China 101: City Speak

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Chinese. Living here, we’re steeped in it daily. We’ve delved into some of the differences in previous posts, and even tried to teach you some words. But now, I’m going to drop some linguistics on you.

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Nearly 80% of the world’s population speaks 1% of existent languages (see National Geographic’s project here). That’s a huge disparity. China, though it seems to be one massive Eastern hegemon sometimes, is actually made up of an incalculable number of subgroups that are riffs on the same theme. What is known globally as the Chinese language–Mandarin (普通话, Pǔtōnghuà)–is one distinct coloration of what it means to be a Chinese speaker.

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China 101: Street Food

In China, there are quite a few options if you like street food. Vendors will lineup anywhere and everywhere selling wares like fresh fruit, quail eggs, red bean cakes, roasted meat on skewers, seafood soup, corn on the cob, sticky pork buns, bamboo dumplings, and our local specialty in Jian’ou- Guǎng bīng (广兵)- little rounds of unleavened bread that taste a bit like Saltine crackers. Some street food is more intimidating like live eel or connective duck tissue for barbecuing, and seem a little barbaric to our Western sensibilities about hygiene. However, trying these delicacies is usually the best way to sample the authentic local flavor.

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Clear and Bright Weekend

Location: Jiuqu River, Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province, China

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You may not know this about me, dear reader, but I consider myself to be a woman of inherent paradoxes. One of these paradoxes, thankfully, K and I share. Despite my intense love for adventure and the way in which I passionately seek encounters with new places, people and ideas; I absolutely hate surprises. Now I admit, a little spontaneity can be good for the soul. I’m not saying a weekend getaway or an unexpected gift can’t be pleasant every now and again. However, I am a person who largely wants to have some semblance of knowledge about how she will be spending her days. Will I be climbing mountains, visiting ancient temples, trekking through forests, or sitting in front of my T.V. binge watching episodes of Game of Thrones? Do I need to buy popcorn or pack an overnight bag with hiking gear and galoshes? I simply want to be prepared.

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China 101: Taking the Train

Taking the train in China is serious business. Especially during the holidays, they are often jam packed with weary travelers. However, they can also be one of the most fascinating ways to transport you on your voyage. You can see a great deal of China’s incredibly vast landscape through the massive train windows. While on our latest adventure, we took many different types of trains (soft sleepers, hard sleepers, sitting, standing, etc.), as well as the high-speed train from Xi’an to Shanghai. We took these trains through many different types of climates, from frigid Harbin to sub-tropical Fuzhou. K made this video to give you a quick sneak peak into our experiences!

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China Surprises

Location: Fuzhou and Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China edit3

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This past week was a truly wonderful week for K and I in China. We had the opportunity to travel to Fuzhou, and we were greeted with two marvelous surprises while on our journey. One was the arrival of some of our closest friends to the country. The other was that we were nominated for the Liebster award from another blogger in the WordPress community (wanderinfish.com– check him out!). As we had originally established this blog only as a means of further communication with friends and family back home, we are thrilled at how much positive support and feedback we have received through this platform, and are greatly considering expanding and diversifying our efforts.

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Shanghai- The Megalopolis

Location: Shanghai, Shanghai Municipality, China

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Shanghai is a new city by Chinese standards, which means that it’s about a hundred years old. It only started its outlandish growth in the past 30 years, and is now the largest city in the world, second to Lagos, Nigeria. Al Gore’s fantastic nonfiction tome (but possibly secretly a dystopian fiction story) The Future depicts those two cities sprawling to the point that they outclass most small European countries in GDP, pollution, and population density. It’s been rigorously planned by the Party, to the point that they have a scale model of the entire metropolitan area despite a good portion of it not being built yet. You can see this at the Architecture Museum, a fantastic place to see the history of the city, but also the party rhetoric and its inevitable glorious, harmonious future. Never mind the smog.

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