicing for his F1 race and need to make tight turns to save seconds??? By the way, he was 60+.
Thanks for reading my rant guys. Hope you are all doing well!
PS, Sis: I do miss you.