Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Learning Chinese

I spent over 5 months in China and really tried to learn Chinese language on my own but it was really hard. Of course I learned basics, few sentences in mandarin but still I was using my husband in order to communicate with people there. Now, after many months back I decided to learn it hard so by my next visit I will be able to talk to people and which is more important to understand them:) Please cross your fingers for that...
T-Shirt Mens Green " save the planet learn Chinese " Languages LargeFirst of all I have started use my cd with dialogs to learn sentences and repeat them millions of time. Believe me it is the best way to learn accent and pronunciation. Although I know I will never get rid of my natural accent. Lets be honest:)
Second I use nciku.com website (thanks be to Internet) to learn 5 characters a day, well maybe less:) In China it is crucial to recognize some of the characters (i.e. toilet sign) otherwise you will not be able to find anything.
Also I have few sentence cards with me so I can memorize Chinese sentences more efficient.
Last but not least I always try to force my husband to speak to me in Chinese:) I think it is good to have native speaker around you when you try to learn foreign language.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Karaoke (KTV) in China

Karaoke Television in short KTV is the most popular form of entertainment in China and I must say that this is fun. Almost every young person there wants to become a singer and the rest of them just love to sing.
I have been in several KTV's with my husband's friends and even though I didn't know any of the Chinese songs it was still fun watching people having great time.
In Shenyang during the night on almost every street there are colorful lights flashing and inviting to KTV's. Usually those buildings look like hotels with many private rooms and some of them have even little professional studios so anybody can record an album! I know crazy:)
When you want to go Karaoke prepare to be shocked! First of all at the desk you get the number of a room. Later you go to snack shop in order to buy crazy stuff such as mustard peanuts, dry squid, maybe some 'normal' sunflower seeds and of course beer,and after that you are ready to rock!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bargain guide

China (Eyewitness Travel Guides)This post I would like dedicate to all tourists visiting China;) I want to let you know that when buying anything there one pays at least from triple up to ten times more than one should! That is the truth but it doesn't mean that we have to pay so much. When I came to China I was transferring every price to Euro and I thought how cheap it is here but of course it doesn't work that way. The thing is tourists don't bargain so actually it is our fault that we pay more;) That is why I really want to emphasize on this topic here. So don't let people to rip you of even on little things as food!
First of all don't let sales people see that you really like the product. They will use that information against you. The best thing is to have calm face while buying on the market.
Secondly let them know that the product you want to buy is not perfect. For example it is in wrong colour or threads are coming out etc. In this case sales people usually will give some discount. Another thing is Chinese sellers always give higher price to foreigners so it is better for us to ask for 'onest' price at the beginning.
Finally I want to give you the most important advice. Never ever believe sales people! They will tell you anything you want to hear (including lies) just to sell the product. Salespeople can shout and even curse at you but don't give up:) Even if you will not be able to buy the thing you like at one stand you can always buy it in the next one...

At the end there is a story from the souvenir shop nearby the Shenyang Forbidden City. I was there with my husband just to have a look. I wasn't planning to buy anything but I noticed small paper fan which I liked very much. Sales people at the stand were very excited about it and they were telling me the price of it. It was 45 Yuen. I new back then that it is too much even though it is about 4.50 Euro. By the way I could buy 2 lunches for it:) Anyway I said no to that and I wanted to walk away. But the sales people didn't give up and start giving me lower prices. My husband joined me then telling them I don't want it because they don't give me the normal price but much higher. They got a little angry but at the end while we were almost walking out from the market they called us back that we can have the fan for 15 Yuen...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Harbin - Oriental Paris

One of our goals of coming to China was a trip to Harbin city which is the capital of the Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China.

Harbin is one of the sources of ice and snow culture in the world. It is located in Northeast China under the direct influence of the cold winter wind from Siberia. Average -20 degrees Celsius is the temperature in winter.

The city is well-known for its Russian and European-influenced architecture. The great example of it is the Russian Orthodox church, St. Sophia Cathedral.

In the city there are many ice sculptures illuminated with colorful lights which really made great impression in the night.

"Ice City", which is other name for Harbin, is well known for its long and cold winter. Normally I wouldn’t want to go somewhere cold but this city is famous for its display of ice sculptures in the winter and I always wanted to visit the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

In front of Ice City in Harbin

We went to Harbin for two days at the beginning of February although the official start date of the festival is January 5th. It was still the spring festival time but we were able to get tickets for a train.

Ice and Snow World was amazing but it was enormously freezing in there. We had to borrow coats from a friend who lives in Harbin because we would freeze to death I guess. Anyway you can see on the pictures that Dawei is having an army coat and I have a fur (poor animal by the way). The thing is that our friend's mum wouldn’t let us go in our regular clothes:) so we had to wear those "funny" clothes. I am glad she did that although.

The Ice City in Harbin

Dawei in the Ice City

I am on a huge chessboard in the Ice City

A Castle in the Ice City in Harbin

As you can see on pictures the place was huge and it had illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of ice. We even went to a huge ice slide which was a bit scary for me, specially finishing part when a seat made from metal went suddenly up and I landed on my back. Anyway worth to try;)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spring Festival in Shenyang

This year the Chinese New Year of Ox began on 26th of January. In Shenyang you could hear firecrackers every evening one week before that event. At my husbands home everybody was cleaning and preparing all the food and decorations such as red lanterns, papercuts and red signs with short poems which are hung around the door. Also outside you could and still can feel holiday atmosphere. In almost every window there are red lanterns and flashing lights. More over it was snowing a couple of days before so snow covered everything. I almost felt like on Christmas Day.

At the New Years Eve we had family reunion dinner in our grandparents place. At midnight we ate dumplings, drank and enjoyed family atmosphere in front of TV. In TV program there were songs about China and even Chinese astronauts said wishes for New Year which was funny but hey nobody cares as we have New Year!

Before midnight we went outside to let off some firecrackers like many people at that time. I must say that we polluted the whole area in front of our building but the fun we had you cannot compare to anything.

Also at midnight my husband and I had to bow to elder family members and give money as a present to children. There is a funny thing about giving and receiving money as you cannot accept that kind of present and on the other hand you have to insist on giving it. In general the whole family members scream at each other and in the end you give it and somebody has to take it:)

Now we will celebrate New Year of the ox for another 15 days. Guo nian hao 过年好 everybody!!!