The China Experience

Alright, one more post about our trip.  It almost feels like it was a dream.

This post took me forever to write.  Not only because it's five novels long, but because I can hardly find enough time in my day to work since my child is ALL OVER THE PLACE.  Or should I say, my child is in the pantry shaking the oatmeal and playing with the box of Monsters.

Arriving in Beijing was exciting!  Exiting the terminal, we couldn't find our guide who was supposed to be standing with a sign.  That would have gotten a little stressful to deal with, but James is fluent and was able to make a phone call.

Tis began one of the many "JAAAAMMES!!  Where's James!?  I need his Mandarin," situations of the trip.  (For instance, when Ben wanted a water and the waitress poured him a beer.  lol!  JAMES!!!!)

In the meantime, my sister and I went to find the bathroom, aka "toilet."  I had heard some horror stories about the bathroom situation in China so I was bracing myself when, alas!, my toilet was just like in the states.

"hey Chris..."
"is...there like, an actual toilet in your stall?"
"yesh...?  Why?  What's in yours?"
"a hole ."

Hahaha gross.  This is the very nice and clean version.
One of the first things you want to do when you get off a plane is socially connect (and check to see how my little B3 was doing back at home).  Getting on the internet in China requires work.  I had to buy a VPN to be able to log into my Gmail and use social media websites.  Facebook and all of that is b-l-o-c-k-e-d.

We eventually met up with our guide and went out to wait for our hotel shuttle.  Immediately I saw cars speeding past us as pedestrians were crossing the street.  AT THE AIRPORT!  And they were HONKING AT THE PEDESTRIANS!!

"If cars wait on pedestrians then nobody will get anywhere."  Touche.

The second thing I was warned about my visit in China, the driving.  It is absolutely nuts!  The crazy thing, though, is that it works, which I cannot wrap my head around.  

By the end of the trip I concluded that they don't have rules so they come to expect the unexpected.  Here in the states we have rules so when somebody breaks one of them we are caught by surprise resulting in a car accident, or road rage.

I witnessed at least 53489 driving incidents that would have resulted in several levels of road rage had they been in the states.  I was in awe time and time again when nobody batted an eye when a car completely cut them off.  No big deal!  Come on in.

Interesting driving facts:
  • We learned that your license plate # dictates the days you can drive, to alleviate traffic.  China is lax about a lot of things, but they will give you a ticket if you drive on the wrong day!

  • If you don't live within downtown Beijing then you can put in a license plate lottery for a Beijing plate.  If you aren't successful with the lottery then you are only allowed to drive certain hours of the day.  

  • China isn't lax on drunk driving!  If you have any alcohol in your system, you're arrested.  Awesome.

Our hotel was really nice!  Ben and I were a little unlucky with something terribly and long-odorously wrong every time the toilet was flushed, but other than that...

Hotels in Beijing don't allow foreigners to stay.  At least a majority of them don't.  We booked the whole trip through somebody so we didn't have to worry about that, but I thought that was really interesting that they will literally turn you away.  

#4 is unlucky in China, so the 4th, 14th and 13th floors were all omitted.  The #6 is LUCKY and people will pay good money for a phone number with 666 in it.

Our hotel had a continental breakfast that was very American.  It was so good and we looked forward to it each day after loooots of Chinese food.

^^Chinese food
Chinese are some of the nicest people I have ever met!!  I loooove them and wish I could have communicated better.

One night we were all waiting for the bus when James started chatting with some store workers nearby when one of them bought him an ice cream.  Then I came along (wishing I could say more than HI!!  HI!!) and I ended up with an ice cream too.  Ben just watched.  lol

Crime in China is much lower than the US and many countries.  You can stroll right down alleys or streets at night where here in the states you might associate high crime with some of them.  China is much safer!

Unless you are walking in the path of a motorist (haha that's my sis).

^^I spy a Porsche dealer.
The Chinese to English translation was pretty funny.  We saw signs all over that made us chuckle.

You can't drink the water so everything is bottled.  At dinner we were given a little 6 oz. cup of water to go along with our Chinese food, which you can imagine was NOT ENOUGH.  

I will never take water for granted again.

Funny story.  Nobody told us we only could have one small cup of water with our meal, so we freaking chugged that glass of cold water as soon as we got it (read:  before our meal came out since we were hot and thirsty from touring!).  When we tried to communicate that we wanted more and they just shook their heads, we were all confused.  

Jaaaaaames!!!  So James figured it out for us and he ended up buying us beverages since we were all still dying of thirst.  lol

This peach soda was delicious.  I need to find something like it.

After the Great Wall Marathon we had some spare time and ventured out to a nearby mall to find someplace to eat.  There was nowhere to sit so we sat on the ground while waiting.  This is apparently a no-no because things that happen to the ground in China are un-sit-upon-able.  We were so tired though.  #whocares  #thosedumbforeigners

Pizza Hut is gourmet in China.  It was SO good, the best meal of the week, seriously, if I can admit that.

When you're ready to order you just wave the waitress over.  It was a cool experience to be out without our tour group and with my brother leading the way.  Otherwise we'd have never gotten to eat because we had no idea your waitress doesn't just come check on you.  haha

This is a huge mall we walked through after dinner.  It was so big and awesome to go along with that awesome watermelon juice.

People in China aren't overweight and I may have seen only one chubby little boy the whole trip!  Each night there would be this dance/exercise group right next to our hotel with all ages participating.  There are also lots of activity park places (I have no idea what they are called) all around the city where you can get some exercise at any time.

I've mentioned a few times that China has a lot of pollution and that a lot of locals wear masks.  Up where we ran on the Great Wall it was a lot more clear, but this is a view from our room.

We took a shuttle to the airport since there were so many of us (plus Taxis don't love to pick up foreigners).  The shuttle was perfect because it's nice to be in a BIGGER vehicle when you're on the road with insane driving!!  

Goodbye Beijing!

First thing upon arrival in the states... Face Time Liz and B3.  :D  We were dying to see him.

There was so much I haven't written out here, but man, what an amazing trip and learning experience.  No wonder my brother wanted us to all go to China one day!

And if you were wondering, I was the only one to never have the cultural experience of the hole toilet.  I'm not proud of the lack of hydrating I may have participated in prior to the race, but I would have paid to use a porta-potty or thistle bushes.  Not bathrooms, more like "bad rooms," where people do not know how to aim.  :P

Back together again!


Have a wonderful week!

We have been under a "flood watch" for basically 48 hours straight, yet it's been sunny for most of it.  Hurricane Dolores has avoided the valley thus far, I sure hope we get some moisture out of her tonight.

Other China posts you might like:
Ni Hao!
Great Wall Marathon - Inspection Day!
The Great Wall Marathon & Half - #runlikehales
China Adventures
Summer Palace, Olympic Park = China!


  1. What an amazing trip! So jealous you have your Chinese-speaking brother to travel with!

  2. I love all of your pictures! What an amazing adventure!