Discovering the Joys of Traveling (and I hate Air France)

I could divide my life into million different periods such as:
Life before I started drinking alcohol and life when you throw up in a budget bus’ feces-covered toilet. There is no going back to the innocent days anymore.

Life before I thought to work in customer service would be fun and the rest of my life when I fucking hate people.

Life in my early 20’s when I thought I knew everything, or that there at least existed some people who knew something about things, and life in my late 20’s when I realized I don’t know a fuck about anything, and nobody else does either.

But my favourite divides gotta be:
Life before discovering the joys of traveling and life after discovering the joys of traveling.
Life before knowing much about food and life after I learned to cook real food. Continue reading “Discovering the Joys of Traveling (and I hate Air France)”

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Bad Customer Service in China

Every time I expect better from China and every time I get worse.

Indeed, it’s been 1 month and almost 2 weeks since I started my internship at Crowne Plaza in Beijing.  Every day I call my boyfriend and begin the discussion with following words: “Guess what happened at work today?!” And every time we just sigh and shake our heads.

Here are 10 reasons why Chinese customer service is bad in my point of view. All these are based on my own observations at work and all examples are true stories. We can call this my personal little research on Chinese customer service in one hotel.

Continue reading “Bad Customer Service in China”

Internship in China = Nothing But Frustration

Just few sentences about my internship for those who haven’t read my previous posts. I am doing my management training at Crowne Plaza U-Town in Beijing. This hotel is a branch of Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts group, IHG in short, you might have heard about them. In the end I decided to accept this offer because the employee benefits were so good: 3 meals a day for free at the employee canteen or hotel’s buffet restaurant, free accommodation, laundry service and 2000 RMB per month. Not bad, right? And well, since I wasn’t familiar with the hotel business in general I thought it would be fun to learn.

Continue reading “Internship in China = Nothing But Frustration”

First Days in China – Until It Wasn’t Funny Anymore

There is one thing I really want to let you know now: I am not going to sugarcoat my experiences in China. If you are looking for something super duper positive or are extra sensitive to criticism or occasional strong language I advice you don’t read any further. I’m not going to be super happy about everything, all things are not going to be super awesome or brilliant, and I am not going to be satisfied with lower standards than human beings deserve. Still, even though I am going to criticize a lot of things that doesn’t mean I hate China or Chinese, which I do hate to some extent but I hate everything at some extent, anyway. So no offence but some offence.
Continue reading “First Days in China – Until It Wasn’t Funny Anymore”

Internship In Beijing

Before Leaving

What in the world happened again? In two days I will be leaving to China for 6 months and I am not sure how I ended up in this situation. Let’s see… it all started when I was looking for a summer job and couldn’t find anything good enough. Of course, cleaning or working in a grocery store is okay but I am graduating soon and wanted to do something more meaningful, maybe related to my studies. Among applying to various summer jobs in Finland I also applied for one of the internship programmes Cimo has to offer and they accepted my application.

Continue reading “Internship In Beijing”

Vietnamese Wedding

I don’t remember who but once a person asked me (I am sure it was a guy): ” Why do you want to get married?” I couldn’t answer. I said, maybe for the protection of the law but then again, it’s not really that. If two people love each other it’s enough for them to just live together, why do they want to strap each other with law and all that bullshit? Don’t they trust each other or do they have some kind of shady motives up their sleeves? Are they afraid their relationship won’t last for too long if they are not engaged or married? Why do we get married? Because that’s tradition, because that’s what our ancestors did. They did it because they believed in God but many of us now, don’t care about such things anymore. Doesn’t that make getting married kind of pointless? During our discussion, with that guy, I thought what he said made a lot of sense. If I don’t believe in God then there is no reason to get married.

But, much later, another question popped into my mind. “Why do we spend Christmas then?” Sure, it’s not (only) because you want to celebrate the birth of Christ. And everyone knows he wasn’t born on 24th of December, anyway. So why? If anyone asked me now “Why do you want to get married?” then I would ask “Why do you celebrate Christmas or Easter?” For me wedding is a happy occasion when two families meet, get know each other and join into one big family. And what’s wrong with getting married just because it’s a tradition? Some traditions are fun  and exciting. Why forget about them? When I get married it will be just for the sake of a good party, no less no more.

Prologue

The most important day of my winter trip finally came. I arrived to my friend’s house one evening before the D-day and she took me to her uncle’s hotel which was located a few blocks away from her house. I got this clean spacey room with air con and nice shower all for myself and slept a good night sleep. Her uncle let me stay for free and later my friend suggested it would be good to buy him a big clock as a thank you present. I got to write my message on it but didn’t know what to write so in the end it was just an embarrassing: “You are good people. Thank you for letting me stay at your hotel!” My friend commented my handwriting was really bad, not the first time I heard so, haha.

The wedding had two parts: the ceremony among the closest family members (tea ceremony) and the dinner with 500 guests (including probably every single person the parents knew). The first ceremony started around 8 am and lasted a few hours, after which the family members were packed into a rented bus and speedily taken to a fancy restaurant for the less serious party.

The Tea Ceremony 

It was about to start when I arrived. Everyone was smiling but there was some solemn festive tension in the air.  A bit of the last minute hassle going on while everyone was waiting for the groom and his family to arrive.  There were table arranged in front of the house, women sat together on one side and the men on the other; under a small canopy arranged in front of the house, to shed the guests from sunlight, and it was the only thing which actually highlighted the party. Neighbors who were chilling and grilling in front of their houses by the roadside didn’t pay much attention to the party.


In front of the house.

On the other side of the road

When the groom arrived with his closest family members, about 20 people if not more. They arrived in a bus. Once they all got out they arranged themselves into a long line, everyone was holding gifts. First came the father with another male (representative of the family), then mother, then groom and then others, each holding a basket covered with red cloth. Most of the women were dressed into Vietnam’s national dress and the men in suits with glitter (later I was covered in glitter as well…). Male representatives of both families exchanged a shot of wine and after that the groom’s family walked into the house to place all the gifts in front of the family altar. During this time the bride didn’t come out, only when everything was ready she was finally brought out and the ceremony started.

Everyone except the hassling photographer woman, groom and his parents, bride and her parents, grandparents of both + some other relatives who helped to arrange the gifts, went out from the house and sat around the arranged tables under the canopy. But the windows and doors were open for people to watch and take pictures. The male photographer seemed less crazy compared to the woman who was buzzing around the wedding couple and asking everyone to pose for pictures. even trough the ceremony people were asked to freeze and pose. I found that hilarious.

