mandarin

5 of the Best & Worst Things I Learned About China

Best

Bodily functions like burping and farting are considered the norm. It’s fine to make such noises during moments of silence.
Almost everything these days is “Made in China”. If you can find the factory for what you’re after, you’re bound to get it cheap.
If you’re a Westerner outside of Beijing, you can see what it’s like to live the life of a celebrity… in terms of being stared at and asked to be in photographs. You may find next time you see a celebrity you won’t ask for their autograph or a picture.
Land transport is very very cheap in China. Buses 1 RMB (~10p), Subway 2 RMB (~20p) and high speed trains dirt cheap compared to planes.
Getting a local sim is easy and cheap. There are mobile shops everywhere and txts/calls are negligible. Data plans are common on pay-as-you-go sim cards too.

 
Worst

Entering into the country is too difficult. You need to have flights, accommodation and an itinerary proof in order to get the visa. If the visa gets declined, you’re stuck with (probably) non-refundable bookings. Having it arranged in Hong Kong by an agency is known to be the simplest way.
Kids have the right to pee and defecate anywhere on the street. So much so, they’ve even design trousers to make it as easy as possible to do it without a parent needing to be around. Careful where you tread.
The language is difficult to learn. Regional variations (Mandarin, Cantonese etc.. and thick accents outside of the cities), an alphabet of pictorial characters instead of letters, a heavy reliance on context with exact sounding words meaning different things, words spoken with varying tones meaning different things and difficult pronunciation even with a word written down in western letters.
Snorting […]

Changes After A Week Of The New Schedule

After blogging about my frustrations and realisations last week, It appears in the week just gone, much has changed.

So what’s changed exactly?

I’ve religiously stuck to my own new mind/body/soul workout schedule
The day-to-day training from the school has become more physically demanding
I’ve made some progress in learning to meditate
I can be understood more with my mandarin
My outlook on the art here has widened

[…]

My Realisation About A Dangerous Habit

Towards the middle of last week, I was feeling a bit disappointed with the school and the teachings. I felt frustrated by repeating the same stuff (even though I was fully prepared that this is likely to happen and didn’t want to admit it) and I felt time was being wasted in-between the tougher training sessions. Having a couple of sessions rained off and others that were shorter than normal didn’t help. I thought I’d try to consider why I was frustrated. I sat down and structured all my thoughts on paper, so I could go to the guys here and speak to them. By the end of trying to get my head round it, I realised I was making a far-reaching mistake.
The short version is that, I realised I was making excuses for my own lack of motivation and blaming others for it. I decided to arrange a new schedule going forwards.
The detailed version is described below… […]

First Full Day

I had set my alarm for 05:20 with the idea that I would beat the bell they have and be ready a little earlier. However, instead, I woke to the sound of their bell. A very loud bell. What I realised, is that they have one bell at 05:20 to wake people up and another at 05:30 to congregate outside. When the second bell went off, kids started running out their rooms and making their way downstairs, with an air of “panic” on their faces. 
As I went outside, I could see they were starting to form lines in what looked like a height or age order. I randomly chose the second line and parked myself at the end. […]

Life As An Alien

The picture you see was on the text on the back of my entry application form. Apparently, any foreign citizen in China is considered an Alien.
Today was a long day. It took 3 planes and a taxi to arrive at the kung fu school. It started with an early morning flight from London to Warsaw, then onto Beijing and finally Zhengzhou totalling about 20 hours of travel. All that part went incredibly smoothly. I wondered how I’d cope in the Chinese airports (experienced globe trotters may laugh), but to be honest, it was easy because everything written had English beside it too. I can safely say airports are a safe haven.
The smoothness went a little rough once I left Zhengzhou airport.  […]