china, Travel, Uncategorized

My favorite Chinese cities

Slovenska verzija: klik.

Qingdao: I visited it in 2013, right after I finished my summer job in small Chinese town (Longlin, more below). Longlin was hot and humid, in subtropical China and the sea in Qingdao was just exactly what I needed at that time. I went to swim and I became an attraction which I didn’t want; strangers were taking photos of me while I was entering the sea. While I was swimming, people were impressed I don’t need any sort of equipment for keeping my head above the water. Anyway, the climate was perfect and I walked through the city so much that my new shoes turned their shape to the shoes of a pilgrim.

Qingdao

Suzhou: I visited Suzhou two times, first time in 2013 and second time in 2017. It is really convenient for everyone who stays in Shanghai to make a day or weekend trip to this cute Chinese city. I liked its old part and their water canals. It is really inspiring place and if you listen well, the streets have many stories to tell. It is a must for all artistic souls, especially for writers, poets and painters. I would highly recommend to everyone to visit classical gardens and take a ride on a small boat along the canals.

On the boat
On the boat
View from the boat
View from the boat

Shanghai: To be honest- I have a love-hate relationship with this massive Chinese city. I lived there for a couple of months but until now I couldn’t made one side decision whether I like it or not. I was able to get everything what I needed on daily basis in Europe (for example cheese, milk and other things like liquid soap, English books etc)- things which are still rare in other Chinese cities). Shanghai is a diverse combination of old and new China and a perfect city for everyone who visits China for the first time.

Shanghai
Shanghai
Hidden street in Shanghai
Hidden street in Shanghai

Longlin: it is a town where I spent one of the most unique summers I ever had. I travelled there alone and I came to the place where I knew no one. I coordinated everything via emails and I am still glad we trusted each other on distance. When I arrived to Longlin I knew immediately people there are warmhearted and welcomed and they accepted me as we were friends from the childhood. I was teaching English language at private school and at the same time they showed me colorful China which not many foreigners have a chance to see. Longlin gave me so many stories and transformed my personality a lot. I was far away from the person who would like to travel alone, but my wish to live in an unknown Chinese town was so big that I overcame that fear and found out solo travel can teach you much about yourself.

Longlin
Longlin

Hangzhou: I visited Hangzhou two times, but first time it was in 2013 and I didn’t feel it so special. I walked around the lake and old part, but except little forest next to the lake, nothing made big impression on me. All fame and beauty which everybody was talking about just didn’t come to my heart and eyes. When I went there second time in 2017, I had not expected anything special again, I just wanted to show it to my boyfriend and it was a doable weekend trip from Shanghai. We came there by bullet train but immediately when I stepped off the train I felt something completely different than last time. We stayed in the best hostel I ever been and at that time I really needed peace from vibrant and noisy Shanghai.

Peace in Hangzhou

Shenyang: Shenyang is not the first city people usually choose to visit in China, but it will always stay a number one Chinese city for me. It was a city where I studied Chinese language in 2007; it was the first Chinese city I lived in. It is super cold in the winter (up to minus 25’C), but people are warmhearted and ready to help. You can still buy things for much lower price than in other more touristic Chinese cities and you can still enjoy some very authentic experiences, which are already gone in other part of the China (for example a ride in a small red car). When my daughter will be big enough, I will definitely bring her there; Shenyang is the place where I spent my best student times in 2007 and ten years later the nostalgic memories combined with complete new experience; i found out that life is giving me a new role- I discovered I was becoming mom. 🙂

Shanghai Normal University
Shenyang Normal University
Shenyang train station

Kitajska, Organizacija, Potovanje

Moja najljubša kitajska mesta

English version: click.

Qingdao: mesto in prijateljico, ki je bivala tam, sem obiskala leta 2013, ko sem po nekajmesečnem bivanju in poučevanju na skrajnem jugu Kitajske, nujno potrebovala osvežitev. Tisto poletje sem živela v subtropskem podnebju in osvežitev v obmorskem kraju Qingdao je bila kar super. Neprijetno je bilo edino to, da so me mimoidoči začudeno gledali, ko sem se podala v morje in nekateri so me neočitno tudi slikali. Večina Kitajcev namreč ne zna plavati in zato so bili kar osupli, ko so videli, da lahko plavam brez plavalnega obroča ali kakšnih drugih pripomočkov, s katerimi si ponavadi pomagajo pri lebdenju nad vodo. Po plavalski izkušnji sem se odločila, da kopalke raje pospravim in sem se na ogled mesta podala peš. Prehodila sem ga toliko, da so mi čevlji popolnoma razpadli in sem si morala deliti taksi s popolnimi neznanci, da sem lahko prišla do stanovanja.