The ceremony itself didn’t seem complicated, just long. Parents and grandparents were seated around a small table in the corner not far from the altar and tea was poured into cups. Everyone waited as the gifts were being arranged around the altar, it took some time since there were so many baskets. The gifts consisted of fruits, flowers cake etc.



 Representatives of families greeting each other.


Unfortunately I can’t speak Vietnamese so I am not 100% sure what was going on. Here in detail what I saw: Some more arranging the altar. Groom giving the bouquet to the bride. The groom’s parent’s greeted people in the room and then bowed to the altar with candles in their hands, then the candles were placed on the altar. Another bow. Then the bride’s parents bowed to the altar followed by the wedding couple. Then the parents of the groom gave their presents to the bride. They must give earrings (tradition of the south), the price is equivalent to respect, so the more expensive the more they respect her. There was some complication with putting on the earrings with the efforts of the groom’s mother, the groom, the bride’s mother, and the bride herself. After the earring war the groom kissed his bride’s hand. Then bride’s father handed a red envelope to the groom, everyone can guess what’s inside. Then the grandmas gave their gifts to the couple. Then some family photos were taken. Then the couple walked out and to the table of the males where a few shots of alcohol were drunk, by the males only. Then they greeted every guest personally and received a red envelope from everyone.

Arranging the gifts.


The wedding couple bows to the altar.

Earrings were being difficult.

Here is a video about traditional Vietnamese wedding with explanations. My friend’s wedding ceremony wasn’t exactly as strict as on the video but more or less just the same.  Later the wedded couple told me “We are just young Vietnamese, we don’t know anything about these ceremonies. We just do it because that’s what is expected from us.” I can imagine how a Christian church ceremony doesn’t really make any sense for many, they just do it because that’s the custom. The ridiculousness of life, heh. Anyway, here is another blog post with awesome wedding photos.

As I stood there looking at the ceremony I thought it’s not much different from Christian or any other wedding ceremony. Elders of the family are greeted, gifts presented, the ceremony itself in front of the altar, wedding photographers, it’s all the same. I liked how this particular ceremony wasn’t so strict but rather laid back.  There was no bridezilla and everything was slightly disorganized in a heartwarming way. Everyone was in good mood and all smiles, except, of course, the moment when the bride and groom became wife and husband and some tears were shed. The grandmas were really cute and mothers pretty!

There was a poor girl selling lottery tickets. She stopped by to watch the ceremony until someone told her to leave.

The restaurant 

I heard that 500 people were invited, about 450 came. You can imagine. A whole big restaurant was booked, it was an outside restaurant with huge veranda with a stage and, to my doom, huge speakers (hello migraine). For some reasons there were only male waiters, their uniform consisted of jeans and white collar shirt. The guest started arriving slowly but in a way so there was no quiet moment at the reception desk. I got to sit with the family members behind the reception desk, every guest had to leave a red envelope into a big heart shaped (home made)  box, decorated with glitter and such. At some point the box came so full it was hard to squeeze in any more envelopes. There were no wedding presents, just the envelopes with money. But I guess that’s pretty good too!


In Finland, usually, there is “present list” from which guests can choose what they will bring, money is an option too but usually it’s something else. In Russia they usually bring envelopes too, and flowers. But everyone hands the envelope personally and wishes something good to the couple. At this wedding party, after you have given your envelope you receive a small heart shaped sticker on your clothes, indication you are a “wanted” guest. However, many males refused to accept the sticker, probably thinking it was childish. As the guests came in the couple and their parents stood at the entrance and greeted every single person, welcoming everyone in. The couple didn’t know even half of the guests since they were friends, coworkers and distant relatives of their parents etc. But still, that did not stop anyone from taking pictures together.




Arranging the drinks.

I’m not sure if there was any order with the seats but everything went on smoothly, guests found their places and sat down around the tables. At some point they started serving drinks: lemonade and beer, as much as you can drink (there was Vietnamese version of Coca Cola which tasted like a mixture of gasoline and cough medicine, no kidding!) The waiters put huge ice cubes into everyone’s glasses once in a while. They were pretty good at that because every time my ice cube was about to melt away I got instantly another one. The drinks were not cooled and it was probably +30 outside, that’s why. Another wedding ceremony was held, they started serving food when the ceremony started. There were several dishes: everything began with seafood tempura and deep friend tofu, the rest of the foods were sort of hot pots with sprouts, flowers, greens and different meats: beef, pork and chicken.



Foods, the bottle is Vietnamese cola.

The ceremony was western style. The wedding couple and their parents walked to the stage for introduction, the couple cut the cake and poured champagne over a tower of glasses. The male photographer tripped over microphone’s cord and almost fell down in the middle of the stage, hehe. After the cake cutting everyone left the stage and people were free to go up there and sing a song for the couple. My friend’s mother tried to get me there but I suck at singing and don’t remember any songs by heart. A pity though, if it was karaoke I would have sung something. The music? Basic techno beat on the background and a man playing the tune on his synthesizer, I have no idea how he knew every single song’s melody. Some people went to sing, mostly drunk men but they seemed to be having a lot of fun.

During the tea ceremony the bride was dressed into red traditional Vietnamese dress, later at the restaurant during the reception and ceremony she wore western wedding dress and later she changed into another dress. Since the couple had to go to each table and great everyone personally they didn’t have any time to rest or eat. So sad.



On the stage.

Behind the stage.


I agree with the boy!

The cake was abandoned after cake cutting. But later I got one layer all for myself!

Epilogue

Wedding ceremony is a long process for Vietnamese, first the parents should meet up for a couple of times before the wedding, traveling to each other’s houses. Then there is a ceremony at the girl’s house, then another ceremony at the guy’s house. It’s a pity I couldn’t go for the groom’s ceremony but I am really happy I could make it to my friend’s wedding. If I didn’t go I would have regretted a lot. I heard that parents must invite a lot of people to the wedding, including everyone they know. If they don’t invite someone it will bring them bad reputation so weddings are VERY SERIOUS business in Vietnam and expensive too. But since all guests bring money (the closer you are to the inviting family the more you should bring) which is kind of like paying entrance fee, the cost of the wedding gets covered. In the end, I guess Vietnamese weddings are not about the couple, they are about people getting together and traditions. Most of the guests are someone parents know (I didn’t see many young people as in couple’s friends), the couple spends most of their time greeting guests instead of having fun, so exhausting! In the west it’s all about the couple in Asia it’s all part of a BIGGER picture.

Kazakhstan – The Land of Borat

Nature or nothing.

