Stark Realities of Life in Regional China

Stark Realities of Life in Regional China

Going to China and exploring the well worn tourist trails is one thing, it’s another thing again to live in one of China’s major urban cities for a period of time, and it’s very much another thing again, to live outside those urban cities. It’s a journey that can push you to explore all of your social conditioning and values, while considering those of people who have grown within different cultures.

1. A Hierarchical society – people have to work hard to claim a position in society and without it, it’s a VERY difficult life. To have wealth, or status that’s afforded by a high position in a company, especially within government, ‘greases the wheels’ and smooths the way of every step in life, and maintains your acceptance into groups, or your ‘Guanxi’ network. Everything is done by recommendation, without a network of friends, to find a job is difficult, to find a partner is difficult and so on through the steps of life. The more powerful your network, the smoother your existence. In a society that doesn’t have a well developed social system it can also mean the difference between eating from a table or eating from a bin, and at the extreme, life and death. I’ll never forget the facial expression of doctor I was visiting frequently while attending to some kidney trouble. Over tea, he explained that he had just witnessed a girl jump from the roof of the hospital. She was a cancer patient who didn’t have the money to stay in the hospital, when told of the costs the family simply walked away, without payment for the hospital bed, the staff had to ask her to leave. She walked to the roof. You’ll perhaps understand why Chinese are so determined when it comes to education, passing the all important entrance exam, Gaokao, which can mean the difference between a good life and a difficult existence, perhaps it also explains their ruthless determination in business, and get rich at any cost attitude. There isn’t a floor, unless you make it yourself. read more

China Holiday Dates and When NOT to Travel

China Holiday Dates and When NOT to Travel

There are seven holiday public holidays in China lasting from 1 day to 3 days. The holidays are lengthened by people working weekends prior and after the break, holidays such as the National Day holiday/Mid Autumn Festival period can actually become 7 day breaks or longer.

New Year January 1
Chinese New Year 1st day of 1st lunar month (late January-Early February)
Qingming Festival 5th solar term (April 4 or April 5)
Labor Day May 1
Dragon Boat Festival 5th day of 5th lunar month (late June)
Mid-Autumn Festival 15th day of 8th lunar month (late September)
National Day October 1 read more

From Shenzhen to Hefei to Fuyang to Maanshan

From Shenzhen to Hefei to Fuyang to Maanshan

The Spring Festival travel peak was nearing an end and there was probably some chance of getting a train ticket or flight once again. For this trip it’s off to meet future relatives.

So how to get from Shenzhen to Fuyang? Theres the train, bus or plane. It’s almost 24hrs travel on a train so I’m guessing a bus is similar. Fuyang has an airport and so does the nearby Hefei, capital of Anhui Province. The train would be a great way to see some more countryside but train tickets are too hard to get. read more

Xiamen to Shenzhen Bus

Xiamen to Shenzhen Bus

In China there seems to be plenty of privately run bus services running here, there and everywhere but for a foreigner it’s usually much easier and simpler to just buy a train ticket. But in some cases the going via bus can provide huge time savings.

This is especially the case going from Xiamen to Shenzhen (or even Hong Kong). At the moment there isnt actually a train running direct between those places, but they are building a line to carry a fast (220km/h) train which is expected to be completed some say late this year, some say next year. read more

Hukeng to Xiamen bus

I thought I’d have to travel back to Yongding to get a bus to Xiamen but lucky for me there’s a bus running direct from Hukeng.

Just outside the main gate to ‘Yongding Hakka Earth Building Folk Cultural Village is a bus station, well, it’s a small shop on the corner with a few chairs on the footpath, but it’s where the bus going to Xiamen stops and that’s where I’m off to.

Apparently there’s several buses leaving from here to Xiamen throughout the day and considering I didn’t have any accommodation booked in Xiamen I decided to get on the first bus at 7.30 in the morning. read more