Foreign wife of Indian husband

It’s not as easy to get to India as it should be. First the e-tourist visa doesn’t actually functional. Problem with payment made us apply regular way – at the consulate. It was last minute and Consul made sure we will hold our breath until last moment. The we came on Friday evening to pick up our visa as it was promise, visa wasn’t even printed. I am not sure how Indian Consulate works, but my husband got his visa to EU within one day, for free and for long time. My visa was ready after 5 day, after calling Consulate everyday and begging for it. Of course Consul was annoyed by that. No help at all. Moreover visa fee is ridiculous in the situation I was about to stay in India for just a bit more that two weeks.

After receiving our visa we rushed to Shenzhen to deal with storage company which was storing our stuff. We run there into small difficulties too, however we were able to solve them all.

We took off to HK early morning to make for our flight to India. It took around 2h to her from Futian port to the airport. Transportation in HK is quite convenient and doesn’t require unnecessary struggle.

Surprisingly we landed in Delhi without any delayed.

To take the taxi from the airport you need to prepaid outside for the taxi, receive the slip and look for the driver which will take you to your hotel.

Unfortunately we weren’t about to stay in Delhi for any longer thus we chose the hotel near the airport. I wanted to do some shopping before we go to my husband’s family, we even found very big mall next to the airport however we weren’t able to pay with our Chinese cards and only atm we could withdraw money from – HSBC wasn’t there.

I was surprise how many Chinese I saw in the mall. After Thailand, Hong Kong and Europe, India become another destination for Chinese shopping trips. Due to the fact that Chinese travel in group and with organise tour agents, there is not much of the problem for them to just hop on the plane and go to such a country as India.

We got our flight at 6 in the morning. The taxi we have booked with our hotel’s front dest weren’t there. The front desk guy was a bit surprise but he assure us taxi will be here in 2 minutes. Of course we knew it’s not true as they forgot to book it and it can take time. Fortunately there was one taxi standing just outside. We reached the airport at around 5 am and we reached our flight in time. The flight got one stopover and it was quite messy to switch seats and everything but shortly we reached our destination.

My husband spoke about his family and house few times. House was twice smaller as he described.It actually happened to have just one bedroom. From what I understood the other walls were broke down to make bigger space for incoming wedding of my husband’s brother.

I was bit shocked as I couldn’t imagine where would we actually sleep. There was just one bed for whole the people in the house. How do they sleep? Well we got that problem solved. We hired the person who would make beds from the leftover wood desks. So here we go, sleeping on the homemade bed. There rest of the people sleep on the floor. We also have two bathroom. They actually so called bathrooms have toilet seat ( it’s the bathroom I and my husband use) and the other bathroom with squatting toilet. We don’t have neither shower or bathtube. We need to fill the buckets with water from outside and flash the toilet with it. If we need to take a shower simply we heat up the water and use it to rinse our body. The house has open space so actually we don’t have any privacy. We sleep in the hallway so our private life we share with anybody who enters the house or pass thru the hallway.

The floors don’t have flooring, it just simple cement floor, really less furniture in the house.

People here life simple life. Without unnecessary equipments. But parent’s of my husband still can afford cleaning lady who comes every day to clean the dishes, broom the floors, do laundry.

It’s quite interesting for me as a foreigner to watch and comprehend whatever is happening here. Prayers, wearing saree, cooking. It’s all happening in front of my eyes yet I cannot believe this is the place my husband grew up. He is nothing like his family. He doesn’t even look so Indian and this is the reason ( plus definitely my white face ) which makes that we get cheated everywhere.

Also, surprise surprise we have goats passing by my bedroom every morning to go outside. That’s amazing.

As we live this simple life now, we also didn’t have internet for few days as we got sim card from the agent and he took quite a time to go to the company and register our cards, however we had to use internet for work and we couldn’t access it anywhere. The only place has internet is McDonalds. Halleluja!

So now, we are preparing for incoming weeding of my husband’s brother. My mother in law is really concern about me and what I am going to wear, western clothes are not allowed! She and granny got me one salwar however it cannot be worn on the wedding and I need to wear spree and lengha. My husband also needs to but Indian clothes so for that we are going for shopping today.

I am not sure how to behave or dress up here as it is so different from th place I grew up and live. Also I don’t understand the language and it’s crazy difficult to communicate with other people.

Lets see.

