My first impressions will be associated with the island of Hainan and the small town of Lingshui, so the post, although about impressions from China, will rather be relevant mainly for Hainan. And it may well be that if we were in Beijing or somewhere else in the northern part of the country, the impressions would be completely different. Well, whatever one may say, but for myself all the time I draw parallels with Thailand, because it is special for me - the first country in Asia where I lived for a long time. Hainan will become the same for me, as the first place I visited in China..
The content of the article
- one Comparison with Thailand
- 2 Internet
- 3 Prices
- 4 Transport
- five Language and people
- 6 Climate
- 7 Visas
Comparison with Thailand
As I wrote above, I can only compare with the Hainan Island, for China is huge. So here everything reminds me of a visually ennobled Tai. The buildings are similar, only newer or something, there are no completely trash and filthy, apparently the walls are painted on time. And there is also a different height, ordinary buildings have 5 floors instead of 3, as is usual in Tae. And also even our small town is full of buildings of 10-20 floors. Outwardly they look like modern Thai condos in Pattaya or Bangkok, remember, we lived somehow in this.
On the streets there is a similar problem with sidewalks, they are not everywhere, and if there is, then it is easier to walk along the roadway. But it is much cleaner. Yes, there are trash places like a market where slop flows almost over your feet and piles of rubbish, but in the rest of the city everything is fine..
Bikes and tuk-tuks ride on the streets, there are mowers, fruits are sold. The nature is all the same - tropical, with palms and grass scorched in places. But, the truth is, everything is very similar. Only the Chinese hardly ever smile, and I do it out of habit (I always have a smile in Tae), but apparently it will soon pass. Connoisseurs of China just do not be offended, for sure, you will find much more differences 🙂
The internet is here ... In Thailand, I have never had such a bad internet. But, in fairness, I think the problem is not in the country, but in the fact that here in the rehabilitation center there is some kind of dead wifi (5 Mbps) and is distributed to half of the building. And although, most likely, no one is downloading anything, apparently the channel itself is very unstable, the site can open for several minutes (if it opens at all). In general, the situation resembles Tai - there is speed, but some of the packets are lost (hence the delays), and apparently they carry traffic to Russia on horseback.
Also encountered a Chinese firewall. Google, Dropbox, Facebook and Yandex.Disk services do not work (application, website opens). But in addition to them, the most common sites, such as Evernote, Hotelscombined, Internet banks, or even the Megafon site, periodically do not work! Maybe the firewall of the hospital itself is blocking something or some problems with tracing, I don't know. In any case, I need Google, so I bought a VPN from seed4.me (if you need an invitation, then here is 4387f487-178e-4517-9bf4-86e069c00f7d) and use it, almost always everything opens through it, only the speed is not happy, sometimes by a minute you have to wait for the download. I had to turn off all cloud services and forget about torrents. But the main thing Life-trip quickly opens, either with a VPN or without it, in fact, and thanks for that 🙂
Expensive. While, of course, it is too early to speak, but I have already visited two supermarkets and the market, prices are slightly lower than in Moscow. On average, fruits / vegetables cost around 15 RMB / kg. In March 2015, they give 1 yuan for 10 rubles, so we multiply all prices by 10. However, if we consider that half a year ago, when transferring to rubles, everything cost half as much, then again we return to the fact that the problem is in the ruble, and some countries have remained inexpensive. But I will publish a separate post about food somehow, when I get into the picture, I visit cafes, I will try as much as possible. And you need to understand that food is not the only item of expenditure..
Yellow mango is not exactly like in Thailand, it looks more like the variety when the outside is green and orange on the inside. I like it 🙂 Cost 10-15 RMB / kg. And then there are awesome cherry tomatoes, I have never eaten such ones in my life. The taste is so intense that it's like eating a tomato concentrate. They cost about 7-10 RMB / kg. Yes, it's very unusual that the price is everywhere for half a kilo, every time you get confused.
Housing costs about 1500-2500 yuan for a good apartment, but you cannot rent for less than a year, despite the fact that the payment is not monthly, but six months at a time (most often). But this, if we talk about our town of Lingshui. In Sanya, as I understand it, in this regard it is a little simpler, there are more offers of housing and sometimes there is a monthly payment, like a monthly rent, but also annual contracts are preferable.
The movement, like here in Russia, is right-hand, but traditionally for Asia there are a lot of bikes on the roads. I didn't like driving. Do you think Thais drive bad? Come to us in Hainan and see how else it happens. Bikes go on the opposite lane (and not on the side of the road!), Without looking across the solid, do not pay attention to pedestrians, cars and traffic lights. Key word here «not looking» and «not predictable». Moreover, some motorists drive it looks like I was driving a taxi through the city of Sanya to the railway station, and there on the main street there are turns every few meters, and so the cars also turn around without looking, interfering with the flow and forcing everyone to slow down or stop. And when you buzz them (the taxi driver did it stubbornly), they do not pay attention, they just continue to imposingly finish their maneuver.