Qingdao

Suzhou: sem do sedaj obiskala dvakrat. Prvič leta 2013 in drugič 2017. Mesto je dokaj blizu Šanghaja in priporočam obisk vsakemu, ki se nahaja v njegovi bližini. Nekako se mi zdi mesto polno navdiha, s svojimi malimi kanali in starimi uličicami ter hišami je pravi raj za vse umetniške duše. Zelo romantična je bila tudi vožnja z malim lesenim čolnom, ki ga je poganjal star možak in zraven prepeval izjemno lepe stare kitajske pesmi.

On the boat
Na čolničku
View from the boat
Razgled s čolna

Šanghaj: po pravici povedano- nisem prepričana, ali imam mesto rada ali ne. Tujcu nudi vse dobrine zahodnega sveta (fitnes, mleko in mlečni izdelki, tuja literatura; vse,kar se v večini ostalih kitajskih mest še vedno težko dobi). Ampak hkrati je mesto tako hrupno in nagneteno, da mislim, da več kot par mesecev res ne bi zdržala tam. Vsekakor pa je odlično mesto za vse tujce, ki Kitajsko obiskujejo prvič, saj je v njem še vedno vidna mešanica med staro in moderno Kitajsko.

Shanghai
Shanghai
Hidden street in Shanghai
Mala skrita ulica v Šanghaju

Longlin: je najmanjši kitajski kraj, v katerem sem živela. Kitajci ga pravzaprav ne štejejo niti pod mesto, ampak se jim zdi vas. Po velikosti in številu prebivalcev si je podobno s Celjem. Je mesto, kamor sem prvič odpotovala povsem sama. Vso komunikacijo sem s predstavniki šole opravila preko spleta in nikogar ob svojem prihodu nisem poznala osebno. Na srečo se je izkazalo, da so ljudje res dobrosrčni in vredni zaupanja. Mestece je res barvito čudovito in le malo tujcev ga je obiskalo. Longlin me je navdihnil za mnogo zgodb in mojo osebnost izoblikoval karakteristike, ki si jih pred to izkušnjo nisem znala predstavljati, da bi bile del mojega značaja.

Longlin
Longlin

Hangzhou: tudi Hangzhou sem obiskala dvakrat, a se mi prvič ni zdelo nič posebnega. Glomazno mesto z velikim jezerom in ogromno gnečo. Kot milijonkrat povečan Bled. Prvič sem tam ostala nekaj dni, toliko, da sem se v natikačih sprehodila okrog jezera (trajalo je več ur), a me nekako vseeno ni navdušilo. Bilo je vroče in ves čas je bila v zraku ogromna količina vlage. Tudi ko sem drugič odhajala v to mesto, nisem pričakovala ničesar. Pokazati sem ga želela svojemu fantu, saj je tudi Hangzhou primeren za vikend izlet za vse tiste, ki živijo v Šanghaju. Odpeljala sva se s hitrim vlakom, a takoj, ko sva stopila z vagona v mesto se mi je zazdelo vse drugače. Niti približno si nisem predstavljala, da bom v Hangzhouu našla mir in tišino- morda je k temu botrovala tudi lokacija najinega hostla, ki je še vedno na prvem mestu mojih najljubših hostlov (Fiona’s).

Mir v Hangzhouu

Shenyang: mesto, ki prav gotovo ni prva izbira tujcev, ki si želijo prvič ogledati Kitajsko. A povsem po krivici. V Shenyangu še vedno lahko najdete marsikaj, kar je v drugih velikih kitajskih mestih že povsem izginilo- ogromne notranje tržnice, možnost vožnje z malimi rdečimi vozili, tržnice na prostem itd. Mesto se nahaja na severu, v provinci Liaoning in pozimi je tam čez dan okrog -25’C. Sibirija je seveda povsem zraven. Kljub temu Shenyang ostaja na prvem mestu mojih najljubših kitajskih mest. Je prvo mesto, v katerem sem živela in študirala leta 2007. Deset let kasneje sem ga zopet obiskala. Nostalgično obujanje spominov na študentske čase pa se je premešalo s povsem novo izkušnjo. Deset let po prvem obisku Kitajske sem ugotovila, da me v življenju čaka nova vloga- vloga mame.