 

I decided to go to Kazakhstan because I had some friends there and wanted to visit them, in the end I only had time for the two guys in Almaty but it was still fun, from there I took train to Astana and then continued to Russia. I hope my Kazakhstani friends don’t read this blog post or they will start hating me. Find out why.

The Borat joke begins, WAWA WIWA! 

I met these guys in China, we studied in the same university. There was also a guy from Italy, Britts, Finns and Koreans. But anyway, we once watched Borat and this Italian guy fell in love with the movie, WAWA WIWAA became our hello, and we made “King of the castle” jokes about anything king of the cookies, king of Vietnam, king of the room, Kimg of the library, king of the KTV, king of everything.  We also made sure to talk with Borat accent.

However our Kazakhstani friends didn’t like Borat, at all. In fact they hated Borat with passion and threatened, while walking around in Kazakhstan sports wear, that if  Sacha Baron Cohen ever came to Kazakhstan he would be beaten to death. We tried to explain really hard that we understood Borat was just a joke but it didn’t seem to sink into their brains. They just madly hated Borat, blindly. Later when I came to Kazakhstan and they made sure to show me all the cool places they asked jokingly: “So what do you think? It’s not like in that Borat movie around here, right? Hehe. ” I could hear it in their voices, as if they were saying “We told you Kazakhstan is not some retarded village.” They never understood no one ever thought so in the first place and I still don’t get why.

Back in China I am not sure who started this joke but since one of the guys was tall, one middle height and the girl really small we started calling them  (behind their backs)  Da (big in Chinese) Borat,  Zhong Borat(middle) and Xiao Borat (small). In fact we had a lot of fun until one other Italian guy went and blurted this out to the Kazakhstani friends, he had no idea they didn’t know about this.

One evening I am in my room, having my dark period which doesn’t mean period as you think, but a time period when I just write my stories or whatever and don’t come out of the room.  Suddenly Xiao Borat runs into my room, her face red from rage and starts asking questions. “Did you know? Who started this? We will show him what’s his place! He is so dead! making fun of us like this!” I tried real hard not to laugh, but seriously, no matter what I said she wouldn’t calm down. Soon she left, still angry, huffing and puffing.

In the end there was a huge argument between the guys, I stayed out of it for safety reasons. The Kazakhstani guys said bitterly “But you know what, in Britain it always rains so you can’t go out and play” which was supposed to be a huge insult for our British friends … … What comes to Italians, the Kazakhs started talking about the ‘Italian who went to Malta’ – youtube video, if you haven’t seen it go watch, it’s super funny. It was supposed to insult out Italian friend but he just found it funny instead. They argued and argued until nothing was the same anymore, and our Kazakhstani friends stopped hanging out with us, they just wore their Kazakhstan sportswear and smoked cigarettes by themselves in a small group. Gangsters.

Anyway, I kept my relationship with them just okay and so I was able to visit them this summer. I was supposed to visit the girl too but she lived too far. One of the guys lives in Almaty and the other in a small village but he came to Almaty so we could hang out. Since it was the end of Ramadan and there are many muslims in Kazakhstan, my friends too, they had a huge dinner party and we got to join in. I must admit Kazakhstan food is nothing special. Sorry. But visiting someone’s home is always a very fun experience, though everything in Kazakhstan reminds me terribly of Russia.

Sightseeing the subway

I must admit that there is nothing (much) to see in Kazakhstan unless you go meet friends or go trek on mountains.  The mountains are very beautiful and the landscape similar to Russia, just majestic. Tourist sights… well, so so. If you want to go on a trek it must be organized beforehand, a month in advance at least.

The public transportation is really badly organized, luckily in Almaty you can walk trough most of the sights by foot in half a day and in Astana there is a bus which will take you to most of the places. In Almaty they have subway but it doesn’t go anywhere useful. The locals call it a “tourist attraction” and they took us to the subway just to see how amazing it was though it was nothing special, really. On every station there was a huge picture of their president Nursultan Nazarbayev, just like pictures of the assholes in North Korean metro, or pictures of famous poets etc. Our friends insisted that the wall, or parts of it, was covered in gold but seriously… it wasn’t.  The subway was new, pleasant and quiet, not many people used it. And we mostly saw some tourist taking pictures there even though it’s forbidden, ah well… Actually many earthquakes happen in Almaty so the building project of the subway had always been disputed, still they are going to build more lines soon. more tourist attractions for locals… There are some nationalities I will never understand.

So in Almaty most people transported by cars or taxis. I didn’t see even one normal taxi, all were just random cars. You stand by the roadside and stick out your hand, just wait till someone stops and then you can start negotiating for a price. If you don’t know any Russian or Kazakh this procedure is almost impossible. There are trams and buses but then you have to have a travel guide to know which one will get you where.

In Astana everything is easier if only you can read Russian (because the places where the buses go were written on the sides), most of the buses go to the train station or near it and from there you can go anywhere. People are mostly pretty friendly so asking directions shouldn’t be impossible, language barrier might be an issue. Though our Kazakhstani friends, of course, tried to make their country sound as macho as possible always reminding us how bad the people are and how some get killed just for a phone.

In Almaty most of the sights are just some monuments or palaces, like sports palace or culture palace etc. There is a nice museum about the country’s history, minorities, relations, wars and the beloved precedent whom they like to call “daddy” as a joke, of course (or?). There is a also the highest mountain range in the world (for winter sports) with the largest area of artificial ice field – Medeo. But it’s just an ice rink and nothing more. From there you can take a cable car to the mountains but it’s damn expensive. If you have a car you can also go to a picnic, we did this. On our way back we stopped to buy horse milk which was kind of alcoholic drink, from the nomads. Just a day before my friends tried to convince me that the nomad culture was dead for good. Typical Kazakhstan…

 Daddy’s will is the law

Astana, is by far, the weirdest city I have been to. It’s true that some years ago it used to be just a random village when suddenly the Daddy decided to make it the capital. No matter if most of the transnational companies who have business in Kazakhstan prefer Almaty anyway. No one really cares about Astana. Except the Daddy himself.

We went to see all the must see sights in the new city center (like the palace of peace which is just an ugly pyramid with expensive entrance tickets and nothing inside). But it was way too artificial and there were no people, it reminded me of an empty, fake, boring, huge, useless amusement park no one cares about. The most interesting place in Astana was former house of the Daddy where we could look at his accomplishments in life and the gifts he had received from other countries, reminds us of North Korea, right? When we arrived to the museum it was closed for lunch, I never understood this habit of communist countries. Is it that hard to hire enough people so when others have their lunch the others can keep the place running? Idiots. We also visited the museum of modern arts, there were a few nice pieces buried in trash, this is my opinion.

