Like most of the cultures in this world, China is known in Europe mostly though the media. Stereotypes reign the knowledge about this far away country and every now and then somebody visited the country as a tourist or even worked there as an expat for some time. Two things are heard very often about China: firstly, one has to be very careful about prices and product quality when buying something in China. A little experience in negotiating prices and especially knowledge of the actual prices should be very important. Secondly, it should be very difficult to make friends with the Chinese. For example, the Chinese should have no interest in joining in for a drink after work. During a networking event in Beijing, in which both Chinese and foreigners participated, I had the opportunity to learn more about the background of these statements.
In Europe a very important part of planning one’s vacation are the bridge days. Especially in May there are plenty of those. Even if not leaving home or traveling far, one likes to take one day of in order to have a long weekend with one’s loved ones. However in China there is no such thing as bridge days. The Chinese just move the weekend in order to close the gap between the days off. It thus happened this year that the weekend just before May 1st was moved to Sunday and Monday and people had a six day workweek leading up to the holiday. We decided to make use of the holiday by discovering a small village in the mountains West of 北京 (bei jing). An adventure!