 

Shanghai Normal University
Shenyang Normal University
Železniška postaja v Shenyangu

Riževa polja in kolo
china, Kitajska, Korea, Organizacija, Potovanje, Uncategorized

Eight most interesting experiences in China

Main reasons for my longer stay in China were always related to work or study. Every time when I lived in China for couple of months and I had to put a lot of effort to consume my free time well. I am presenting you some of my most memorable experiences I have had in China. It was difficult to make this list because every day in China is a remarkable and bring something memorable.

Music festival in Shanghai; since my first interest into Chinese rock music was established in 2007 and I needed exactly ten years to attend a big music festival in China. My final thesis in the university was: ‘Rock music in China’ but I only attended few small concerts of Chinese bands in Europe. In 2017 I finally made it to the one of the biggest music events in China- to music festival Simple Life. It was worth to wait, as I was lucky enough to have two of my favorite performers on stage at the same day- I was happy as kid when I enjoyed the concerts of Pu Shu 朴树 and Escape Plan 逃跑计划.

Harvesting  persimmons ; I trust all of you expected I’d say I harvested rice, but I haven’t. For a while I was explaining to my Chinese friends, that I wish to experience something authentic, something which not many other foreign tourists had a chance to see or do. Obviously they heard my wish well and they took me to… persimmons farm where the owner gave us long sticks. We used it to pick up persimmons from tall trees. I wonder how many other foreigners had this experience in China…

Kakiji
Persimmons up in the tree

Tangerine scrumping; I still recall the memory on one of my favorite hostel I have ever been in China. Hostel is located in Hangzhou and the rooms and bedrooms are placed in traditional houses next to the forest. Location is really peaceful and not crowded at all. But what is more, in front of the hostel grows a tangerine tree which gives world’s best tangerines in autumn. When I passed the tree in the night, tangerines were literally glittering from the branches and I couldn’t resist not picking up few of them to have most delicious breakfast next morning.

Pogled na mandarine
View on tangerine tree
Vhod v hostel
Entrance to the hostel

Bicycle ride through the empty tunnel… empty streets in China? That sounds more like an illusion. Me and my boyfriend were cycling around Hangzhou and we came to the road sign announcing that further drive is forbidden. We took a risk and drove further which gave us one of the most unique experiences in China.  I can even say that the tunnel which we went through had quite a good air.

Tunel na Kitajskem
Tunnel in China
Short break in the tunnel

Unusual exhibition; have you ever had a kind of a dream, when you suddenly appeared in a dark room surrounded with numerous strangers? That happened to me in reality. By coincidence I entered one big shopping mall. Few steps I made and I saw a looong queue of people waiting for something. I came closer and asked a young girl next to me what is happening. She showed me her VIP ticket for some exhibition and then she called a security. I was ready to run away, but people were so crowded that I couldn’t move. Young lady explained to the security that we will enter the exhibition together. Tall dark men just nodded, opened the bar and let us enter on escalator. We were moving down, toward dark room with flashing lights. We appeared in one event, where all the visitors were walking around with the fine glasses of wine and trying to chat to each other. Many journalists were around trying to capture this unique event, which, up to now, I am still not completely sure what was really all about.

Opening ceremony
Opening ceremony

Rooftop Zumba; I might be the person who entered most fitness and dance studios all around Shanghai. I was in search for a good Zumba classes and I almost gave up. Usually the Zumba was made from too easy left and right steps, outdated music or amateur instructors. I was also subscribed to the news for upcoming events. On one sunny Saturday I went up to the rooftop right next to the Jing’an Temple. We were surrounded by other skyscrapers and it was the first time I came to such a remarkable location. The sky was blue and through the whole day each hour another workout presentation started. I waited for Zumba and I was surprised how many people came to attend it. There were not many Chinese but mostly foreigners. When the music started I finally felt a big relief as I immediately knew one hour of pure fun is ahead of me.

