The Lounge Guidelines Help Search Members Calendar Blogs

Welcome Guest [ Log In | Register ] ]

24 Pages V  < 1 2 3 4 > »   
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> On the Road Again: The Travel Thread
epinephrine
post Jan 11 2011, 03:18 AM
Post #21


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


Sparkledust, while I acknowledge the seriousness of the issue you're posting and agree that it needs attention, posting it in the relevant threads (like the Feminist Outrage thread, which you seem to have found) will do just fine. Running around posting stuff anywhere and everywhere is not a good way to get yourself taken seriously here.


...



So my travel plans have gone sideways, as they will do. Oh well. I plan on having an awesome time anyway. My Japan trip got shortened due to prohibitively expensive tickets during the time I wanted to leave and now I'll have to cancel it altogether because the trip back would have cost me three times what it cost to get there. Those flights to and from Japan would have eaten up almost my entire budget for the month, and while I'm not new to living on a shoestring, being broke in a foreign country makes me very nervous. So I'm sad about that. But I'll be keeping an eye on ticket prices and when I see an opportunity I'll jump on it, even if it means skipping some classes.

So, my new plan is to take a train to Xi'an this week (whenever I can get that plane ticket to Japan cancelled and can be sure I'll get the money back - ugh), spend a few days there, and then take a train to Beijing and spend a week with a close family friend's brother. She's insisting I stay with them, so I guess I don't need to feel guilty and reluctant to accept their hospitality. I hope it goes smoothly. On the 30th I'll take another long-distance train to Xuzhou (which, as it happens, is the hometown of my friend's parents!), spend New Year's with B and his family (and my roommate, who'll be joining us there), and what follows after that will probably be fairly spontaneous. I'm still looking at ticket prices for Japan and if I can find something cheap by then I may make another stab at it. I have always wanted to go to Japan and I'm not going to let the opportunity pass me by when I'm already so close!

In all likelihood, Japan will still be too expensive, so I'll probably end up going to Shenzhen and Hong Kong for a few days and then heading back toward Chongqing. I may tack on a visit to my friend in Sichuan at the end if I can manage it. We shall see.

Just a couple days left in my safe haven here before I go out alone. I'm kinda nervous. I know it won't be flawless and the mishaps will be a part of the experience, but hopefully nothing really major goes wrong. At least I know there are people I can call if I have trouble.

I'm going to try to avoid the tourist stuff more this time. It'll be hard, because sometimes the tourist stuff sounds so cool. But it's always more expensive than it's worth. I'm perfectly happy to just walk around and take in the sights and eat cheap street food, so I should just stick with that. I hear the university campuses can be cool, too. I plan to check out Beijing University while I'm there.


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
sparkledust710
post Jan 1 2011, 02:14 PM
Post #22


Newbie
*
Posts: 4


I am posting this in most of the threads here because this is a serious issue that does need attention.
Please everyone click the link and sign the petition.
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/south...pe_a_hate-crime

"Corrective Rape" is a term used to describe when a male rapes a lesbian with the aim of 'turning' her heterosexual! This heinous crime is prolific in South Africa, especially in the "townships". Most of the victims are tortured, grievously assaulted and sometimes murdered! The South African government and justice system are failing the victims of Corrective Rape by letting the perpetrators out on ridiculously low bail, and taking literally years to bring the court-cases to a conclusion. In the meantime the victims have to live with seeing and being taunted and threatened by their rapists every day, as do those who help the victims!

In the last 10 years:
*31 lesbian women have been murdered because of their sexuality
*More than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone
*150 women are raped every day in South Africa
*For every 25 men accused of rape in South Africa, 24 walk free

This is very serious and people of the world need to come together and stop this injustice from continuing to happen.
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/south...pe_a_hate-crime


--------------------
The South African government and justice system are failing the victims of rape by letting the perpetrators out on ridiculously low bail, and taking literally years to bring the court-cases to a conclusion. In the meantime the victims have to live with seeing and being taunted and threatened by their rapists every day, as do those who help the victims!

In the last 10 years:
*31 lesbian women have been murdered because of their sexuality
*More than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone
*150 women are raped every day in South Africa
*For every 25 men accused of rape in South Africa, 24 walk free


Please sign the petition to help stop this injustice.

Click Here to Sign

And please repost this wherever you can to help spread the message.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Dec 20 2010, 08:17 AM
Post #23


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


First things first: Chengdu pics!

