A Travellerspoint blog

April 2017

Zaijian China

sunny 22 °C

The sun has come out to welcome us back to Hong Kong as we make our way home...
While Hong Kong may have officially been part of China for the past 20 years there's still plenty of reminders of its days in the British Empire. There is a Marks & Spencer's store in every mall; ancient trams bearing ads for Holland & Barrett rattle along the streets ; and you can take a double-decker to the seaside at Aberdeen or Stanley...
Hong Kong is bursting with deep-pocketed tourists and wealthy Chinese who've slipped over the border in search of genuine luxury goods. However, in this part of the world you can't be certain that anything is the real McCoy. One Hong Kong retailer very seriously offered James a “Genuine handmade fake Rolex.”

As this is our last blog of this trip we thought we would mention a few things that might really surprise you about China.

Unlike one recently elected president, most Chinese are very environmentally conscious and are well aware of the need to improve air and water quality. Electric cars, scooters and bikes are fast becoming the norm...
China's public toilets, which used to be as sanitary as typhoid fever, are now spotlessly clean, easily found and always free. The Guangzhou Metro service even posts maps showing where to find the loo at each underground station...
All transportation is fairly inexpensive in China. There are thousands of miles of multi-lane toll highways with impressive bridges and tunnels, but don't expect anyone to stop for you at a pedestrian crossing. The cars and buses are as good as anywhere in the West, although some of the farmers' vehicles were kicking around in the days of Mao...
The vast network of high speed rail lines is truly impressive, with world class stations and sleek bullet trains – be prepared to be wowed at more than 300 kilometres an hour.

China is generally a very clean country with an army of roadsweepers and garbage collectors keeping public spaces spotless. As for hygiene: The food isn't always appealing to us westerners, but the food handlers certainly are. Plastic gloves, hairnets and sneeze-guards are the norm and the chefs' uniforms are usually spotless...
While some food prices are lower than in the west they have increased considerably since our last visit. You might still get a bowl of noodles or some dumplings for a couple of bucks in a local cafe, but you can easily pay upwards of fifty dollars a head for dinner in a classy restaurant...
China isn't cheap today, (unless you are willing to rough it), and hundreds of millions of nouveau-riche Chinese have embraced the soft life. Hotel rooms and beds are huge and very comfy and the luxurious bed linens the envy of all. But when it comes to coffee the Chinese are getting hosed. The smallest Starbucks drip coffee will set you back some $7 Cdn and local coffee shops aren't much cheaper.

Despite English language being mandatory in schools most folk aren't willing to give it a go in public. Luckily for us Sheila had enough Mandarin to get us through, but almost all Chinese have a smartphone with a translate app so communication is rarely a problem today – although the results can sometimes be a little confusing...
In short: today's China is clean, easily navigated and a fascinating country populated with friendly, helpful locals who will almost certainly want to be pictured with you. The Chinese are, in general, a happy, noisy, fun loving bunch who adore their families and are kind to strangers and want nothing more than world peace and a comfortable life. In short – the Chinese are just like us.

So, zaijian to China. We will be back. And goodbye to our friend Christine and to you dear blog reader. We look forward to your company next time on Blissful Adventures when we hope to introduce you to yet more beautiful and amazing places in our wonderful world.
Farewell for now from us and from our many Chinese friends...
See you soon.

Posted by Hawkson 21:33 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (13)

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