Sunday, December 22, 2013

Back from China

Well, 6 weeks in China passed quickly in the end.  It was certainly the experience of a lifetime, and I spent a lot of time feeling either surrounded or lonely, or both.  But I learned a great deal about myself, about others, and generally what I have to be grateful for.  I had hoped to blog more while away, but the internet was slow, intermittent, and I had to keep setting up a virtual private network just to log in to blogger!

The food was amazing.  Mostly.  My favourite thing was the roasted tofu, which was served up pretty much anytime I sat down to eat.  Vegetarians the world over get the same comments,
"How do you not eat meat?  You are missing out on some good food."

Well, given how many wonderful vegetarian options are available in China, no one needs to eat meat if they don't want to.  I was served gorgeous dumplings and wonderful soups, as well as my favourite new meal, Hot Pot.

We were staying up in Changchun, which is in Northern China, up near Mongolia, Russia and Korea.  The food has influences from all these areas, and becomes really spicy.  The town is famous for ginseng, and they try to sell it to tourists.  Then we came down to Beijing which was a completely different lifestyle and food.  Finally, Guangzhou, where everything was again tropical, and much more like food I am familiar with while overseas.

Those of you who know my love for Blackmilk Clothing, well, I have never been so thankful for their leggings!  I wore them every day in sub-zero temperatures, kept warm, looked awesome, and they wash and dry by hand overnight!  So good. There will so be a series of travel tips for being overseas for extended time periods, as well as dealing with travel in China.

The worst experiences I had were in Chinese airports.  Here being different wasn't such a good thing.  Being drug swabbed, felt over for all sorts of things, removing shoes for scans, and being man-handled as no one spoke enough English to tell me what was going on.  I felt like crying going through this twice in one morning, so I went and found a European toilet and sobbed my eyes out, then put on my metaphorical big girl pants, and just got on with it.

Over the next week or so, I will write up my food experiences in China.  I will be sharing my food experiences on my other blog, "At Home with the Lunchbox Guru", so feel free to browse both.  And I'll be tagging the posts with "The China Experience" just to keep the series together.