So I've started to get my plans figured out for spring festival. I'm on vacation from the 6th of January to the 20th of February, and I'm planning on seeing a few people and places in China and Japan. The New Year falls on February 1st, and my friend B has invited the roommate and I to spend it at his place in Xuzhou, a smaller, less fashionable city in northern Jiangsu province. I'm really excited to go somewhere less polished and touristy and see China from a local perspective. I'm planning on spending two weeks checking out Xuzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai and Hangzhou, which are all within a few hours from each other by train. Hopefully I can convince B to hop a train with us and spend a few days travelling. During the other four weeks I plan to see Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and my friend's hometown in Sichuan whose name I can't remember. Here's the basic skeleton of my itinerary:

Week 1-2: Possibly spend the first few days of the vacation visiting my friend in Sichuan. Then fly to Japan and visit with my friend in Tokyo. I might decide to hop a train and see some more of Japan if I feel I've got the time (and the money).
Week 3: Fly to Beijing and spend a week there. A very good friend of my family is from Beijing and she's told me I'm more than welcome to visit with her family there.
Week 4-5: Take a train to Xuzhou, which is apparently the midpoint on the railroad between Beijing and Shanghai. Spend Chinese New Year celebrating and scarfing homemade dumplings with B, his family and my roommate. Explore Xuzhou for a few days and then take a train to Suzhou, which is supposed to be a beautiful city to visit, and which is conveniently situated right between Xuzhou and Shanghai. Spend a couple days in Suzhou and then on to Shanghai. I haven't figured out exactly when and from where would be the most convenient, but if I can I'll squeeze in a trip to Hangzhou, which is quite close and is supposed to be stunningly gorgeous - they call it the Venice of China.
Week 6: From Shanghai, take a train south to Shenzhen, which is much cheaper to travel to than Hong Kong, which is apparently spitting distance away. If Shenzhen looks cool I might spend the day there. Then I'll take a bus or something to Hong Kong and spend a week gorging myself on seafood, dim sum and tofu pudding. I might meet up with one of my dad's colleagues, who used to be a foreign correspondent in China for a while and now lives in Hong Kong doing various interesting things. Then I fly back to Chongqing from wherever I can get a cheap ticket; I don't know much about air fares from Shenzhen, but that's the most likely option.

Whew. I'll be so broke and exhausted after all this. But I'm so excited! I'll have my Chinese friends help me buy my plane tickets online this week. Even though I'd traveled before and I've been living in China for over three months now, it wasn't until my trip to Chengdu this weekend when I really got a taste of the freedom of arriving in a new city with nothing but a small backpack, carrying nothing but the absolute essentials, with no obligations except to enjoy yourself, spiked with the exhilarating challenge of having to figure out how to function, survive and get around all by yourself. As clumsily as we handled it, newbies that we are, I felt more free and independent during that trip last weekend than I've ever felt in my life. I suppose that's the travel bug I'm feeling rolleyes.gif Also, as I'm sure you all know, I don't get along so well with my roommate. So I've decided that, except for the Xuzhou-Suzhou-Hangzhou-Shanghai trip, I won't be travelling with her. It'll be my first time travelling solo. I'm a bit nervous, but mostly just super excited!


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Dec 13 2010, 06:15 PM
Post #24


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


I'm back, safe and sound. Chengdu was awesome! I'm pretty sure I'll be making another trip there in the next few months. Just wrote a blog post about it; go check it out for details! I'll be editing up my photos and putting them on FB this afternoon, too. I'll post a link for you guys.


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Dec 11 2010, 11:27 PM
Post #25


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


So I'm in a teahouse inChengdu now, sipping jasmine tea and eating tomato fried eggs. When we arrived at the station on friday a couple of people approached us to advertise their hostel, and it turned out to be the same place you stayed at, Sybarite! The place is a dream - we're staying in a 4 bed dorm but nobody else is there, and we've got a private bathroom, too. One thing about Chengdu is that it's a damn confusing city - we're continually lost here, but it's just part of the adventure now. We went shopping at a really cool market yesterday - after getting lost on the way to the temple - and then we checked out the gay bar. Sichuan opera tonight!


