Back in Beijing

Click here for a map of the trip

Last evening I came back to Beijing, which felt like a miracle. Many times during my 9 day trip I felt like I would never get back and for the rest of the times I didn’t want to go back until that one day when everything went wrong and all I wanted was to get back to Beijing. How do I feel now that I am back? Actually, I don’t know. I have one month left and coming back to work for only one month feels kind of useless. I didn’t have this feeling of coming back home for some reason or maybe because the last few days of the trip were so awesome I got a little ‘after trip’ depression.

Overall the trip was shit, every day something went wrong and the scenery wasn’t much of anything. Weather was okay but Shanxi province is very polluted in general so we rarely saw clear blue sky. No proper shower during 9 days, it was cold everywhere, all the buses we took were old rusty shits cold as hell. All the time someone was trying to cheat us and that can really get on your nerves. Then because of the Chinese new year most shops were closed for like 10 days (come on!), it was hard to find any restaurants in the morning and evening. No one ever knew anything, so going anywhere was a bit unsure, it was impossible to find out prices or times. One person said one thing, another something else. Suddenly there were no buses because it snowed a little and that totally screwed up our plans.

But overall it was a fun trip, luckily we both are people who can joke about anything in the worst situations so we laughed a lot. There weren’t really any bad days, that we would get angry at each other and stop talking. A few times we were pissed off at Chinese way of doing things but that’s just normal. overall it was a good trip but I don’t know if I would do it again, Shanxi 山西 province is not my favorite and I don’t really recommend it to anyone, especially if you can’t speak Chinese. If I ever go again I think I’ll do it in summer.

A little summary of where we went and what we did:

1. Taiyuan was just a few hours stop before Pingyao.

2. We saw the old city in Pingyao but missed the underground castle, because didn’t plan our trip well enough. I regret a little but not much.

3. Train trip to Wutaishan and staying overnight at a cheap motel near the train station. The next morning was the worst possible trip to the mountain and the shittiest times of our trip at the mountain.

4. After one night at the mountains we headed to Datong, were supposed to stop at Hanging Monastery on the way but suddenly the bus couldn’t come so we had to go all the way to Datong (though we saw Muta, an old pagoda and a temple, on the way and it’s enough to see from the bus). There was some time for sightseeing Datong and somehow we ended up spending an hour in a small Buddhist nun monastery as we participated in their new year’s ceremony. I am still not sure what happened exactly.

5. Next morning we went to see Yonggang Grottoes which was maybe the best tourist sight during out trip. After grottoes we went to see the temples in Datong old city.

6. Next day we took an early morning bus to Hanging Monastery but the highlight of the trip was a walk in the small village near by. After getting back to the city we went for some more sightseeing.

7. Next day we went to see remains of the Great Wall in near by village. And after coming back we spent 1 hour searching for the ‘Dragon Wall’ which was supposed to be magnificent and breathtaking but was nothing of that sort. In the evening we paid our last visit to a nice coffee shop where we went every evening for coffee and wifi. My friend fell in love with one of the waitresses.

8. Next morning we made our way to my friend’s house and after all the misfortunes we finally got there. Their family welcomed us warmly and we had great time.

9. Next day was the only full day we spent at the house and it consisted mostly of eating and sleeping, and a bit of shopping.

10. The last morning of our trip. Finally we said goodbye to the nice Chinese family and went back to Beijing.  Here I am. The apartment is colder than I imagined but at least I was able to take a proper shower and cut my fingernails. In a few hours I will be going to work. 1 month left and I am already looking for a job back home.

I will be posting more posts about the trip and the tourist sights we saw, as well as about the villages. I took about 550 photos all together so there will be a lot to see.

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