China, b*tch! :-D
My phone is buzzing, an incoming message. Jana (the Jumping founder) is texting me. "I got a surprise for you!", I am expecting something like – we decided to organize this and that event… But! The next message was – you’re coming to China with us in 2 months! I slapped myself to check if I am not dreaming :-D Fortunately not 😊 Jumping® Fitness was about to participate FIBO in Shanghai for the very first time and it was my honor to be a part of this expedition.
I was aware of China’s reputation due to conditions in the country. Censorship, public monitoring, but also an enormously economy and advanced technology. I couldn’t wait for the moment when I actually land in China and write first experiences to my own memory.
The Czech Republic has had a visa-free entry for limited days with many countries (hooray for South Korea :-D), but China is not one of them at all (such as Egypt, Vietnam, USA, etc.). Unlike other countries, for China, it’s not just a simple online document you finish within 5 or 10 minutes. You must go through ~11 pages of occasionally nosy questions and visit also the Chinese embassy for a physical interview. But we all made it and our passports got fancier with another „sticker“ :-D If you want to dive into the process of obtaining the visa, plan it at least 2 weeks prior to departure – but if you like to pay extra fees, you can cut it to one week :-D
Shanghai and first steps in China
Already before leaving the Czech Republic I knew we will not be able to use any Google service without a little help. So to stay connected with the „outside“ world, use Whatsapp, maps, Instagram or Facebook, we needed a little help and „fake“ the connection via VPN (if you haven’t heard this word before, it absolutely doesn’t matter :-D). I was surprised that once we got visas approved in passports, nobody at the border control asked almost anything. Compared to interviews in the US as you were automatically a criminal it was a welcomed change. Thanks to an elementary level of English of the airport personnel, I was able to get a hotel transport and escape from the airport with ease 😊
All Jumping travels are always still work-related, so responsibilities are in the first place. But what we always can do is discovering local pubs and markets. Already the first night before FIBO we tried to visit as many places as possible. Especially those local tiny spots. Honestly, the real „Chinese“ cuisine is WAY different compared to restaurants/food courts in Czech. Their food in my country seems to be „domesticated“ and I wouldn’t be afraid to call it „Czechnese“ cuisine. But, most of the population likes it, so why not. More cash, more noodles. We didn’t try experimenting with insect and other stuff, so take a look at an „ordinary“ food at least 😊
What we couldn’t use almost anywhere besides hotels/airports and big restaurants were our debit/credit cards. China is EXTREMELY closed to MasterCard/Visa and an „outside“ world. On the other hand, they are able to pay anywhere with apps such as WeChat or Alipay (which none of us was able to use). So „natives“ do not need to carry a physical currency at all – which is awesome. Miles ahead of the rest of the world, because event he smallest vendors are able to accept cashless payments. Just scan a QR code, send a specific amount. Confirm. It is literally that easy.
Last words about Shanghai
We all incredibly enjoyed it, no doubts. But Shanghai is full of opposites. Poverty, luxury, skyscrapers and old smelling streets. Incredibly advanced technology inside China, but you will feel many limitations when you are there. Beautiful untouched nature against overcrowded cities. Visit China and you will be leaving with unique memories. On top of that, I am speaking only about Shanghai. Beijing, Chengdu, the Great Wall of China – all these places have found a place on my bucket list now. China is stunning, unique, breathtaking and a world inside a world.
Čajna, v*le! :-D
Vibruje mi telefon, přichází mi zpráva. Píše mi Janča – zakladatelka Jumpingu. "Mám pro tebe překvapení!", Čekám něco ve smyslu – rozhodli jsme se zorganizovat takovou a makovou akci… Ale! Další zpráva zněla – za dva měsíce s námi letíš do Číny! Dal jsem si facku, jestli se náhodou neprobudím :-D Naštěstí ne 😊 Jumping® Fitness se poprvé chystal na veletrh FIBO v Šanghaji a bylo mi nesmírnou ctí účastnit se této výpravy.
K Číně chovám už dlouhodobě jistý „respekt“ vzhledem k podmínkám, které v zemi panují. Cenzura, monitoring veřejnosti, ale na druhou stranu obrovsky silná ekonomika a technická vyspělost. Nemohl jsem se dočkat, až si do paměti zapíšu vlastní zkušenosti.