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
sybarite
post Dec 8 2010, 07:23 AM
Post #26


it's cards on the table time
***
Posts: 1,993


Seeing the pandas was sweet but unsettling, because as you say, they are effectively kept for people to gawp at. They seem comfortable though and have a lot a room to wander around; they're not restricted to the indoors. Watching the people watching the pandas was interesting: a lot of people are just obsessed. Also, it is exactly as you describe: for an extra fee you get to hold one and get your picture taken. A few people did this and they looked really moved by it--I think pandas are cute (and lazy) but the level of adoration is bananas.

We flew to Llasa from Chengdu, having acquired a tourist visa there. Even arriving at the airport was stunning; the air is so clear and you're just surrounded by the Himalayas. There's a high-altitude train that goes there too which sounds kind of awesome (but is apparently very busy and books up in advance). We both got a degree of altitude sickness; my dude had it worse than I did and was laid out for almost a day, so it is a real factor. It made me lethargic and climbing stairs was hard, but otherwise I was okay. You can get canisters of oxygen but they really only stop you getting dizzy. I was conscious that it is essentially a pilgrimage destination, and didn't want to appear disrespectful, but the Tibetans were just lovely, warm and welcoming. There were some Westerners around and (increasingly apparently) Han Chinese too. If you can manage it I would really recommend you go. We stayed in a great, Tibetan owned place.

FWIW, the guesthouse we stayed in was actually primarily a hostel; I just got princessy and wanted our own loo so we got a room.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
auralpoison
post Dec 6 2010, 11:12 PM
Post #27


Big Fat Bitch
***
Posts: 4,932
From: Citizen of the world


I am learning such interesting things about China & such! Yea!


--------------------
"You're cute, like a velvet glove cast in iron. And like a gas chamber, a real fun gal."
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Dec 6 2010, 10:08 AM
Post #28


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


Thanks for the tips. How was the panda experience? I'm kind of curious but I'm afraid I'd be paying some company a lot of money to watch their poor miserable pandas rot in a cage. Zoos make me sad. I read about one panda place on Wikitravel and it sounded so comical: "Fees are as follows: look at a panda, 70 Y. Hold a baby panda, 1100 Y. Stand next to an adult panda, 500 Y." Oh, China. You are so funny sometimes.

I've been thinking about going to Tibet, but was wondering if it might be troublesome with travel times, altitude sickness, political sensitivity etc. How did you get there? I've heard there are places in western Sichuan, bordering on Tibet, that retained a lot of the traditional Tibetan culture after the Chinese took over Tibet. I'm going to look into that, for sure.

I totally love visiting temples and I'm making those a priority for sure. The fact that the ones I read about in Chengdu all seem to have tea houses and vegetarian restaurants operating out of them is a huge bonus, as I'm vegetarian and sometimes I get tired of having to be so careful when ordering food in Chinese. Chengdu is also supposed to have good nightlife , including some gay bars, so between the temples, vegetarian cuisine, world-famous tea culture and some queer nightlife I'm all set to have a wicked time over there. For the sake of preserving funds for my future travels (especially Japan - I expect that'll be a shock to my system after getting used to the easy living here in China!) I'll probably just find a cheap youth hostel to stay in; hopefully they're not total fleabags.

I've heard Tokyo never sleeps; I think when I go there I'm going to drink tons of coffee and stay up all night a couple times just walking around and absorbing it all. I've always wanted to go to Japan - I'm super, super excited just thinking about it. The history, the food, the scenery, the art, the food, the architecture, the fashion, the cultural quirks, that juxtaposition of hypermodernism with rigid traditionalism, the food...oh my god. So excited.


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
sybarite
post Dec 4 2010, 03:54 PM
Post #29


it's cards on the table time
***
Posts: 1,993


Also, are you able to get to Llasa? I would definitely recommend it: absolutely extraordinary.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
sybarite
post Dec 4 2010, 03:53 PM
Post #30


it's cards on the table time
***
Posts: 1,993


Our main reason for visiting Chengdu was to see the pandas there, but we also caught some traditional Chinese theatre and the place we stayed in (that I linked to before) was right next to a traditional Chinese monastery (I think; it was surrounded by a kind of traditional village, touristy but we hadn't seen anything like it before). There's also a moon bear sanctuary outside the city which was heartbreaking, but it was good to see the work they do. For us it was our only visit to a mainland Chinese city, so in a way our experience was more generic. We never quite figured out the restaurants I'm afraid, but stumbled across some great sichuan food anyway. Sorry I can't be more help!