The stupidest thing is that, you never know if you are in a city or a village. The new city center is build somehow separately on the other side, if you start from train station you go trough this village, kind of, then pass new high story buildings surrounded by nothing, no shops, no restaurants, then come somewhere with a lot of space and a few huge monuments, a mosque, a huge park, then there is a concentration of high story buildings and ridiculously huge hotel build in Chinese style then there is a huge highway surrounded by nothing really, then a street lined with super expensive shops, you come back to soviet style blocks of flats, then a marketplace, there are some even older wooden houses who all sell tombstones (seriously, everyone was selling tombstones, there would be houses next to each other only selling tombstones), a few cafes, overpriced shops which sell worse crap than they sell in Russia and you are back at the train station. WTF just happened? Makes no sense. You can smell it in the air, the artificial city. And in the end you come to a conclusion that it’s crazy, it can’t work, never.

There is one good thing I can say about the Daddy, when he came to power he gave up on the nuclear weapons. He simply said Kazakhstan doesn’t need them.  He did something every ‘daddy’ should do. But did you know about this?

Green and water for high price in Russian

Kazakhstani people don’t know how to use the irrigation systems. I regret not taking video of the broken nozzles which were either attacking bypassers, drowning the plants or trying to create lakes. Either they were shooting in wrong direction or just leaking on the ground, sometimes the flow of the water was too powerful rising up towards the sky and sometimes it was plainly shooting to the side like from a hosepipe. Not only in one place but all around Almaty and Astana, it was like this. Instead of healthy grassy areas there were swamps.

Kazakhstan seems pretty clean and well taken care of, Almaty was a very pleasant city with a lot of green (swamps?), some part of Astana too. Everyone can speak Russian so if you can speak it or Kazakhstan then you can get buy very easily. The service was better than in Russia, you can see the difference already in the embassy when getting your visa. Except the tourist office at Astana train station, when I asked about the museums she said: “Of course, I don’t know.” What the hell did she mean with “of course?!”

Sadly everything in Kazakhstan is ridiculously expensive if you think about the pays people get. Kazakhstan is definitely not a budget destination. Okay, vodka was cheap so if nothing else then… Food in cheap places was worse than in Russia, way worse. As for hotels in Astana you can stay in a resting rooms at the train stations and in Almaty it’s possible to rent rooms even for a short time, the quality is good and the price low (about 40 dollars/2 people). Hotels start from 50 dollars and go up to heavens.

To get rid of the past

If you long to see nomads or pieces history in modern times, it is being actively erased instead of being melted into new, at least in bigger cities. You can sense, from people’s words and attitudes that they are eager to move on and they are definitely super proud of their new achievements. Everything old is in the past, not worth even mentioning. I don’t understand what they are afraid of. They don’t care about the past, maybe because it was tainted by communism, they only look forward. This is sad because they don’t appreciate what they already have, eager to get rid of it all. You should have heard with how much pride their voices were colored when my friends talked about the new achievements of their government. But achievements for who? The gap between rich and poor is growing day by day… while nationalism just grows stronger.

I didn’t see much beggars, a few gypsies with their kids annoying by passers and once a woman with a baby buggy approached me, I though she was going to ask for directions but she just asked for money for the child’s food. While remaining in confused state I gave her a few coins, breaking my vow to never give anything to beggars, except food. She really didn’t look like one either.

Everything is getting polished on the surface only.  Ask to be taken to a village, they will tell you there is nothing to see, ask to be taken to a bubbly market they will take you to a supermarket. Streets are lined with Gucci, Prada, Samsung and Apple. What they want you to see is all new, extravagant, soulless and empty.  Capitalism? Everything is screaming modern and striving to be recognized, but old soviet trams still run on the roads, still.

So if you really really want to go to Kazakhstan go for the nature and breathtaking landscapes – everything else is pure business.

Cambodia: A Pitiful Scam Paradise?

So Cambodia, one of the poorest Asian countries, if not the poorest (at least in South East Asia). Probably sparring in top ten with Burma, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Mongolia and the bloody North Korea. Here are some round facts fished out from various Internet sources:

Maternal mortality over 200 deaths per 100,000 live births

Infant mortality around 40 per 1000 births.

Life expectancy about 63 years.

Literacy rate less than 80%

Almost 50% don’t complete secondary education.

About 35% Cambodians live under the poverty lane.

Usual yearly income from 0 to 600 dollars.

Urban population just a bit over 20%

Access to safe drinking water under 40% of population.

Almost 60% of the labor is occupied with agriculture.

Less than 50% of the roads are paved.

I think that’s enough numbers to realize how poor a country we are talking about here. Can you imagine a yearly income less than 600 dollars? My view is that there are a few big cities where the tourist go and the rest of the land where no one goes, undeveloped, dirty, wild, ridden with diseases and poverty. To top it all there are still, God knows how many. land mines waiting for someone to step on them and blow a part of their body. The west. or America in general, could FOR ONCE be responsible and actually do one good deed, remove those deadly little traps they planted themselves.

It’s my fifth day in Cambodia and I am having mixed feelings about everything. I want to say I definitely hate this poor damned country but I can’t really. I know I will come back to explore the countryside, and only then I can say for sure if I like it here or not. Then again, to go somewhere where people suffer from malnutrition and live in poor dirty conditions, see starvation and disease, smell death and despair,  to walk around, take pictures and then write an arrogant blog post about my mixed feelings of pity, disgust and hate – would that be fun? I doubt.

So far it’s been good and bad, overall like a little Thailand (like Thai people write on forums; “They stole our temples”). The first impression wasn’t too flattering, rip off tuk tuk rides in the late night, cheating soldiers at the border, 2 years old children ‘power selling’ magnets, poverty everywhere, arrogant tourists, stench and dirt, petty fights with peddlers. They say Cambodia is cheap, bullshit. Just to enter and leave you need to pay up 50 dollars (the international airport tax is 25 dollars for foreigners). All the hostel rooms have air con but only if you pay extra you get the remote for it. Two dollars here, three there and five somewhere else, suddenly it’s 50 dollars per day. Compared to China, everywhere is expensive.

I understand this land is poor and that I am seen as a rich person in here but I am not really rich and have a mentality of a poor student, it’s impossible to, suddenly, step into the shoes of an indifferent millionaire and throw money around without bargaining. If I pay more the next tourist pays more, the one after pays more and then the locals pay more as well. Why should I pay more, anyway? Mainly it’s about 1 dollar, petty I know, but still… So many tuk tuk drivers hate me right now.