Zumba na strehi nebotičnika
Rooftop Zumba
Zumba in China

Yellow mountain (Huangshan 黄山); every time when I lived in China in big cities, I badly start to miss a real nature. Crowded and noisy parks are really weak substitute for it. So on one weekend we took a night train from Shanghai to Yellow mountain. The train was full and although we bought tickets more than a week before, we could only purchase the sitting tickets. All sleeping wagons were already sold out. To tell you honestly, a night ride in a crowded train with curious passengers was more exhausting then climbing to the top of the mountain. I was happy to see mountains around me but it was a little disappointing that they build stairs all way up to the top and I couldn’t feel real soil under my shoes.

Stopnice do vrha
Stairs all way up to the top
Navdihujoče gorovje
Inspiring mountains

Z vrha

Interview about my life in Chinese village; in the summer of 2013 I lived in a small town called Longlin. Most of the Chinese never heard about that place, but those who had, they all were surprised what brought me to the village in the middle of the mountains.  Most of inhabitants had never seen a foreigner living there, so Guangxi TV came and made an interview and a short video about my life there. It happened so fast that I only had few minutes to prepare for the interview. I showed them how I buy food in local market, how I did the jogging in the morning and how I was teaching kids. Only at the end of the day I figured it out I was speaking all time only Mandarin Chinese. Never in my life had I imagined my first interview can be all in Chinese.

Interview in Mandarin Chinese

 

 

 

Kitajska, Organizacija, Potovanje, Uncategorized

Kje je Kitajska?

Po izhodu iz metroja me je zunaj pričakalo gradbišče. Pudong Avenue je bila zaprta, čez celo avenijo se je raztezalo ogromno gradbišče. Okoli mene visoke ograje, izza njih pa so štrlele visoke stolpnice. Spet sem sama.

Hodim naravnost, brez pogleda na zemljevid. Notranji kompas me usmerja. Šesti čut pomaga. Naenkrat jih zagledam. Vse tiste stolpnice, sijoče in mogočne stavbe, ki sem jih poznala s slik. Vidim jih, ogromne so. Stojijo pred mano, mene pa obdaja tišina. Tišina, tako nenavadna za Kitajsko. Skozi nos mi šine vonj po zemlji. Vonj po dežju, travi, drevesih, reki. Vsi moji čuti so vklopljeni, telo in duša pa se čudijo. Ušesa slišijo tišino, oči strmijo v visoke stavbe, nosnice vohajo naravo. Po koži se naenkrat začnejo razlivati kaplje dežja, ki pršijo vse naokoli. Ne obstanejo, komaj se jih opazi. Počutim se kot v parnem oblaku. Moja duša je pričakovala vzklike, hupanje, močne vonjave, gnečo. Koraki so bili pripravljeni, da se izognejo večjim luknjam na cesti.

Hodim po lepi, na novo tlakovani poti. Nikjer ni lukenj. Cesto prečkam po nadhodu in zagledam zeleni park tik pod sabo. Pri vstopu stoji nekaj uradnikov in policist. Ne vem, ali gre za varovano sosesko ali za javni park. Zagledam znak, ki sporoča kup prepovedi. Prepovedano plavanje. Prepovedano dretje. Prepovedana hoja po travi. Prepovedane igre z žogo. Prepovedani pikniki, prepovedano trganje cvetlic, prepovedano hupanje.

Hodim proti parku, mimo vratarjev in uradnikov. Vstopim v zeleni park, ki ga obdajajo stolpnice.  Veliki finančni centri in banke. Vrtnarji urejajo cvetlice, na sredini zelenja se razliva malo jezerce.

Vrtnarji v parku

Osupla sem, da v parku skorajda ni ljudi. Razgledujem se naokoli. Tišino, ki nenavadno zeva sredi velikega Shanghaija, nežno prekinejo zvoki kitare, ki se zaslišijo z druge strani jezera. Počasi se odpravim za zvokom. Sredi mesta, sredi stolpnic, stoji ta zeleni park, kjer prevladuje vonj po naravi. Zaradi pesmi, ki se sliši v ozadju, moji duši uspe nekaj, kar ni pričakovala, da je možno sredi Kitajske. Popolnoma se umiri.

Stolpnice naokoli so tiho, dež še vedno po malem kaplja, izjemno puhteča zelena trava in drevesa me povežejo z naravo. Nisem pričakovala, da se bom kdajkoli, obdana s tako visokimi stavbami, lahko počutila umirjeno.

S počasnimi koraki pridem do mesta, kjer starejši možak igra na kitaro in s tihim glasom prepeva pesem. Manj kot deset ljudi je zbranih naokoli, a vsi strmijo proti glasbeniku. Snemajo ga, gledajo in poslušajo njegovo pesem. Poje v kitajščini, pesem, ki jo izvaja,  poznam tudi sama.

