My Christmas Story Abroad… Mainland China

Hello, I am studying in Hong Kong but spend Christmas in Mainland China.
Christmas in Mainland China, one of the most bazaar experiences of my life. I have been studying in Hong Kong since August, but this was my first experience of Mainland, which everyone tells you is ‘very different from HK’ but no one can tell you exactly how. So I was not sure what to expect.

Travelling with my mum, younger brother and sister we began our adventure in Beijing, in the middle of the red alert for the smog; donning masks and many layers to combat the smog and freezing temperatures. We could hardly see across Tiananmen Square as the smog was so bad, but we visited the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall, as well as many other touristy sites. In China most people do not celebrate Christmas so there are no decorations, accept in the very touristy areas, and people have work and school. Young people do celebrate it but with their friends and give each other apples. Marks and Spencers had opened its first Beijing store that week and was sold out of everything remotely christmassy.
Eleanor 2016
We spend Christmas eve at the Summer Palace and then went to Beijing train station to catch an over night train to Xi’an. In the waiting room we were the only western people in the room of 200 people we attracted a lot of attention and many people were taking cheeky pics of us which happened everywhere we went and feels like being Taylor Swift, I imagine. We arrived to Xi’an in the early morning of Christmas Day, having eaten many instant noodle pots on the train, and went straight to the Terra Cotta Warriors.
Christmases at home revolve around food, family and tv, and blur into one, distinguishable only by which Call the Midwife Christmas special you watched and what presents you received. This year there was no Sherlock special or pigs in blankets, but will certainly not become part of the previous Christmas blur.
Elenor2 2016Eleanor1 2016

By Eleanor
Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University

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