If I was a Cambodian, a poor one, I’d hate westerners. They come here, bargain for little indifferent (for them) sums, sustain the illegal sex industry, don’t respect local culture, are petty, rude and greedy, take pictures of  my pitiful life and as I am striving to earn an extra 0,25 dollars to get even some kind of dinner for my children they hang out at bar street, drunk and ignorant, eating and leaving food behind. And here am I, unable to send my kids to school. I want them to be educated but I have to send them to streets to beg and sell all kind of odds and sods just to barely come by.

But as a westerner I hate those “price for foreigner and price for Cambodian or only foreigners have to pay”, I hate being cheated out of my money even if it’s just 5 dollars, I hate petty peddlers who call me names just because I don’t want to buy anything, I hate the barbarian lifestyle, I hate it when they use me when I am helpless, I hate it when they think I am super rich when I have to book a cheaper room in a hostel and can’t afford the air con, I hate it when they approach me with a smile and flattering words just because they want something from me, I hate how due to hard life they become like animals, no, even worse, selling their kids to pimps and such. I totally hate all the scam going on around me. I was reading this blog post and lolling all the time, unable to disagree with many opinions.

And yet I pity all those tuk tuk drivers who have to lower themselves and beg for people to take their rides then be petty about some 0.50 dollars just because they desperately need it, I pity those 5 years old kids selling stuff by the roadside because they have no other opinion, I hate seeing young girls working instead of being sent to school, I hate seeing middle aged western men with local whores, I pity those who die from hunger and at the same time are forced to watch lavish lifestyles of foreigners, I pity them all just too much.  It’s all way too complex and in the end so many of us would prefer to just escape,  go home from all this shit and forget, just remember the good times and feelings. We forget, they die. But that’s just life and nothing can be changed overnight, nothing at all. Even if we cane save some, poverty will exist like it always did. The end.

Border crossing from Vietnam 

In the afternoon we took motos from my friend’s house. Her family helped us to arrange rides for a cheap price with reliable Vietnamese men. Though, we paid some extra because our luggage was heavy. First ride was until a ferry and from there we got another reliable Vietnamese men to take us to the border. They were so cute, wanted to take us trough the border all the way to Phnom Den but the officials wouldn’t allow them to cross, we didn’t think about tipping them but should have!

Everything went so well till the border. Small paved roads with palm threes and wooden houses on both sides with locals chilling on hammocks, drying grains at the road side and kids running around. A funeral, little shops, fresh fruits, water buffalos, more and more scooters everywhere. It was a hot day and my hand burned in the sun, but not much. I felt kind of sad leaving safety of my Vietnamese friends behind to enter one of the poorest South East Asian countries and my “suspect everything and everyone” switch turned on.

Actually, a few years ago people told me it was the best time to go to Cambodia because there weren’t many tourists yet and it was somewhat “unspoiled” land. Why did I believe them? Maybe two years ago everything was different?

I have to confess I knew nothing about Cambodia before entering. My view was somehow idyllic post card style: colorful and unspoiled, temples by small lakes with awesome reflections on the water during good weather. Sunsets splashing colors all over the sky, local farmers working on their green rice fields. Well, this was just an idea, and I wasn’t even surprised to see that the reality was a total opposite from a tropic paradise. I should have at least checked out the tuk tuk prices in advance. All I knew we had to get to Phnom Penh and take a bus to Siem Reap where we had booked a hostel. I skimmed trough Lonely Planet and that was all.

At the Vietnamese border they looked trough our passports and then told us to go and get stamps at the near by building. Meanwhile people were walking back and forth, throwing money trough the little window on the desk of the official and no passports were in sight.

After we walked some hundred meters to the place where we were supposed to get stamps there was no one, I joked about stealing something or stamping our passports ourselves but then a man in uniform appeared out of nowhere and took his sweet time going trough our passports as if it was something rare. We finally got our stamps and had to hand our passports for inspection once more before crossing to Cambodia’s side.

Oh man, goodbye reliable Vietnam and welcome… Cambodia. I thought I hated Vietnam but then this day finally came and I realized how much I actually like Vietnam now. I want to go back there, really.

On Cambodian side no one was wearing their uniforms, from one window we were guided to a building where we filled the visa forms and paid 25 dollars, meanwhile men in their casual clothes hung around and joked with each other. Didn’t seem like a border at all and I wonder if it was the first time they even saw passports. The real price for visa is 20 dollars but we weren’t sure if bargaining at the border was a good idea…

The man who handled our visas reeked of alcohol. When we asked about a bus to Phnom Penh they said there is no bus but “luckily” there was a moto driver hanging around, he promised to take us to Phnom Den for 3 dollars, and from there we were to take a taxi to Phnom Phen. After getting our visas we headed to the first place to get stamps and fill another form, then we went to quarantine office to fill the third form and pay up 1 dollar each. For what? Who knows? After asking around for bus everyone just said there is no bus, yeah right… Smelled like a big fat scam. (Later I checked it online and true, there are no direct buses to Phnom Phen from there and we didn’t have enough time to lose some nights. Anyway, this border crossing was categorized in ‘other crossings’ which means foreigners rarely even pass there, I couldn’t find even one single blog post about anyone crossing there).

After about 10 minutes drive we were in Phnom Den, the moto drivers stopped right next to black taxis and one of the drivers was already putting my bag in the trunk when I stopped him and asked about the price. He wanted 45 dollars and I declined right away. We started bargaining with men who hardly knew English and for soem reason they were yelling at each other in their own language.

When we finally managed to bargain the price to 35 dollars the man threw our bags in the trunk. I didn’t realize that one of the men was offering 30 dollars and when I was about to get in the car he exclaimed “NO! 30 dollars!” So I went out and started demanding for them to open the trunk to change the car, but do you think they opened it? Not in the million years, they just joked: “We have your bags now and the trunk is locked, ha ha”. Protesting was no help at all and I felt so cheated, those scammers. I think the business is pretty bad so the men do their everything to get customers. They literally wouldn’t allow us to leave anywhere from the spot. Also the competition between the drivers was fierce, they were yelling at each other like crazy.

In the end, finally giving up, we got in the car and noticed there was a woman sitting on the front seat. It’s a pity we didn’t notice her earlier, could have used her as a tool in our bargaining session. Anyway, the taxi driver didn’t get in so I opened the door and yelled at him to go. After a while he got in and started driving, suddenly made a turn to the left on some shady small unpaved road, stopped and took in another man who squeezed on the front seat with the woman. Why? I seriously don’t get it…

Then the moto drives from before came after us and started yelling at the driver, he got out from the car and started yelling back at them, after 5 minutes of arguing some money changed the owner and we FINALLY departed. I realized I wasn’t really surprised about anything, typical Asia. My friend joked we were in a car with a whore and a drug dealer on our way to be raped, killed and robbed. If I saw the scene from TV it could be even scary but there, that moment, I was just feeling annoyed “Let’s go already!” In fact, I felt like a CIA agent on the way to my mission in a shiny black car with leather seats, outside there were just palms, fields and once in a while dirty, poor neighborhood. My friend commented: “Except CIA agents don’t have bananas and dragon fruits in their bags.”