Maybe it's good that foreigners can't drive here 🙂 And then I had an idea to rent it, but it's scary to drive. More precisely, you can drive, but you need to obtain Chinese driving license, our international license is not available. True, you can drive without a license low-power scooters, for example, electric ones. Yes, there are a lot of electric scooters here! At first I could not understand why they passed by almost without noise, I thought they were saving gasoline. But then I saw that they were up the hill too «save» and then it dawned on me. Later I was told that in China there is generally some kind of ban on gasoline bikes, so it is difficult to register them..
A huge plus of electric scooters is the absence of noise and burning. I remember how, at a large Thai intersection, my ears are blocked and there is nothing to breathe. But the electric bike is designed for a total of 50 km. But you can buy it for 2000 yuan or less. One might say no rent. I saw on the Internet ads for renting 150 cc scooters at 130 yuan / day, we are talking about Sanya, but as I understand it, this is not a mass phenomenon. In our city, there is no rent at all, because there are no foreigners here, only we.
Language and people
They don't speak English here. They don't speak at all. Moreover, the Chinese persistently try to tell me something in Chinese, even if it is clear from my speech that I do not know a word. Even when I speak English or Russian, it seems that they are trying to understand, but what did I say, maybe my pronunciation in Chinese is not very good 🙂 At the airport, I asked a guy one about where here the terminal is located, and he stubbornly spoke Chinese, asked again, tried to understand the word «terminal».
The same trouble with the inscriptions, there is almost nothing in English, neither on the streets nor in the store. How, it turns out, Tai is tailored for foreigners, in stores almost everything is duplicated in English, and on the street some Thai inscriptions are written in English letters, and you just need to remember that, for example, Wat is a temple, and Baan is a village. The main thing is that you can read, in contrast to Chinese characters.
It's still difficult for me to say something about people, because in our medical center, doctors are all accustomed to foreigners, and in the town where we live, locals, on the contrary, all stare at us as if we were aliens. They can literally follow on the heels and almost look into the mouth. Such close attention is very annoying, you feel like a monkey in a cage..
As I said, the Chinese in Hainan do not smile. But in general, they are somehow less severe than the Russians 🙂 And the same trick is in the culture, like the Thais - «loss of face», this is inconvenient. From a completely unusual thing - the Chinese spit on the floor with relish, spit, I would say, and many smoke. And for some reason they always speak in a raised voice, almost shout, so if there are several Chinese people, then there is a hubbub.
Along the way, I found a very suitable climate for myself, almost ideal. I trudge every day! Now I watch in Pattaya 31-33 degrees during the day and 25-27 at night. We have here in Hainan in the Sanya area 28-30 in the afternoon, which are easy to carry, especially in the shade. And the night temperature is 21-23, that is, in the evening, at night and in the morning, you can normally take a break from the heat. What can not be said about Tae, after all, the nighttime 25-27 degrees does not allow you to rest completely from the heat. The climate in Sanya is somewhat similar to the climate of Chiang Mai, only it is never so cold, and so hot, plus the sea.
Yes, soon the heat will come to Hainan, maybe up to 35 degrees, but the hot season is only a few months, from May to September somewhere. The rest of the time is generally cool, in winter the temperature drops to 18-20 degrees in the daytime. Cool, just what I always wanted not to get hot all year! Honestly, I'm surprised why Sanya and its surroundings are still not in trend with our winterers.
There are many types of visas in China, so I have not yet gone into all the nuances, if I am mistaken, correct it. Basically, it all comes down to the fact that you have to leave once every 90 days, either on a tourist visa or on some other. From Hainan, you can go to Hong Kong, or rather fly out, make a new visa there, or get the next time and return. From the convenient options, we see a business visa M (it costs about 15 thousand rubles per year in agencies in Russia) or a student visa without leaving (but you need to study and spend money on it).
The cost of a visa and a flight for a family is quite noticeable. A plane to Hong Kong alone costs 15 thousand rubles per person (you can search and compare prices on Aviasales.ru and Skyscanner.ru), and you need to fly several times a year (depending on the required length of stay). However, they say there are inexpensive tickets to Shenzhen, from where you can take the subway to Hong Kong and cross the border. In principle, when compared with business migration to Eastern Europe or a student visa to Thailand, the monthly costs will be more or less comparable..
P.S. These are my first impressions, let's see what happens next. It seems like I like everything, but how to live here without Chinese is not clear.