My other half knows SE Asia far better than I and he rates Cambodia, especially Angkor Wat. He stayed in Siem Reap and visited the temples from there; I might be able to find the guesthouse he stayed in for you. He also liked the capital, Phnom Penh. He really liked Laos as well. My sister also travelled SE Asia and had great things to say about Laos too. She was less taken by Vietnam, but that could be because they got lost while there which was tricky.

Don't forget the cat cafes in Tokyo! I think if I went to Japan I'd want to take one of those amazing trains north, maybe to Kyoto, and see some traditional buildings and temples. I would love to visit Tokyo too, I just imagine it as a kind of super pop culture city.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Dec 4 2010, 05:45 AM
Post #31


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


It's time I started making travel plans for the spring holiday, and with so many options I'm kind of at a loss. I'm definitely planning on going to Japan to visit a good friend in Tokyo. I also might check out Hangzhou and Hong Kong, or maybe Taiwan. And I've always wanted to go to Thailand and Viet Nam. I'm scared to start planning because there are so many things I want to do and I know I can't do them all. Anyone have any suggestions? Things I absolutely must see/do while I'm in Asia? Travel tips? What should I do in Japan besides eat sushi and try to find those fabled porno vending machines and used panty stores?

Until the holidays come around I'm going to try to make better use of my weekends here to see some more of the surrounding area - Chongqing, Sichuan, maybe Yunnan. I'm planning on checking out Chengdu next weekend. Sybarite, since you've been there, what do you recommend?


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Nov 15 2010, 03:01 AM
Post #32


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


Ok, I've finally put another post on my blog and I've got two more started that I hope to post this week. I'm keeping busy with studying and haven't been too diligent about blogging or Busting lately, but I'll try to get on top of things!

Koffeewitch, I remember discussing The Good Earth with you! We probably went over this already, but did you read Wild Swans by Jung Chang? Totally amazing book, even for people who aren't fascinated by China like we are. It blew my mind.


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
koffeewitch
post Oct 20 2010, 11:38 AM
Post #33


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 474
From: the Hundred Acre Woods


Thanks so much for sharing your photos, epi...I've long had a fascination with China, but know it only from the novels and Chinese movies I've devoured over the years. (Weren't you the one I was discussing The Good Earth with in our Reader thread?)

Lately I've been learning some very basic characters and their history...so fascinating to me, especially when I see that the character for "to want" is made up of the signs for western woman or the character for "good" is made of a woman and child under a roof. I can only imagine what it must feel like to walk through modern cities that are really ancient and steeped in a culture that gave so many brilliant inventions and technological advances to the rest of the world.

I'm really crazy about traditional Chinese handicrafts...the knot work, the paper lanterns and masks, the tiger-faced shoes, the embroidery, the demon-faced caps that protect little babies from evil, the silk and woven fabrics...

I really hope you keep letting us in on your traveling stories; I, for one, am dying to hear everything!


--------------------
"The U.S. is the only nation on Earth to pass from barbarism into decadence without once passing through an era of civilization."
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Oct 18 2010, 07:18 AM
Post #34


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


After mucking around for a while on different sites I've discovered that Facebook actually loads photos faster than anything else I've used, and it suits my purposes much more neatly, so check out my pictures here.

My friend B (the art major) introduced me to one of his classmates the other day, and this weekend she took me to a big art show at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, one of China's best art schools. It was absolutely amazing. The entire campus was covered in art; I'd taken dozens of pictures before we even got to the show, which was huge. It would take days to see the whole thing. Check the pics!


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Sep 30 2010, 11:14 AM
Post #35


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


Thanks for the link, Sybarite! That place looks super cute and the prices are really reasonable. Did you check out the traditional teahouses when you were in Chengdu? I hear it's famous for them, and I'm a huge sucker for all things traditional, antique and vintage.

Today was a good day. Finally got to relax after a long, long week - we've been making up classes on the weekends for the ones we miss over the holidays, and we'd done 6 or 7 days in a row. Then one of my Chinese friends treated my roommate and I to Chongqing hotpot again. Aside from the alarming quantities of oil it involves, I'm really digging the hotpot here. The locals are so proud of it we could probably stay here all year without ever spending a penny on food because everyone is always offering to take us to try the famous Chongqing hotpot. Although I'm a big fan of spicy food, I still prefer the much lighter, seafood-rich Hong Kong style hot pot because the broth has no oil and you get to mix your own dipping sauce out of all kinds of ingredients. I really love the simplicity, variety, and free-for-all social atmosphere of hotpot. My favourite things are the yam noodles - the texture is just so thick and chewy and satisfying. I really love biting into a big juicy, crunchy bundle of enoki mushrooms, too. Also tried long, thin strips of cucumber - so refreshing. I was super jealous watching my non-vegetarian friends eat beef tendon - it always looks so good.