On the way we tried to ask how long does it take to Phnom Penh and would the driver take us to the bus station. After some gestures we got our answer, it would take us 3 hours to arrive but where, there was no answer. On the way we stopped at some busy road and our taxi driver sold something in black bag to a shady looking guy. Boy, what a start. I finally realized that there is no bus station where to buy tickets, the buses are all independent companies and you have to choose one to buy tickets from their offices. Probably there is like a big bus station or something but of course, no one wanted to let us off cheap or easy.

In Phnom Penh we arrived somewhere and there was a bunch of tuk tuk drivers welcoming us. They said it would be 3 dollars  to go to the bus station but we managed to bargain to 1 dollar per person. So 1 dollar discount. I scolded our taxi driver for not taking us to a bus station and refused to give 5 dollars trying to lower the price to 30, but it failed… so sad.

We ended up at the bar street, bought the bus tickets and went off to get some dinner. On the way we stopped at an ATM to withdraw money, it said dollars on the screen but for some reason I thought I would get riels and started wondering how much would be 100 dollars, ended up withdrawing hundred dollars and got dollars… I see, only dollars from ATM and I lose. Can’t be helped. We stopped at a small grocery store which mainly sold alcohol, lotions and condoms, to buy a sim card. I can’t be too sure but there were whores all around.


In the end we managed to exchange some dollars for riels just because it was easier to bargain. 1 dollar is about 4000 riel but coke from street vendor cost either 2000 riels or 1 dollar so we figured out we must have local money. Cambodians use 1 dollar and up but not down and if you want to bargain a cheap tuk tuk, the cheapest we got was 6000 riels for two. The driver had a sexy back.

It was a very unsteady 5 hours bus trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. At some point there was no paved road and dust was everywhere, it was hard to breathe so I wore my Asian dust mask for the most of the way. The bus was an old shit but the driver was driving as fast as he wanted, didn’t really bother me just that the seats were very uncomfortable and they sold us 8 dollar quality for 10! At some point I went to the back of the bus and lied on two seats, stretching my legs across the walkway on the opposite seats. That way I could catch some sleep before we arrived in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.


I wanted to take a picture in the bus but something went wrong and it looks like we are on our way to hell, haha.

Again, tuk tuk and moto drivers attacked us and we started bargaining for a ride but he wanted 6 dollars first, the last price was 4 dollars, 2 each. When I said 1 dollar he exclaimed: “This is not Vietnam!” Pointless, so we waked to another tuk tuk but the man with whom we had bargained just now followed us and started yelling at this other tuk tuk driver. I told him he was a bad man for intimidating the other driver, it might sound like going overboard but Cambodian peddlers told us we were bad too, for not buying anything. It was a war all again. I randomly asked the guy in the tuk tuk how much he was paying and he said 3 dollars “Which is probably a total rip off” I just mumbled a tired “yeah…” and turned around to bargain with the moto drivers. Like in Vietnam, I finally accepted there must be a special night price so we ended up paying 2 dollars each. But it felt less like a rip off because we both got our own moto.

The ride was about 5 minutes or a bit more and we finally got to our hotel/hostel. The receptionist urged us to change for an air con room without telling the price, after asking a few times he said air con room is 7 dollars, but the room with fan was 3. Screw the air con, that’s what we thought. The first night was kind of chilly but the two other nights were too hot without the air con. However, we survived to another even hotter room with a fan, in Phnom Penh, an now at 2 am I finally finished writing this post.


More about Cambodia coming soon. 

Two Sides of China

Ciqikou

This is a tourist trap with a golden heart. From outside it looks like some place where all the couples, foreign businessmen, teens and rich Chinese travelers gather to buy overpriced shit and taste all kind of unhealthy street food, which eventually kills you.  The wooden houses are build in old style but look brand new, there are poorly maintained temples and a few museums along the way (my heart cries blood), beggars and a huge noisy crowd just everywhere around you.

I always bargain but I had arrived to China the same morning and it still felt weird to be abroad. I felt like I was walking down the streets and that it wasn’t “Finnish” at all but somehow my mind was still back home. So it was a bit of a confusing day (or night in Finland), the worst times to buy souvenirs. But it was dirt cheap anyway, the most expensive thing I bought was a pink panda hat (for my god daughter not me! And why do I keep buying panda stuff for her anyway? She never said anything about liking pandas) and it cost 28 yuan. Hats cost between 20 and 30 yuan everywhere in  China anyway.

Nothing ever starts well for me. The hostel staff told me to take bus 503, I missed the first like by 2 seconds, decided to walk to the next stop and missed the second bus as well… stylish. On the way I stopped to buy a bottle of water from this angry old grandma, she got some kind of anger attack when I misheard the price. Then in the bus some perverted man sat next to me, again someone’s elbow was jammed into my side (maybe just a Chinese custom?) and it felt like he was leaning into me. I’m not overreacting, his hand was dangerously close to my thigh and I kept glancing at it in disgust, pressing myself against the window. But he was just leaning into my side…  I was prepared to yell “pervert” if he came any closer, haha.

Then I thought my stop was announced so I got up after the man, he was getting off too. Just perfect. I glanced at him as I stood up and he was looking at me and smiling. Dear god, I was like wearing the ugliest jacket and the oldest the most worn out sweats (My usual bum traveler style. When someone tries to sell me anything I can say “Do I look rich to you?” and it’s easier to fade into peasant crowd) to avoid this! Luckily I saw that it was the wrong stop and didn’t get off, meanwhile he was standing outside the bus and looking at me, as if expecting me to follow him?! What the? In your dreams, even if your face is okay… Weird disgusting idiot.

I sat next to this dirty looking average Chinese man, a worker. Description: middle aged, dark slacks, black shoes, smokes cheap cigarettes, black jacket, dark (tan or dirt) face, short slightly overgrown buzz cut and some stubble of beard or ugly mustache. Ps. They are sometimes even good looking! =O These are the safest type. You might think I am crazy, which I am but… In China these workers are usually the most fun people, they like to joke around, small talk and are just genuinely interested. No matter how many of these I meet they are never perverted, ever. But they will surely make fun of you (in a good way though).

