Prepare for your trip to China
China is one of those countries that I absolutely wanted to visit during my world tour . It is also a country that we hear a lot of good and a lot of bad. Before I arrived, I decided (even more than usual) to silence all my prejudices, to show superhuman patience and not to judge. Culture is so different that it can sometimes be difficult to understand. You will see it in all my stories about China, it’s a country I loved, but I hated it at times. It is a country of contrasts, an extraordinary and rich country with very friendly and surprising locals, but it is a country where I pushed a big sigh of relief when I left. I would return with great pleasure, but not for too long periods.
Since I did not apply for a visa before leaving, I had it done in Hong Kong thanks to this agency . I just had to wait 4 days on the spot. I entered by sea , from Japan through Shanghai, without any worries and no exit ticket. I left by land on the border with Laos.
Shanghai, first step
Freshly landed from Japan, I realize that we speak even less English here. I ask Chinese-speaking Japanese to do the translation to find the subway. They accompany me there and so begins my Chinese adventure. The subway is very modern, well signposted and easy to understand. I struggled to buy my first ticket, but then getting to my destination was very easy. I lodge for the next few days at a friend’s house in the French Quarter. She prepared videos, plans and drawings for me to find her studio, otherwise I would probably shoot again. The residence, where she lives does not pay mine, locals shout at me (probably they said hello …) and I finally reach the studio where I rest a few hours. This first contact was strange and exhausting.the French Quarter , an expat district ‘very green, very chic and very little Chinese. In the evening, I meet my friend Renée, who is none other than a Dutch woman she met in Colombia a few months earlier. She will explain to me the basics to survive in China and Shanghai and will help me set up my VPN to have uncensored Internet access in China.