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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.