The Catcher in the Rice

Written by Jiří , CZ

China UNlimited___
  • You have to watch out in China, hon. There’s gonna be an undercover agent watching each one of you all the time. If they see you taking pictures of some public buildings they’re going to grab you, put in a tiny cell and demand a ransom. 

My mother, she only has one child, me. Therefore me going to Beijing for two week summer camp made her quite worried. She would not be able to make my breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and make sure I don’t catch any bacteria.

Before me and other students from the Olomouc Confucius institute left Prague, my mother had given me a series of notes with strict guidelines I had to promise I’d follow.

  • Always wash everything, use hand-sanitizer after touching anything. Don’t drink the water and don’t take showers there, you’ll get a rash. If your body starts to smell, just use ample of deodorant. 

She had thought we’d be living in a leaking wooden shack with cockroaches and meatbugs and the only toilet would be the outside bamboo forest. At the same time, she had me insured for fire, flood, earthquake, typhoon, tsunami, car crash, any sort of injury, homesickness and monkey bites.

As a matter of fact we lived in a Beijing hotel with security, TV, WiFi, soft beds, shower, western toilet, flawless escape plan, camera system and three traditional Chinese meals a day. Originally I was a bit cautious about the water but after taking daily showers I realized I had been paranoid.

  • Don’t go anywhere in the evening, you’ll get jumped. In that case, start barking and pretend you have rabies.

The first day, after the arrival we were blown away by Czech-speaking Chinese students. They volunteered to guide us around, fluently in our mother tongue. However, my friend and I got a crazy idea at the diner. We wanted to go see the Forbidden City although it was already closed.

We took the biggest subway in our lives, where a ticket was 1 yuan, subway going every three minutes and had about 9 lines all over the city.

We still couldn’t read all the Chinese characters but we always managed to find the way. We talked with some kind Chinese people who came up to us, seeing two lost western guys looking into a map.

When we arrived to the Forbidden City, we saw a humongous lit-up complex, stretching for miles in the distance. Thus we decided to experience its size first hand and went all the way around it in the Beijing night. Circling around the complex took us about an hour through the half-empty streets. Although we were the only foreigners around, we had never felt safer.

  • Watch for your things, there are crowds of people, all pressing on each other. Somebody’s gonna rob you, so hide the money in your shoes and wear your worst clothes to look cheap. 

It never felt really crowded as we always somehow eluded the rush hours. Yet when there were more people around I enjoyed listening and trying to understand what the Chinese were saying. When I heard some words that I knew I just started screaming in Chinese, with excitement. They would always be surprised and start talking and taking selfies with us.

One girl we met went with us all the way to the campus of Peking University. Called her friend and gave us a tour around the massive campus with the lake, park and a tower.

The two of them introduced us to WeChat, which is a Chinese Facebook, except without the obnoxiousness. It helps you find other people when you‘re abroad. We’re in contact till this very day. When she came to visit Prague six months ago I returned the favor and showed her Prague Castle, Charles’ Bridge and the Dancing Building.

  • Watch for what you eat, or they will serve you a dog. Also don’t eat any street food, you’ll get stomach problems. Only eat in McDonald’s.

You cannot go to China without trying some street food. Chinese people eat a lot of chili and ginger which cleanses any bacteria or infections in the bodies. Altogether with traditional Chinese medicine and Taiji it makes the Chinese very agile and healthy. We did the same and enjoyed healthy digestion.

Each day we ate at a round table with a moving center from the food bowls so that everyone could taste anything they wanted. Additionally, the menu was changed for us every day so that we could sample a large portion of Beijing and Shandong cuisine.

We got served things like Chinese Baozi dumplings, completely different from central-european dumplings. They were made out of thin dough with meat filling, which altogether with some soy sauce made it a delicacy.

We were taken for a few feasts such as the Beijing roast duck and traditional Chinese hotpot. Essentially something like a fondue with soup base instead of melted cheese.

  • They’re going to try to make you a communist. Don’t listen to them. They all get brainwashed and think everything from the west is bad. However, don’t argue with them either or they will put you in jail for spying.

