China the return

So we already discussed the hotels, lets just take a holistic view of the atmosphere we were part of.

China no glitz-just plain old non hyped up China is what I wanted to do on this trip. I wanted to walk in the neighborhoods and just observe.

Public bathrooms- I applaud them.  They could be found in most places from the mall to the subway and just in a neighborhood. They were always being cleaned. The regular public bathrooms are  usually small so there is never any lingering in the stall, just relieving oneself and running.  I just had a flash of their port a potty–kind of semi permanent looking canal bathrooms and I cannot even bring myself to visualize it.  We saw some really out of this world ones and I would not wish it upon even my worst acquaintance.  –TP everywhere and stuff everywhere and we would just imagine the smell.

We did the train and as before it was modern and now there were more lines and stops.  What is familiar to me is the electronic train system.  The doors just shut–human interaction is minimal so if you get caught in it, it hurts and then you have like 1 second to get on. It is a double door system like in Singapore.

I felt at ease on this trip as we used some free self walk pre-defined walking tours from the internet and some books.  Though they were not always spot on, we kind of muddled through.  We went to a neighborhood north of the Forbidden City.  We just entered the area and proceeded to make our way through.  We saw a beautiful river, some craftsmen, a new cafe, a hotel and repair shops.  The literal maze we fun to walk around in–no glitz, just regular people living and some people, the way they have lived for a long time. We ducked into a few walkways and dwellings (si he yuan) and just took it all in.  Some were better than others but it was just interesting to see how one large square in a sense was then subdivided into little homes and there were the meters and electrical wires so you can just imagine.  It was nice at times because it was so quiet.

Other things we saw was a barber doing his thing right in the town square with his cell phone close by.  He was legit, with his overcoat, supplies and chair.  you will not see this on  regular tour.  We even saw kids on a field trip.  We ate at a Western chain (Domino’s) but got a non-western combination.  That was fun and so much fun that we ate that for breakfast the next day.

We walked along the road to the train and saw the mix of old and new stores.  There are some places that gentrification missed and we were glad.  My family was able to experience the raw Chinese experience.  We even took the regular bus and that was an experience.  I had taken the bus a few times over ten years ago.  I remembered how it was but when I lived it this time, I really remembered.  We did not even know how to pay and when I went to pay, the driver just waved us on, either because of frustration that we were holding up the line or because we did not know what was going on.  Oh well.  We watched people gather and then hustle to get the bus and we only knew our stop from looking at the buildings.  Luckily we could see it before we came up on it so we had time to press the button.

We only did a few things on this trip, so we have to go back.  We did not really explore the BUND area and also there was a cool hotel outside of the city that would have been fun to see.


here are some pictures from our trip


China Hotel Stories

Oh so where do I start!!!!💆🏾‍♀️

We stayed in Beijing at the Ramada hotel. It was about an hour by train outside of Beijing.   The hotel was older but a normal comfort level.  It had  floor to ceiling windows and then it had a lounge chair and foot stool as well as above chair and desk large tv, and a fridge.  It had a bathroom with a tub and a shower, and marble fixtures.  So I do not care what people say, it is still a step up in terms of materials from what I have at home.  We liked the breakfast and it was varied. There were people (hotel staff) making omlettes and noodles as well a regular Chinese foods.

Not far from the hotel was a street of local food.  Most people did not venture that way but we did.  It even had a tradtional alley where people were selling meat, fresh made bread, pastry snacks and fruits and veggies.  The place we decided to eat had the pictures on the walls so it was really point and click for us.  We did want to know the ingredients inside so we played on our phones translating details.  We have come a long way since I first travelled to China.  Now we can somewhat understand each other in certain situations.

Hotel 2 was in Suzhou.  We flew from the airport in Beijing and went south to Suzhou at some late hour.  We arrived and then jumped on a bus for about an hour to drive and arrived at a Holiday Inn Express .  It was a smaller room but modern in a hipster kind of way so like a college kid who thinks his decoration is cool.  The room again had floor to ceiling windows.  There were  bedroom slippers (I wondered how many of those get thrown away every day. ) So it was pretty late and we all showed and just jumped into the kind sized bed. I must however note the following things. There were tons of accessories in the bathroom-combs, ear cleaners, brushes, sanitary bags and the normal soap, shampoo, and conditioner.  I grabbed everything from the room.  Oh, the bathroom wall was made of glass bricks,  so partially visible to the bedroom but no worries, you could not see through them. It was all asthetics.  I just wondered what happened if there was a leak.  Also a cool thing was that the bathroom door also doubled as the shower door.  Either you were peeing and had privacy that way or you were in the shower and someone else could be at the sink. The room was all brick and unfinished concrete.  It was cold but modern (in a different way than the room.)

The breakfast here was negligible.  There  was cereal, some bread, some meat and some fruit.  There were maybe dumplings  and sausage but that was it.  We ate up but were not amused.

The next hotel we stayed at was in Wuxi at the Days Hotel Baile Wuxi. It was a regular hotel room with a decent sized bed and a little bit more trimmings on the bed linens.  The bathroom was small but all the space was used well.  The closets had glass.  I think I remember almost leaving my and my kids jacket in the closet. I came back to the room while waiting for my ride.

Next was the Liang’an International Hotel.  So this hotel had a mall downstairs. I did not get to walk around as my kid was asleep and I volunteered to stay inside while my husband went out for food.  We had a great view as it was like the 20th floor.  However there were cigarette buts in the carpet and the bathroom was like a dancing pulpit and it was floor to ceiling glass.  There was a curtain that could be opened for privacy.  Yay.  The bathroom was tight with the door opening in such a way that no one else could be in that area.  Also there was some unused space and the space in general was ill placed.   The food here was on the 27th folor and there was tons of variety.

The food cafeteria wrapped around the top of the building.  You could get a seat along the window.  Unfortunately it was too early and foggy for us that morning to see anything.  There were lots of pastries and waffles and the like, so we ate our bellies full.

The next hotel we stayed at was the Lian’gan International Hotel.  It was a small hotel and the breaskfast room was downstairs.  We ate  in a cafe of sorts and there were lounge chairs.  There was a small but decent selection.  I think we grabbed a tad much so we threw  out some stuff.  We ate quickly as we were to be on our way soon to drive for most of the day.

The last hotel was the Venus International Hotel Shanghai Wild Animal Park.  So this one was a smaller room and barely any room for our bags.  I made use  of the cabinets for my book bag.  Our room was right across from another room.  No joke–open the curtain and you could see the other people in their bed.  Yeah that flipping close.  So we closed the curtains.  The bathroom was no frills but had a shower, toilet and sink.  It was okay and though tight, did not have an ick feeling.  We were to be there two nights.  In the morning we were getting ready and guess what–the fuse blew so it got dark immediately and I opened the curtains, and got the cell phone lights on.  I was like, really, really.  So we called down to the front  desk and using a translation program tried to communicate that our electricity was gone and that we needed someone to come and fix it now.  That took a while so we went to breakfast and in the mean time,  my husband dealt with them and eventually they gave another room.  He had to move everything.  Luckily we are not used to spreading out.  We never unpack and we only take out what we need and store the rest.

The breakfast here was non existent almost beyond negligible.  There was only some bread, some dumplings and fried bread and I cannot even remember–maybe cereal.  That night for dinner we brought home pizza.  So the following morning we ate cold pizzza.  That was infinitely better than the stuff they were serving for breakfast downstairs.


hotel adventures

food shortages

fun times

When can we do it again!!!