Plans have started materializing for the National Week holiday. We still haven't been to Beifangjie, Chongqing's downtown district, so one of our Chinese friends has offered to take us on Saturday. Sunday is my birthday, and the same friend who took us to dinner tonight will be taking us to see the Dazu rock carvings, a famous UNESCO world heritage site. I'm also hoping to climb another mountain - I have to get as much exercise as possible to work off all the damn hotpot people keep feeding me! The season abruptly changed from summer to fall about a week ago and the temperature dropped overnight from the high 30s to the low 20s, so exploring the city is much more appealing now. I also really want to go and get some nice photos of the campus, too - I still can't believe how gorgeous it is here. It's got everything - 20-foot-high bamboo, weird exotic trees with trunks like twisted ropes and creepy tendrils and vines coming off of them everywhere, koi ponds, statues of various famous communists, courtyards, tea gardens, backstreets and staircases rambling through the overgrowth...





--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
sybarite
post Sep 30 2010, 04:07 AM
Post #36


it's cards on the table time
***
Posts: 1,993


Epi, fyi we stayed here when we went to Chengdu, in probably their most expensive room which was private and had a balcony. Food wasn't great but the bar/cafe area was friendly without being hectic and our room was nice (w/ shower and toilet). It's also a stone's throw from a historical street and temple with lots of restaurants nearby.

Don't worry too much about the night out; better to run into that taboo earlier rather than later, and you weren't to know.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
epinephrine
post Sep 29 2010, 10:20 PM
Post #37


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 636
From: Chongqing, China


Thanks guys. That experience drinking with the Chinese was pretty ugly. It only started to sink in afterward just how taboo it is for women to get drunk here, but there's not much I can do now except suppress the memory and move on. I'm feeling better now. I think the depression could be partly due to PMS, actually; I'll know in a day or two...

National Week starts tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to another week of exploring and adventuring around the city! They have so many holidays here, it's hilarious. I've been in school under a month and I've already had two vacations. I was hoping to check out Chengdu this week, but my passport is with the police until my residence permit is processed, so I probably won't be able to do much travelling. I hear it's possible to travel around in China without a passport, but it's not a good idea. Chongqing is a big city, though - I'm sure I'll be able to stay occupied!

ETA: PMS theory confirmed. God, and they say it's just a myth...


--------------------
To be free one must give up a little part of oneself.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
sybarite
post Sep 29 2010, 08:10 AM
Post #38


it's cards on the table time
***
Posts: 1,993


Epi, I agree with what sukouyant said: the fact that you are aware of your inadvertent 'faux pas' indicates you are culturally sensitive and people around you will see and appreciate that.

I do know how you feel: I moved to another country across the ocean when I was 19 (and then to another when I was 25) and it felt like there were so many small everyday things to learn about how people interacted differently with each other. You'll get used to taking these on board though and learning how to live in a foreign country, on their terms, is an awesome thing that will stand you well in the future.

But come here and vent too if it helps smile.gif
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
sukouyant
post Sep 28 2010, 10:20 PM
Post #39


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 342
From: Canada


Yup, the good, the bad, the ugly, that's what the forum is here for Epi *hugs to you*
TBH I went on a long trip to another country in my early twenties, and it was only in hindsight that the wincing began. You're a lot more sensitive to your surroundings than I was and that's probably a good sign - maybe you're not as clueless as you feel. You're sensitive and that means you're probably a faster learner than most.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
ketto
post Sep 28 2010, 03:07 PM
Post #40


Hardcore BUSTie
***
Posts: 695
From: Winter Land


(((epi)))
I know this is probably cold comfort, but remember what an amazing thing you're doing. Some people never get the chance to even leave their country and you're on the other side of the world immersing yourself in a whole new way of life. It's terrifying but I think you're amazingly brave and inspiring for doing it.

I do'nt have any great ideas to beat homesickness but if you ever need to come in here and vent, please do. You've always got some support here. smile.gif


--------------------
Meow.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

24 Pages V  < 1 2 3 4 > » 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

Lo-Fi Version Time is now: April 24, 2014 - 11:18 AM