It covers a very diverse area, and the people from different areas are very diverse. Even beyond Hong Kong and Taiwan the concept a single unified China is something I struggled to get my head around. Our guides would often reference dynasties from hundreds of years ago and say “they unified all of China.”
We flew with Qantas into Beijing from Sydney. Technically we started in Melbourne, but the international leg departed from Sydney. We had tried to get Qantas to let me join the flight in Sydney, instead of flying down to Melbourne, and then back up to Sydney again. But they said no, at least not without paying $1500 to change my ticket.
I studied Chinese in high school, all the way to year 12, though I barely remember any now. I’ve eaten with chopsticks since I was a kid. I just remember chopsticks being in the cutlery drawer with everything else, like the little cake forks you use to eat cake. They’ve always just been there.
I’ve been to Hong Kong a few times, either as a 3 or 4 day stop over going to or from somewhere else, or for around a week with the school band, I played the bass clarinet. But I had never made it to mainland China.
Dad had been interested in going for years. Dad convinced mum to go by organising the trip through an agent with dedicated guides and drivers each day to take us around.
After spending a couple of days in Helsinki I figured I had rested my ankle enough, and I wanted to head a little way out of the city. I installed the local Helsinki public transport app on my phone, and asked Google Maps for directions. Nuuksio (which I still have no idea how it is pronounced) was two busses away. I knew I didn’t want to be trying to get back to Helsinki in the dark, so I set out quite early in the morning, in the dark.