Being on a G Adventures tour has been super helpful as we were constantly given historical, cultural and general fun facts on a day to day basis, so I thought I’d compile a note on what I learn’t during my time here.
Be prepared to say goodbye to western toilets, toilet paper and soap when you cross the border into mainland China as these are all very hard to find. Hotels and some restaurants are okay but most are squat toilets and they don’t provide toilet paper or soap as the population is too large to cater for everyone – Beijing has more people that the whole of Australia!
Due to many decades of the one child policy being enforced, the ratios of boys to girls is 5/1! This has become such a problem for society as many women would have an abortion if they found out they were having a girl and still now in China you can have an abortion at any time during a pregnancy! Many families wanted, and still want boys as they carry on the family name and will stay living in the home all their life therefore bringing money back to the family and they will be there to look after their elderly parents.
If you live in the countryside the need to have a boy increases as you are not entitled to a pension, this is reserved for those who live in the city, therefore it seemed vital to have a boy who could take care of you when you could no longer work. This distaste for daughters became such an epidemic it is now illegal to find out the sex of your child before the birth, and the government offers money to families in the countryside to have daughters.
On a different note, China is striving to become the first country to eradicate paper money, opting for online methods that run on apps on your phone. There are QR codes everywhere and at first we were very confused but there are two apps ‘AliPay’ and ‘WeChat’ which everyone here uses and you simply scan a code and it purchases whatever you want!
SIDE NOTE: I got filmed in Shanghai to be in an AliPay TV advert!
These two apps are so popular in China as all social media used in the West is banned. No Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google or WhatsApp! You have to use illegal VPNs to access these sights whilst you are here, but WeChat for example is monitored by the communist party so it is allowed.
Stock rotation is not a thing in China. Everything in the supermarket is at least 2 months out of date and no one seems to mind!! It’s very bizarre but the food is mainly okay, there are some very questionable things which is to be expected in the country where they claim themselves that they eat anything that moves.
NB// If you plan to come to China bring Salt! It doesn’t seem to exist here not even on McDonalds chips!
I have loved every minute of this vibrant country and I am so glad that I’ve seen such a variety of places! China I will be back!