4 Aug 2015

1. You CAN survive on just hand luggage for 10 days. It might involve a lot of washing in sinks but it is possible and there is usually washing services at the hotels as well which is also useful if your feeling lazy!

2. Haggling is a must. Chris, our teacher, taught us the "walk off technique"; you give a low price and if they're not willing to budge anything near that walk off- they will call you back because they will always making a big profit. If they don't call you back? Yeah your price was crazy low.

3. Be prepared to be ripped off. You're not a haggling master straight away and it took me a few goes before I'd got into the swing of things and hadn't been ripped off through paying too much or getting something that's a fake. Being ripped off is part of the fun really!

4. Thank God you took all those pills and plasters. We did a lot of walking and so blisters were bound to happen and, when packing, I thought I took a ridiculous amount of plasters and blister plasters but I hardly had any left by the end of the ten days. You also never know when something might not agree with your stomach and you'll need that immodium or rehydration powder when you've not drunk enough. I was lucky enough not to be ill once during the trip but I know a lot of people were glad to have a big stache. 

4. China is warm. Don't let the smog fool you, I was boiling from the humid weather and it was actually at it's coolest when there was a clear day and you could actually see the blue sky behind the smog. I was definitely glad I took loose, summer clothes!

6. There idea of Western isn't exactly Western. They seem to think all we do is eat MacDonald's and KFC and so when you want a break from the Chinese food, that's really the only other option. They do pizza's and others but not as you expect. One night there was pizza that was just cheese no tomato with mango, pineapple, cherries and banana on; I wouldn't recommend at all. 

7. As for the Chinese culture, some parts you'll understand and enjoy where as others you'll find a little crazy. I loved learning about the Buddhist religion and going to the temples and seeing the magnificent buildings and then, while I could understand why they thought their leader Mao was a great guy, I also didn't understand why they loved him so much and went to visit his embalmed body. 

8. The days are long, you're tired, you're bond to snap. There were times when we all had a short temper and anything would get us annoyed and the whole experience was tiring but that's part of it- having long jam packed days to get the most out of the experience. 

9. It's not always about documenting but experiencing. I took my camera with me because all I wanted to do was snap thousands of pictures and have some great photos to share on my blog, instagram and to family. When I realised how little I'd thought I'd taken I was a little disappointed but then I remembered that just because there's no photographic evidence, doesn't mean it didn't happen. When we went to the acrobatic show in Beijing, you couldn't take any pictures in the show and I was a little disappointed I couldn't take any photos of the amazing show but I still remember it and it doesn't change that it was my favourite part of the trip.

10. China is an underrated destination. While there were a lot of non-Chinese people there exploring like us, it's not a place many people have on their bucket lists to go and visit and I think it should be. The whole culture is so interesting and the people are so welcoming and friendly. If you ever get the chance, go.

11. I want to travel. To do this I need to start saving. Get a job and plan my next adventure and this time I'll plan it myself. But where should I go?

Where do you think I should go next? 
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

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