People who visit our house give my some money as it’s part of the culture I cannot reject it. One aunt gave me also neckless which made my mother mad as she doesn’t want other people that her to give me gifts plus neckless was already worn so it’s not supposed to be given as a gift.
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Things to know while travelling in China

  1. get your money exchange. In China you cannot pay with usd or euros, only RMB is acceptable and if you need to exchange money, you may have to do it either in your country or at the airport as inside the country it can be difficult (you have to go to bank of china, fill out form etc which will tale half an hour or so). Taking money from ATM is the option but still you can use your visa or master card just in selected banks like ICBC or HSBC.
  2. get translator. Trainchinese is my favourite application for translation Chinese into English and vice versa While in China you will find out that many things are written just in Chinese and people also speak little English or none so you may need some offline dictionary which can help you survive during your trip. Also it’s good if your phone supports handwriting as pinyin usually is not provided.
  3. If you need to extend your visa it’s possible to do so either inside China with local PSB office or in Hong Kong or Macau with some visa agents.
  4. Booking hotels in China is really easy. Use local booking website like: elong.com which allows you to book hotels without providing credit card and usually you can find great deals on the hotels.
  5. Foreigners cannot book train tickets online. You have to go directly to the train station or book thru Chinese agent.
  6. China is linked very good by long distance bus service. You can go practically everywhere by bus, in general is safe and easy.
  7. Never ever go to Sanya by bus or train, try to avoid it by any chance as the trip is very inconvenient and you will struggle. In general you need to switch from bus to ferry in the middle of the night and then again to your former bus, however it’s really inconvenient as waiting time for ferry can be long and bus ride not pleasant. You can find nice deals outside of National holidays thru many websites.
  8. I haven’t seen many scams in China like it happens to us in Vietnam. I consider China as a really safe country to live and travel. Taxi drivers in general use meter, however sometimes they won’t take you as the place you want to go they don’t know or they don’t want to go there.Taxi drives can be picky and not top of that they won’t speak any English so have address prepare in Chinese and map if possible.
  9. Hotels are quite cheap in China. You can stay in hotel for as less as 15usd for single room. We have recently rented service apartment in Sanya for less that 15 dollars and if you wish to stay longer it would be cheaper.
  10. Food is cheap in China but try to avoid cheap restaurants with oily fried food. These most probably use gutter oil. Yuck
  11. If you need driving licences and your visa is valid for less than 6 months the you may get one at the airport. I never tried this procedure as my visa usually are for longer period of time 😦
  12. the Facebook and blogs don’t work in China so you will need VPN for using google and posting new updates on your blog,

Money, money, money

It supposed to be easy to exchange money anywhere you go. However China is different. Yes, you can exchange foreign currency to Chinese yuan but when you wish to exchange Chinese yuan to foreign currency then there is a problem. In big cities they know procedure and they have popular foreign currencies without appointment.  With small cities however is different. First of all you need to make an appointment to reserve the currency, then you can exchange only 500 USD a day/person and the most stuff in the bank of small town would not be sure about the procedure of dealing with foreigner. They are not sure if the foreigners can actually exchange the money and if they have checked it out after making you wait for more than couple of hours, then they would try to figure it out which one in your passport is your name and where actually are you come from. So whole procedure of exchanging 500 USD can take up to 3-4h. And I don’t recommend to simply stay calm. Shout, complain leave and they will call you saying sorry many time, begging you to come back and things will go faster. Welcome to China.

Renting apartment in China

When it comes to renting an apartment in China it’s actually not so expensive. Last apartment we have rented in Suzhou was for less that 500usd with previous 800 usd in Shenzhen plus utilities, but it was really nice two bedroom apartment in the city center.In a smaller city in China apartment can cost as less as 200usd if you like to stay in small city, which I think can be a good experience for few months.

It’s also quite easy to find a teaching job in China so you will have money for living and saving as well.

If you want to rent an apartment in China you need to use service of an agent in most cases. Unfortunately not many agents can speak English, so you may end that finding English speaking agent which can offer you high ended apartments for a higher price. If you just plan on teaching then there is big chance that school will offer you free accommodation so you don’t need to worry about all the rental process. If you still want to rent an affordable apartment on your own, then you may rely on help of Chinese friend as it may be difficult to communicate with an agent if you don’t speak Chinese.

It’s safe to rent and put your deposit on apartment in China, although we got problem with getting back deposit from our last apartment to that extent we had to call police for help.

We got almost all the deposit we gave and the reason we didn’t fight for all of it  was the fact that landlord use opportunity that we were having flight in few hours and she knew that simply we want be able to file the complaint to the court and we would miss our flight.

