We’re really sorry to tell you this, but when we told friends that we had booked a trip to China and Beijing some of them told us many negative things; for example that the Chinese people were rude, it was impossible to get a cab, and they didn’t like the city at all… We haven’t just heard that from people we know but also read that online. We’ve had the same experience earlier, when visiting Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, and we traveled home with a totally different view of that place. So how was it with Beijing? Did we feel the same as our friends or did we actually fell in love?
We arrived in the middle of the day, but my body didn’t like the long flight over and I was knocked out by a bad migraine, but we had to get some food before we went to bed at least. So we went outside the hotel and walked down the street to find a place to sit down. We immediately felt we were in China and not in a bad way. We found ourselves in a small alley with small local shops and places to eat, they were selling vegetable on the street and some actually played badminton on the sidewalk. At the end of the road we found a small restaurant filled with locals and we thought this was a great place to try some Chinese food.
We’ve done our research and know the menus can be confusing, and it’s not like home where you order one dish (which have something of everything: potatoes, vegetables and meat), but you have to order at least two or three and add some rice. We decided to try the Kung Pao Chicken, fried potatoes and rice…
We unwrapped the plates and bowls; which were wrapped in plastic on our table, the food came and we had to overcome the first challenge: eating with chopstick.
I have an idea that we wasn’t pretty good at it although we managed to eat with them, but after a few a lady were prodding my arm before she sat down. She couldn’t speak English at all but we soon realized why she came; in her hand she where holding chopsticks and tried to show us how to use them. She were laughing, and we were laughing, but we tried our best, and who would expect a “how to use chopstick”-lesson on our first day? Not us after what we had heard!
She later looked at us and nodded satisfied, and we felt we had the best first experience ever. We love moments like that, connecting with locals, having fun and learning something new, even without saying a word.
And during our stay in Beijing all the good experiences kept on coming. We managed to get a taxi on our first try the next morning, and all the other times we tried. Of all the times we took a taxi (and we did that a lot – it was so cheap!), we only had one “bad” experience. I’m saying “bad” because we only had to pay a higher price than all the other times. He blamed the rush hour and told us the approx. price before we sat in, so we could rejected him and tried another one, but we didn’t… (he used a meter too). Also the guide and driver we had for three days where the best, but more about that later.
We never felt unsafe, not once, even when we were walking home from the night snack market late in the evening. We loved every part of our time in China and we hope we can go back one day to explore more of this huge country.
We know people can get a different perception and other experiences than we had, but we’ve learnt that we always should travel with an open mind, and if we have one bad experience we should turn that around and try to figure out some good ones too. We don’t want to give a country a label of being a place we hate, and actually, I don’t think we could ever HATE a destination. As travel bloggers I think it’s important to be objective, not let your feelings take over, and to be perceived as a credible source that is quite important.
Don’t you just love to be pleasantly surprised visiting a new country with a bad reputation?
Have you ever been warned about a destination and then become so happy you actually did go there? Tell us all about it!