China has its problems. I think I might like China a whole lot more if I got to spend some time in the nature, in some places where there aren't so many people. I've actually been thinking about travelling in China itself for a longer period of time now that I've gotten somewhat used to the country. And trust me, it really needs some getting used to.
In China babies don't wear diapers. They piss on the streets, on the corners of buildings, on the front steps of restaurants with their parents holding them. It's pretty disturbing.
The first glimpse of actual hostel life hit us when we found ourselves chatting with a group that consisted of a British couple and a Taiwanese chemical engineer. It felt incredibly great listening to the stories of Russia and Mongolia by the British and telling our own from Hong Kong. I came to realize that these people are the ones with whom I share this journey. They can feel the excitement, the the occasional misery and the joy – they can relate to me.
In China using social media is forbidden. It has been weird not being able to update anything about our travels on the internet.
Architecture is something I often myself gazing at for longer periods of time. We've found only a little of the actual Chinese architecture here but the short trip to Qibao was definitely worth it. Even though the place was crowded because of the National Holiday Week, it still had feeling of this little ancient town with crammed marketplaces, buildings with spikes carving the sky to keep the demons off and local cuisine to marvel at.
The smell on the streets is usually not so pleasant. The sewage reeks and interferes with our afternoon strolls down the busy roads.
A little girl practicising her ballet, an elderly woman performing vocal excercises, middle-aged men trying to find their qi by engaging into the world of movement, couples leaning against each other, bearded men comparing their birds in their blue cages. We accidentally entered another culture by walking into a local park in Pudong. The calmness, the surreal feeling of touching the inner self of China was omnipresent.
Overall, the local surroundings - the park, the restaurants, a lovely marketplace – have been the greatest gift that China has given us. The busy, crowded streets of Shanghai are polluted, the people seem restless and the prices soar higher than the grey skyscrapers that are reaching to scratch the greatness of nature but are never quite able to. There's not much for me in a city of 19 million people. My mind needs peace and to realize how much I value the peace and quiet of Finland, I had to travel to the other side of the world.