You know, because of these kinds of situations sometimes I feel that Chinese people don’t have any feelings. We didn’t ruined anything in the apartment which the landlord inspected very carefully looking for any reason to don’t give our deposit back. Unfortunately for her she could not find anything so simply she said she will pay us half of the money back. When the police came and I was shouting at her, she was just sitting with a smile o her face like it’s ok to steal our money and it’s just how she earns money. Her husband was so embarrassed of her act, asking her to give the money to use, without the results. Policemen also were on our side, assuring her that if we will go to court we will win and she will have to give more money besides the deposit. She was unbreakable. After one hour or so she agreed to give us 2500 out of 3000 RMB which we had to accept rushing for our flight. On our way to an airport, we just knew we just hate Suzhou, Jiangsu and these cold-blooded people. I mean really, if you stay in south part of China and in Jiangsu then you will see the difference, but it doesn’t include Hong Kong as it’s totally different story.

I am still here

Wow, I just cannot believe it’s been almost two years since the last time I visited my blog. I have so much writing to make up for. Trip in India, Poland, back in China, Philippines, Taiwan, Europe and more.

Well, we settled for one year in Suzhou, which is the longest we stayed in one place so far. It was also the most productive year for us. My husband after few years of break, finally finished his studies, I in the meanwhile started new one as opportunity showed up. Part time job, new friends and we even got electric bike which I learnt to ride on busy roads of China filled up our year. I would say we got life somehow close to what many would call normal life. But we got bored eventually, couldn’t wait to just pack our stuff and go travel again.

So we left Suzhou in July, went for travelling in Holland and Germany, visited family in Poland and here we are after few amazing days in Hong Kong, back in China.

But China is not the same. Actually it’s the same but we somehow cannot fit here anymore, if any foreigner can really fit here.

We decided that we will move to Guangzhou, after constant cold in Suzhou, high pollution and… actually nothing more comes to mind to be complained. Yes, so we are in Guangzhou already found job, as it’s really easy to find job in China, thinking if it’s  good idea to stay, if we really can live here again.

We didn’t travel so much, to say we know the world, we are not even half way done to visit whole world, but after visiting these few countries we visited we know China is not the best one.

And the main reason is not is food and lifestyle we want to have. Yes, food takes the first place. My husband for some reason doesn’t eat pork and after living in Poland for a while, loves fresh bread, bread spread, meat slices, and other goodies which cannot be found here in China. I for difference, don’t eat meat, try to eat healthy and low fat, where in China everything comes in addition of pork. “Excuse me, does this meal have meat? – I would ask the waiter, No, it doesn’t- I would here. Finally I would get my vegetable fried rice with slices of ham. What the hell but I asked, I would cursed in my mind and loud out too. But after 3 years I know that every meal, even vegetarian one comes with a slice of ham, pork, pork fat or any other meat. Everything has to have meat, and if you ask “Please don’t add meat into my noodles coz I am vegetarian.  they will still do because a small slice of pork meat has to be there, it’s not actually the meat, it’s a necessity. No, I still haven’t learn how to leave with it. And if we are on move, staying in the hotel, relocating, anything, we are just screwed. Then everyday we would wonder, what to eat today, where to go what to order, coz either it will be fat or meat (pork)not less. So in the end, if you don’t like it just take it out and pretend it was never there.

We read many blogs, expats living in Chiang Mai, amazing place, amazing food amazing weather. We are thinking- what a hell, let’s go, let’s try. I guess China is not for us anymore.

