Wednesday, 4 April 2012

China and its development in tourism

I went to Guangdon and Guangxi provinces in China for a week with my mom's crazy cousin. He is 71, learned to drive in his 60's, but drives his car all around crazy Chinese traffic and travels around the world without speaking English. It must have to do with his musical background that makes his mind stay sharp.

He's also a great tour guide and knows a lot of history about places and likes to be spontaneous when travelling and takes his time to explore. So I went on a trip with him, his wife and my aunt.

I went to Huzhou, Yangshou and other places. The karst scenery is pretty cool, but what struck me most is the "preparation" of these places for massive Western tourism. These places are already pretty touristy, but my mom's cousin and his wife were in Huzhou just 2 years ago and they say it's changed a lot.

I stared into the coffeeshops and hostels in Huzhou, with their signs all tacked in English and thought, "Where did this come from?" Last time I was in this part of China, I remember a bunch of kids coming up to us at night and asking for money. There was nothing like that this time. Now accommodation is equipped with wi-fi and owners are hiring people from France to westernize the hostel.

Or maybe it was all here before.

Bamboo and its uses

When I was in Budapest and I told some person I was going to Hong Kong, he said he'd never been but he knew that the scaffolding that you usually see as steel is made out of bamboo. Tough stuff, that bamboo.

And it's better than steel because it's floatable - in China it's now a tourist industry to float down rafts but for centuries fisherman and others used rafts made of bamboo as a primary mode of transport.

And it's better than wood because it's edible - different types of bamboo can be boiled as part of a soup, and it can be eaten as a snack in its entirety (chew to get the juice and then spit out the fibers), and its shoots can be eaten as part of a meal.

If anyone can name me a more versatile type of plant, let me know.


I'm in Hong Kong now. Not much to say about Hong Kong; I've seen it all before. I guess it's the invisible stuff - the air molecules - that has gotten to me this time.
But I have noticed one thing and it's that HK seems to have more signs in its city than other places where I've been. In the toilet alone, they must have at least 20 signs: please open door slowly, please be careful of the opening door, floor is slippery, please dry hands, please use hand dryer, please flush toilet etc. They also have instruction signs that in other countries would be unwritten because it'd be common knowledge or common sense, like how to go up an escalator (hold handrail. stand still)

These extra signs that make the city seem quirky probably have their reason in a) dealing with a large population of people b) legal reasons when dealing with a large population of people.