Standort: / Meldung: "You’re at home, bǎobèi!"

Gersin Livia Paya

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14. 10. 2016 - 17:00

You’re at home, bǎobèi!

My first-time trip to the sovereign state of East Asia or let's say "The time when I travelled from Beijing to Hong Kong by train and fell in love with this planet".

Nĭ Hăo

There I am now, back in Europe, back from a country filled up with 1.4 billion human beings and hundreds of times more stories to experience through these people. I travelled from north (Beijing) down to south (Hong Kong) in a month, knowing that I only dipped with the top of my toes in this ocean of adventures. And I'd love to share a glimpse of that with you at this Reality Check's Special:

"Gersin’s China on FM4’s Reality Check”

Listen to a Reality Check Special with FM4's journalist Gersin Livia Paya and her first-time trip to China.

Saturday, October 15th, 12-13, and after that seven days on demand.


Gersin Livia Paya

First of all, I deeply fell in love with this country. Mostly because of it's pace, it's superfriendly people and of course... it's variety. There was so much difference to feel between north and south and myself. It is more than huge ("Austria is a parking spot of Beijing") and actually I am not able to tell you how it is. I can only draw you a picture of my dipping.

"Streetsound of Shanghai's European district: French Concession"

Gersin Livia Paya

The reason why I decided to travel to China was mainly settled when I met my former highschool-friend Shi Yin and she told me about her grandfather who passed away and about his funeral on the countryside of China.

Hong Kong View

Gersin Livia Paya

Beside the sad truth about losing a loved one I was very interested in the ceremony. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to China back then but for a year we kept on talking about travelling through China anway. We decided to travel by train and see as much as possible from real China and not only the Sim City part of it. Without her speaking the language I guess I would have been lost in most of the parts.

Gersin Livia Paya

"Gānbēi": Trockne das Glas!"

Yes of course, I fell in love with the kitchen. For the first ten days I literally ate everything and only asked after I finished eating what it was I actually had. Let me tell you my idea: I think, if Chinese people eat an animal, they don't waste any part of it. I like that attitude, even tough I am not a meat-eater. It reminds me of a wise man from New Zealand, who told me to always eat up the whole apple to understand the apple.

Hong Kong Streets of Wan Chai District

Gersin Livia Paya

Anyway, there has been duck-tounge, mashed brain of prawns, the whole head of a duck (fried, but still...). But to be honest, it is not hard to only eat vegetarian in China, beside the "In China essen sie Hunde"-idea, they actually offer really good veggie-dishes. The (round) table was always filled with more dishes than I was able to eat. Until I had my food poisoning in Shanghai, from that day on I only had rice and tea and lost 4 kilograms of useless weight. Me and my spoiled european stomach became experts in watching my friends eat everything and I felt like in an constant Munchies episode.

This means Cheers, so I say Cheers to the missing enzyme!

Gersin Livia Paya

Punk in Beijing

The Punk Festival in Beijing took place in a lot of different venues around the city. Zunisono Zhong (a punk music legend of Beijing and the singer of the band Sino Hearts) took me around in his UBER (which is the cheapest way to go around in that city, it was always around 1-3 Euros) and we ended up at the School Bar, close to the Lama Temple in an area that looked like Berlin-Kreuzberg ten years ago. It is in an Hutong-area, those are narrow streets with residences in a traditional way, mainly it means there are no high-rises. The live music was sort of soft punk, a little retro tough it turned into a pogo party during every song. Sometimes band members threw new Converse shoes into the audience (the festival was sponsored by Converse) but the shoes were all too big for the chinese people... european size 45-48 apparently is a big foot in china!

#hutong ladies

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The Hutong Way of Living

Staying in an Hutong house in Beijing means tiny space but neighbourhood at its finest. I loved to corner around day by day and every now and then I was super happy to see people running around in their silk pyjamas. What a great thing to do! The city is your home in countries like China where freedom of space is practically non existent, so why not be cozy enough to wear whatever you want to go for shopping or chatting with your neighbours? And back in the days wearing a pyjama was demonstrating wealth. (Unfortunately in 2010, for the EXPO, the government forbid the Shanghai-inhabitants to wear pyjamas, to keep "a good face" in front of western countries)

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The Tarzan of the Vinyl Jungle

Speaking of tiny spaces and good people: I met a special man called Paul Au, a former refugee from the vietnam war. He tiptoed his way to Hong Kong where he spent years on the streets and working dead-end jobs to survive and buy records. Today, years later, he owns a proud collection of more than 300.000 vinyls and lives between all these boxes in a tiny space in an artsy district of Hong Kong. He is a local hero and definitely a bootleg address for record hunters! He told me that when he goes to bed, he moves away some boxes, puts out his foldable bed and sleeps a couple of hours. He doesn't need much sleep, Paul Au prefers to gain energy from his music. For one night we kept listening to Chinese music from the 60's and 70's and he told me about that time the musicians from Hong Kong tried to copy western artists like Nancy Sinatra.

I bought this record, it's a taiwanese singer and actress who is retired now in Singapore and was huge in China back in the days:

Thank You - Xie Xie dear Planet of China but please change the smog situation...

Ultra Smog today in Beijing

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There are plenty of more stories to tell so just tune in via the Reality Check podcast or at

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Gersin Livia Paya