Though there are all kind of shady people and when someone seems shady he/she usually is. Anyway, middle aged Chinese peasants/lower class are the best. They are nice too. At least if you can speak Chinese. Try to chat them up next time you go to China and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Okay, so I went to this Ci Qi Kou, old town center.  At first it was just one little snack: classic fried potatoes with some spices (this time I was smart enough to ask them leave coriander out of it). Then I was suddenly holding some local drink and caramel dipped strawberries, half of the drink was soon spilled on my jacket. Then I stopped to sample Sichuan peppers and… my mouth died for 15 minutes. I had to sit down on abandoned stairs to finish up my caramel dipped strawberries, there was caramel everywhere! And after that I drank milk tea, ate chocolates too but the peppers were still burning. And you know, it really pays up to save all kind of shit from airplane, this is when I took out the wet wipe I had saved from the breakfast! The caramel was gone!

Then I saw this Indian guy selling filled roti bread, I choose one with banana. Once he saw me he started selling like crazy and I decided I must taste it but  my embarrassing comment: “I will go to bathroom first, then I will come to back.” You should have seen his face. Anyway, I bought one, the portion was big and it tasted like crispy extra thin roti fried in lots of oil, with banana filling. Nothings special. But why was there an Indian man selling roti in a Chinese tourist village? Remains mystery. Typical China…


People were lining up for this weird hard cookie or bread thing, I sampled some but it didn’t taste like anything special. There were at least 5 shops but people bought only from two the most popular ones. And the whole area smelled like shit, literally. How did they cook those.. things and what were they? My interest died pretty quick and I faded from there, turned a random alley and accidentally, without any plan, ended up in the golden heart.

What I love about China the most is the randomness. In Beijing go walk along this busy extremely touristy street with only expensive shops that sell over prised goods to fools. Then you turn a few corners and end up on a buzzing alley with locals going about their own business, dining in local restaurants and  selling even better goods with local prices. weird toilets without doors… dog shit… that awful smell… In China, that random, unplanned turn could be your biggest adventure. (No matter how smelly)

Where I ended up there was no buzz, no tourists, no street vendors. A few (extremely small) grocery stores and an old man selling tobacco. But there was local life, just another day. Mothers and grandmothers hanging in groups, gossiping while taking care of babies. There were babies everywhere. EVERYWHERE! Mother cooking, elders playing mahjong and cards, betting on money. Pets running everywhere, laundry hanging above your head drying. I walked past people’s empty living rooms, it’s not like back home where we have these warm and cozy apartments. They have these boxes made of concrete, little tables and stools as if for kids only, an old TV, orange peels on the window sill’s, egg peels in the flower pots, kids coming back from school, racing each other, yelling.

I stopped at one building to watch some elders playing mahjong. They gave me a chair and started asking me questions. Turns out my Chinese is still okay even though a bit rusty, I could keep up some small talk, even understood their mandarin with tick accent. Perfect language practice.

Curious looks, fast paced mahjong game, mechanic almost. No one knows where Finland is located, I take out my decades old Nokia cellphone and tell them it’s from Finland. This time “Noqia” doesn’t ring a bell, usually it does. I offer them Fazer chocolate candies (the biggest chocolate producer in Finland), the old man throws the wrapper on the ground even though he is at a place where he and his friends hang out.  No one cares if there is trash. Dirty rooms, lonely dog whining and barking after I pass by, two cats staring at me from the balcony…

Then finally, a moment of silence and old woman sitting quietly on a bamboo chair at a doorway, a grandma picking up dry shoes from the low rooftop with a long stick, a mother carrying her baby in a bamboo basket on her back.  She seems to be in a good mood, smiles, urges her little kid to say “Hello!” I wave at him and say “Hello, hello, hello!” but he only wants my camera. The mother laughs at it and walks away. Other people mention: “Waiguoren. A foreigner”, as I pass by, whispering behind me, a kid exclaims the word mindlessly, as if it has become a habit he is not aware of anymore. I know it’s nothing bad, they are just curious, interested. They think I can’t speak Chinese, that I don’t understand. But I do, partly.

These tranquil golden moments. Even though it stinks, I still love China after all. Stares, I don’t even notice them anymore. I feel good, at ease, happy. I visit public toilet and don’t care even if I have to squat, it feels less troublesome in a country where toilets are never clean, anyway. I am even prepared with toilet paper, I know it’s something I must carry around.

While roaming the shopping street I decided I’d buy all souvenirs at once and send them to Finland in a package, saw the China Post everywhere anyway. So, I almost got everything in one day. As it got later and darker and kids were back from school I saw some of them doing their homework at the back of the shops, one mother was scolding her daughter for making a mistake.

In the end I walked to a bus stop, had to wait for the bust for ages (20 minutes) but it eventually came, thanks god. I was so tired I dozed off whole way. The conductor shook me awake on my stop, drowsy, slightly cold, and totally out of energy I somehow made it back to the hostel. As I went to remind the staff that my friend was coming late and that the door needed to be open for her, the staff started asking me what did I buy and in a old good Russian spirit I started showing off my haul. They were impressed I bought all that stuff alone, I don’t understand what’s impressive about that but anyway, Chinese never do anything alone.

It was a good day. I have missed China. It’s so human, everything, so incredibly human, raw, sincere and at the same time… a total scam.

Plans for the next days:

14th Dazu Buddhist Caves, hot pot, cable car and the night view of the city

15th go to Songji village, roam around, chill in tea houses, buy the rest of the souvenirs, take it easy, find a hotel to stay at.

16th back to Chongqing, check out the local market, maybe a museum…

17th morning Nanning and Hanoi!

Winter Vacation Trip 2012: How it all Begun

I am even a little bit disappointed that everything went so well today. But then again, that saved some of my nerves for future. Of course, now that I decided to share my trip with everyone everything will always go as planned and nothing funny will ever happen, just my luck. Speaking about fun…

I just found a big bug on my bed, crawling on the worn out bed sheets with holes in them. My intention was to kill it but once it fell on the floor it disappeared before I could step on it. So, this thought is bugging me: It is still in the room and it can fly. Maybe during the darkest hours of the night it will crawl on my bed again and in my mouth?! Nooooo. Besides the diary lock on the locker with crappy systems will never protect anything, it would be so easy to rip the lock thing off with bare hands… So I thought why not keep my laptop in my bag, it’s too obvious a place so no one will ever look in there? What a theory, I’m rolling my eyes now. Yes, at myself. And Chinese who sit near by and talk in English with each other just because I am sitting here. Should I pretend I am impressed or start talking in Chinese by myself? How did we get to this topic starting with some bug? It’s after my money, I’m telling you.

