Wish me luck- I have a driving test this Wednesday to get my full license! (I have been driving for two years now with a learner’s license, so this test shouldn’t be a problem. The hard part is to remember to stop for 3 seconds at each stop sign, and to not drive above the speed limit.)
Today, I want to tell you guys about the second week of my China trip, which I spent in Shijiazhuang. Just a reminder about where this city is in China:
If you guys want to read about Weihai, China (a beautiful coastal city), check out my previous blog post here. Shijiazhuang is very different (be prepared).
Disclaimer: This won’t be your typical travel post! Since I was born in China and have lots of family there, you won’t see much touristy stuff here. However, you will likely get a sense of what it is like to live as a Chinese person.
We flew from Weihai to Beijing, then travelled to Shijiazhuang by bullet train, which can drive up to 300km per hour! This is one of the technological innovations that the Chinese are very, very proud of.
Another recent innovation? Bike sharing! This is super popular in the big cities in China these days. The yellow/orange bikes (see above) are located all over the city, and are available for rent using a mobile app! One of the neat things is that there are no standardized pick-up or drop-up locations: you can pick any random bike on the street, ride it where you need to go, and leave it wherever you want.
Also, in malls, supermarkets, restaurants, and event farmer’s markets, people pay using their cellphones, which are connected to their bank accounts. Cash is used infrequently, and people don’t swipe or tap credit cards.
On the flip side, unfortunately China has a smog problem. In fact, Shijiazhuang is THE smoggiest city in ALL of China, and China is one of the smoggiest cities in the world :’) If you ever visit a major city in China, you may see people wearing face masks.
On this note, a funny story told by a family friend living in China: When he visited Canada, he began to have breathing problems. “Why do you have breathing problems?” “Too… much… oxygen…” Lol :’)
We ate a lot of good food in Shijiazhuang. One interesting thing I tried was donkey meat. Apparently donkey can be cooked in many ways – steamed donkey, stir-fried donkey, donkey wrap, donkey stew… It tastes kind of like beef, but less stringy. What is the weirdest food that you’ve tried?
In case you are curious about the people in my picture, from left to right: Uncle, aunt, cousin, grandma, grandpa, mom, me, dad 🙂
I spent some mornings visiting my grandma in the hospital (she has atrial fibrillation). No worries, she is doing well now 🙂
We did do one touristy thing in Shijiazhuang, which was to visit the Zhao Zhou Bridge. Built in the early 600s, this is the oldest bridge in China, and the oldest bridge of its type in the world.
Do you have your driver’s license already? What is some of the cool technology in your country? What is the weirdest food that you’ve tried? Any culinary specialties that you love in your culture? Any burning questions about China?!