Kolkata

We are already in Mumbai but I need to first write about our experience in Kolkata as it’s our first destination in India. We have arrived in Kolkata late night so while we are sitting in the taxi it’s was around 1 am. Well the view throughout the window surprised us completely. Hundreds of people sleeping on the streets in their rickshaws, on the dumpster, just everywhere! I was shocked as I have never ever seen something like that. More in the city, it was getting worst. Trash everywhere, dust in your nose so that you cannot even breath. Finally we arrived in the neighborhood are hotel supposed to be. It was residential area but we couldn’t find our hotel and neither taxi driver nor people living their didn’t know where it could be. We were roaming around about an hours and had enough already so we asked the driver to take us to some another hotel whatever. He took us to neighborhood which was the worst one, though later we got to know that is almost the city center and close to the place where all travelers stay in. At night it looked terrible, in the morning it was quite the same. First hotel when they saw V as he indian they have asked him for 960 rupees per room. After seen me price change up to 3200rupees. Later on they didn’t even wanted to check us in. Maybe because they were scared. I don’t know. Well next hotel was ok with us and we stayed their in the nice room unfortunately with molt on the walls and some bugs in the bucket sitting in the bathroom. I was so tired but could fall asleep easily as it was just after Dival-Indian the most important festival so people had to use all the leftover they had from firecrackers. I have to mention that all those hotels were hiding behind big gates in front which people were sleeping, just on the ground.
In the morning we moved to different hotel, almost all occupied by foreigners. Our room was with nice big window and view on the street so we could observe people.
Well, Kolkata doesn’t belong to pleasant places to travel. Poverty is visible everywhere. Trash in everywhere all over the street. No single trash bin. It’s like all city is one dumpster. Unfortunately.
People live on the street, either live sleep on the ground under the sky or built their own tents with some boxes, fabrics, anything they’ve found on the street. Also all human needs are finalized and done on the street in the front of all people. Street is the toilet, home, shower, kitchen just everything. I am writing that with pity. I really felt sorry for this people. I didn’t want to take picture, I felt like I am going into the privacy of those people living like that. After watching slum dog millionaire you don’t even know if you should give money to the poor child approaching you or its part of the company they are forced to work for. Some people working hard, pulling carts with people just barefoot like animals. Some of them just sleeping on the street for whole of the time. One rickshaws man approach us and offered rickshaws ride when we refused he said “no ride but we still have to eat, right”. :/
All tourist as we observed from our awesome window were just roaming around the same street for hours or sitting in the hotels restaurant and thing or asking each other what to do. I was surprised when heard or read that some tourist stayed here for two weeks! I really could believe that somebody could stay here for so long. For us 3 days were too much. I just couldn’t understand what you can do here. We went to few historic places but all the time were approach by people wanted to sell something or sell their service. Moreover almost everywhere smells bad, dust just sitting in your nose and you need to watch out where your feet step. Maybe something wrong with us but we couldn’t enjoy this city, how one can if see so much poverty.
Also is I was surprise even that before I was warned by V. That Indians look. Yes, they look at you from bottom right to the top and give you that look, women- kind of like without respect and man I don’t even have to say it but respect all women traveling to India solo.
This is my first India experience. Maybe not the good one but we will try next in Delhi.

Thailand, here we go again

We supposed to go to Laos and cambodia as a part of our previous itinerary. Unfortunately due to some visa issues, as V. Couldn’t get a visa to thailand from cambodia by land we needed to change our plans. Ok maybe the was another reason, as we don’t like to look behind our shoulder every time we go somewhere or be scammed and we read to many complains from travelers about both those countries. Well maybe it’s not the reason to cancel the trip but yet we didn’t feel like it’s the time for us to go there. Thailand here we go. But hey not so fast!!! Vietnam didn’t want to let us go so easy. Again visa problem. Indians can obtain visa on arrival at the airports in thailand. They will required some bank statements or proof that you have enough money to stay and also return ticket. Yes but as it would be our 3rd time there they never ever ask for those things. Just pay visa fee and here is thailand. I guess man airlines clerk felt more than just a clerk. He asked V. To give him return ticket. We’ve had ticket but stated that he will leave thailand in 3 weeks. Nope it’s not good, visa will be issue only for 15 days. He didn’t let him go even when we insist that he cannot decide that and it’s not his problem that thai immigration never check that but it won’t help. We tried also with airasia to change our previous flight but even we received an email stated that we can change the flight from thailand to Kolkata date due to departure time change, air asia clerk asked us for unbelievable high cost of changing this flight that we could buy new tickets!!! We go mad and forced by airport clerks from both airlines we were trying to change our flight online with poor internet connection it was taking so long that we risked missing our flight. Finally in last minutes we manage to change our flight so we could board.
In thailand they even didn’t ask for return tickets but here you go, People from Saigon airport just wanted to make out life more difficult.
We have finally arrived in thailand. I don’t know why but this country makes us come back all the time.
We didn’t book any hotel and thought we will just find something walk in but we couldn’t be more wrong. All we could find it was nasty old school Miami hotel with extra fee for internet. We were so tired that we didn’t even wanted to look more but for the next days we manage to book nice last minute deal with best western for the same price. Yay.
In thailand the most important is shopping. Well everybody knows that and as we live in china we pay attention on this there is hundred of Chinese coming here for shopping experience. Due to this fact you won’t have any problems using union pay -Chinese issued card which is difficult to use or withdraw money especially in western countries.
In Bangkok we just eat, drink, shop and enjoy.
Few days we also spent in Pattaya. For 124 baths you can take a mini bus from Bangkok ekamei bus station to pattaya. In Pattaya you won’t find to much to do just beach, which is really not convenient, massage shops, spas and go go clubs. Well after few days we will get bored so we just will spend here three days to take the most of this city. By that time we visited floating market-which is the biggest in thailand, went to the beach and tried pancakes with bananas from the street hawker.
Pattaya, I need to mention that is full of Russians. Yes, there is beach there are Russians. It’s remained me of Sanya in china.
Pattaya like all tourist places in Thailand also is filled with old foreigners holding hands with young thai girls but this I will leave without a comment.

It’s time to come back to Bangkok and take another flight this time to India. Well let’s see…