City and nature, Shanghai

Čez nekaj časa v bližino pride varnostnik. Ne zmorem prepoznati njegovih namer. Ne vem, ali ga kitarist moti, ali pa se je tudi sam prišel umirit ob zvokih njegovih pesmi. Izgleda strog, za nekaj minut postane. Morda je ravno zaključil s svojim delom in si prišel spočit.

Svoj polurni postanek zaključim in se odpravim v samo osrčje betonskih dreves. Tam je gneča, izjemno število turistov išče najboljše kote in vogale, ki jih bo naredilo majhne v objemu velikanskih stavb. Hodim dalje, naravnost, dokler ne pridem do reke. Zaradi deževja v zadnjih dneh je tako narastla, da je nekatere dele poti preplavila. Ljudje navdušeno skačejo po njenih ostankih, ki izgledajo kot velike luže na poti.

A vsi so tako olikani. Nikjer ni otroka, ki bi brez sramu vzklikal na ves glas. Nikjer ni zvokov, ki bi kakorkoli spominjali na Kitajsko. Naokoli same kavarne in sladoledarne mednarodnega slovesa. V zraku ni kričanja, le vonj po reki pluje skozi nosnice, vsake toliko časa slišim le nekaj navdušenih vzklikov in smeh turistov, ko sami sebe ogledujejo na posnetkih na telefonih. Ni cingljanja, ni dretja.

Nenadoma se odločim, da se čimprej odpravim nazaj proti svojemu stanovanju na drugem koncu mesta. Želim se vrniti v prostor, ki je sredi soseske, za katero še lokalni prebivalci pravijo, da ni primerno za tujce. Pravijo, da zato, ker tu niso stvari, ki si jih tujec želi videti.

Na ulici pred mojim blokom nekdo sedi ob svojem napol voznem kolesu in tolče z jeklenim predmetom po ogrodju prevoznega sredstva. Prodajalka zelenjave čez cesto navdušeno maha nekomu, ki ga očitno pozna. Tu se na ulici derejo otroci, ki jih mame še z glasnejšim glasom utišajo. Tu v soboto dopoldne slavijo novopečena mladoporočenca in jima prižigajo petarde. Tu ima sosed kanarčka, ki prepeva ob vsakem vremenu. Nekdo že navsezgodaj seklja jedi, ki jih bo pojedel za kosilo.

Vračam se v svoje stanovanje, v blok številka sedem. Preden vstopim, skočim še v malo trgovino, saj potrebujem pitno vodo. Stopim v prostor, ki je trgovina in recepcija hkrati. Nad tem je majhen hotel. Po velikosti stavbe sodeč ima največ pet sob. Gledam naokoli po prodajalni in iščem večlitrske plastenke vode. Ne najdem jih, zato se na petah zasukam proti izhodu. V prostoru sta dva prodajalca, moški in ženska. Ženska me pogleda in vpraša: ”Kaj pa iščeš?” Odgovorim, da nekaj, kar vidim, da nimajo. Nadaljuje: ”Kaj pa naj bi to bilo?”

”Veliko plastenko z vodo.”

Pomigne z glavo in z roko nakaže v njeno levo. Zasmeji se: ”Seveda jih imamo, poglej tjale.” V velikih kartonskih škatlah so petlitrske plastenke s pitno tekočino. Zahvalim se ji in želim plačati. Preden najdem denarnico, nadaljuje: ”Rabiš vodo v novem stanovanju, kajne? Si nova, ane?” Presenečena potrdim, ona pa z velikim nasmeškom govori:”Smo te videli, ko si prišla. Imaš kar veliko prtljage. Tale rajon je malo poseben, kajne, haha. Upam, da ti bo všeč.”

Odgovorim:”Seveda mi bo, pa stanovanje je tudi zelo lepo.” Zanima jo, za koliko časa sem prišla ter koliko sem stara. Pove mi, da me naokoli že vsi poznajo  ter da lahko kadarkoli pridem po vodo. Zahvalim se ji, počutim se varno.

Odidem iz trgovine, zavijem v temno ulico, kjer se ljudje ob vhodih hladijo zaradi vročega jesenskega vremena. Pokimajo mi in ugotovim, da je Kitajska tam, kjer se počutim domače.