Our Chinese guides enjoyed Coldplay and Broadway Musicals. They showed us some Chinese relationship dramas and comedies. Introduced us to Chinese pop music, Chinese opera and mainly to the Chinese national sport… bargaining. That involved a lot of role-play with arguing, joking, laughing and pretended leaving, to gain trading respect.

We even got to attend the Farewell my Concubine show in a theatre. That was followed by Beijing acrobatics show which absolutely blew us away. It felt like the best of Got Talent on steroids.

Regardless to say that after the initial freak-outs, my mother eventually got interested in China. I really wish I didn’t tell her, because now she either keeps learning Chinese or plans a trip to Shanghai, and I have to cook for myself.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

“We always honor our words, and in that respect we expect our partners to honor their words as well”, China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlights live from Brussels

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres calls for restraint in Venezuela, Jazz Day, the importance of breastfeeding, and updates from Libya, Iran and Mozambique

ECB will be the catalyst of Eurozone’s reunification

Eurozone: Economic Sentiment Indicator recovering losses

Guinea-Bissau: Upcoming elections vital to prevent ‘relapse’ into instability, says UN envoy

End ‘shame, isolation and segregation’ of fistula sufferers, urges UN reproductive health chief

Tax revenues continue increasing as the tax mix shifts further towards corporate and consumption taxes

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: Innovation across borders – mobilising national R&D funds for transnational innovation in Europe

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

China invites the EU to a joint endeavor for free trade and order in the world

10 of Albert Einstein’s best quotes

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

6 things to know about press freedom around the world

Cape Town almost ran out of water. Here’s how it averted the crisis

4 radical shifts required to achieve universal health coverage worldwide

ECB: Reaching the limits of its mandate to revive the Eurozone economy

Four million Syrian children have only known war since birth: UNICEF

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

MEPs adopt new Fisheries Partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara

Health Education, is it a necessity?

‘Historic moment’ for people on the move, as UN agrees first-ever Global Compact on migration

Far from a healthy Health Workforce: lack of workforce planning leaves our citizens without access to proper care

An EU Summit without purpose

Cyber attacks are shutting down countries, cities and companies. Here’s how to stop them

5 ways for business leaders to win in the 2020s

Senior UN children’s advocate says they ‘should never be targeted by violence’

A new era of computing is coming. How can we make sure it is sustainable?

Vulnerable young people must not be blamed & stigmatised for violent radicalisation

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

EU car manufacturers worry about an FTA with Japan

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

Girls groomed for suicide missions fight back against the extremists of Lake Chad

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

China’s impact as a global investor; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Which countries get the most sleep – and how much do we really need?

At UN, Yemen Foreign Minister demands end to ‘Iranian-Houthi coup d’etat’

Brexit talks started with a London handicap and Brussels’ sternness

Draghi sees inflationary bubbles

DR Congo: Ebola outbreak spreads to eastern ‘no-go’ zone surrounded by rebels

Brexit Preparedness: European Commission adopts final set of “no-deal” contingency measures for Erasmus+ students, social security coordination rules and the EU budget

Is it just visa-free travel that Erdogan demands from the EU to not break the migration deal?

Thailand gave healthcare to its entire population and the results were dramatic

These cities have the best quality of life

Denmark is experimenting with ‘culture vitamins’ to lift people out of depression

Is the world living up to its climate commitments?

Children suffering ‘atrocities’ as number of countries in conflict hits new peak: UNICEF

2016 crisis update: the year of the Red Fire Monkey burns the world’s markets down

MEPs adopted measures to reconcile work and family life

“Financial crisis will not happen in China!”, the Chinese Premier underlines from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

Senior UN official strongly condemns Southern California synagogue attack

UN pushes for universal health care on International Day

Access to healthcare: what do we lack?

Living to 100: why we should plan for more sushi, chocolate and work

Rule of Law: European Commission takes new step to protect judges in Poland against political control

‘We face a global emergency’ over oceans: UN chief sounds the alarm at G7 Summit event

Burnout is a pandemic. Why don’t we talk more about it?

AIESEC Vlog

Juncker Plan exceeds original €315 billion investment target

UN rights expert calls for end to ‘purgatory’ of ‘international inaction’ facing Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s