Truthfully speaking I am a bit paranoid because nothing has ever been stolen from me during my trips and I know that one day, for sure, it’s gonna happen and it’s not gonna be a small loss. I just have this bad feeling, one of these days… And fuck if it’s some bug, maybe it’s after the Sichuan peppers and Chilis I just bought!

The flight

At first I thought the plane was going to be pretty empty but it was full after all. While boarding there seemed to be so few people… and why in the world would anyone want to go to Chongqing at this time of the year? Except Chinese. Why go anywhere depending on nothing.

When I saw my aisle seat I wondered what happened to that window seat I had booked, or thought I booked. There was a fat Chinese woman sitting next to me and she was occupying the hand rest, her elbow jammed into my side, once in a while she’d put on some really smelly hand cream and she knew nothing about traveling in planes, a younger girl next to her had to explain everything. The best part was when the woman started pressing all the buttons she could find and my seat went down all of a sudden and it went down kind of fast. I was in the middle of watching Simpsons, for God’s sake. Anyway, no one snored so I wasn’t angry.

When the tax free started all Chinese flocked to the cart and spent one hour choosing some goods to buy. I bought candies and wondered for the longest time should I obtain some Jägermeister for thought situations but decided against it, there is always old good baijiu or dragon juice, as some people know it. And I watched Madagascar 3, 2 times because it is a freaking good animation. I never liked the first one but the third… masterpiece! I recommend warmly! After Madagascar 3 other animations seemed so bland. Yes, I know I am 25 years old but there were no movies of my interest so…

As people have told me, the food was awful (Finnair seriously… Must you be so damn Finnish about everything?!) but I drank many diet colas. Then I remembered why I never drink any carbonated drinks in plane, heartburn… The last hours were a bit painful and the air in the plane was getting from bad to worse, not to mention that the whole trip had been pretty shaky so I left the plane feeling pretty nauseous. I thought maybe there would be good air conditioning at the airport but… not a chance. The familiar Chinese smell welcomed me, I am not sure if it’s more old shit, rotten waste or vomit. Seriously, it’s not the fault of the Chinese, it’s the cigarettes. I don’t know how they make their cigarettes but I am sure it certainly is not tobacco!

I knew there would be a light rail but there were not enough signs so I just darted to a random direction, very smart once again… I asked one guard and he pointed me to a wrong direction, thanks man. Then I asked someone else and he told me to go to an exactly opposite direction… After 20 minutes of sweaty walking with all the bags I finally found the subway and actually saw there this one Finnish guy who had been on the same flight, sitting pretty near me. He asked if I was going to the same hostel as him but we went our different paths, him green and me red (lines). And anyway, when I asked where he was going he seemed very confused so I am not sure if he got anywhere.

The hostel

For once there was no trouble finding my hostel and I was there around 12pm but they let me check in only at 2. Well, that two hours just disappeared somewhere. Frankly speaking, there is something I hate about Chinese a lot. Where is professionalism? Okay, taxi and truck drivers are superb but why in each and every hostel the staff sucks? Actually, they are really nice and all but on the website they promise airport pick up and I was counting on it. My friend arrives at 12 am and she was hoping they could pick her up. Then, they just laugh and say it’s too late so they don’t wanna drive… (someone earns too well?!) There is a foreigner coming to China, who cannot really speak Chinese, in the middle of the night, is staying at the hostel, might write a negative review… And I am sure they know someone who would be more than happy to do this gig for some money, they just didn’t bother… Chinese grrr.

And there was this trouble of contacting my friend. She had given me her phone number on fb but I never wrote it down because I assumed, which I should never do in China ( I so should have known!), they would pick her up from the airport. Luckily my Samsung opened the fb chat, I got the number and called her on Skype with the worst connection ever. Right, I had forgotten how slow Internet was in China.

I booked our train tickets from Chongqing to Nanning on 17th and after 22 hours of hard sleeper, which is just perfect, we will arrive to our destination in the morning. The plan is to buy tickets to Hanoi right away and if there is some time left do some minor sight seeing. I would have take the night train but only one train per day available and it departs at 8am. Why?! Shoulda booked the sleeper bus, it would have been more interesting. Well, there is always the next time to die.

The feeling

There have been better times, just saying. Earlier I talked to some guys and I bet they thought I was super weird (well I am but…), once in a while I would make strange pauses in the middle of a sentence or word and stare into the space like a retard. I slept in the plane maybe for 5 restless hours, spent 2 hours organizing things at the hostel and then went sightseeing until 8pm. I feel like I am kind of drunk… See, no Jägermeister needed! Now there are still some mails I need to reply to, go trough today’s photos (not really that important though), pay a few bills, write down the day’s spendings (just for fun actually) and information of all the flights. I am unable to make any plans before I have it all written down, because of one traumatic experience at Narita airport some good four years ago I am always stressing about airports and flying. But I will tell more about that later.

And by the way, because I haven’t slept enough lately and because I ate all kind of shit at the shopping street today (Why did I do it?), my stomach is… in pretty bad condition. Let’s just say, there are times you need to pee all the time and there are the times you need to shi… the worst times. My tummy is grumbling weirdly, as if something is alive there… My nose is running non stop, my neck is killing me and I have a head ache. I should go to bed but I also kind of want to wait for my friend to discuss tomorrow’s plans. Oh God, I just finished 6 chocolate candies without even realizing anything. It just happened. Anyway, I was planning to wake up rather early tomorrow, not the best idea… But we will see. Fuck, I am just gonna be paranoid about that bug forever. It was so freaking big and why my bed of all four?! Why mine?! It can smell a loser or something?!

The plan

18th afternoon/evening arrival to Hanoi.

19th in the  morning go to a mountain to see monkeys and later meet some people who are interested in Finnish education system to answer their questions.

20th Hai Long bay if a day trip is available. If no then fuck…

21st fly to Ho Chi Min City at noon then take a bus to some village in the middle of nowhere.

22nd Wedding.
23rd or 24th sightseeing around the village and cross border to Cambodia.

Something something

29th flight to Kuala Lumpur.

something something

2nd flight to Shenzhen.

3rd be in Guangzhou to meet some friends.

4th go to Guilling and see rice terraces? Anyhow, plans still open

Something something.

11th get my ass back to Chongqing any way possible.

12th fly back home.

That’s pretty tight action filled plan, I hope it’s going to be a success, I mean  in a wicked failed way.

But the most important next: sightseeing in Chongqing. The city of… million villages put together and peasants?! What a first impression.