After only a month of work, yes, I was already on holidays! #joysofteaching The first week of October is the Chinese National Day, a week-long holiday, also known as the Golden Week, to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China on the 1st of October 1949. What a perfect opportunity to visit a new part of China and learn about the history and the culture of this vast and beautiful country! ☺ My first pick was Beijing, the national capital. At first, I was wondering why I was one of the only teacher at my school traveling in China, while most of them were escaping to other southeastern Asian countries. Well, I quickly understood why…
I left early on the Saturday morning allowing (I thought) enough time to head to the airport in Guangzhou, which normally takes 1h by bus from Dongguan. Well this “1h” bus ride turned into a 4h30 nightmare! If you think you’ve been in traffic before, you haven’t been to China! The highway literally became a giant parking lot… It seemed like every Chinese family in Dongguan decided to go on a road trip, on the same day, at the same exact time. Urg. I did practice my patience that day. A lot. Well I eventually made it to the airport, and, obviously missed my flight. However, it must be a common thing because they told me “Oh no problem, we just put you on later flight”. Oh ok then… and it was that easy! A few hours later, I was finally landing in the country’s capital. Lesson learned: Never travel on the first day of a Chinese holidays.
I won’t go into details of my whole trip. In a nutshell, despite the number of tourists, I had a lovely week visiting Beijing top attractions like The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, The Temple of Heaven, The Bell and Drum Tower. I also didn’t miss the chance to wander through the city’s countless hutong (alleyways) and of course I couldn’t leave without trying the capital signature dish, the Peking duck.
The highlight of my trip was definitely my camping trip on The Great Wall of China. What can I say, my happy place is in the mountains, not in the city, especially during a Chinese national holidays! I went with this local hiking group called Beijing Hikers (recommended by my lovely colleague!), which brings you to the unrestored sections of the wall, away from hordes of tourists. Let me tell you it was quite special not only to hike, but also to sleep on China’s most famous icon. You can see and feel the hundreds of years of history beneath your feet. What a thrilling experience!
So now it’s back to work until December. I’m really excited to be coming back home to Canada this year for Christmas. After spending my last winter in The Gambia, I’m extremely looking forward to be reunited with my family and friends for the holidays. Home is where the heart is they say… ♡