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Exploring a city without a map, what happens?

Travel Forums Off Topic Exploring a city without a map, what happens?

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1. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

I am really stingy, so Unless its free, I take it.

Someone told me its a waste of time to go around a city without a map.

A bit true. I did Shanghai without a map. It was my second visit. It was hell, 5 hours of walking hoping to get to the over rated attraction, THE BUND. But I guess its not really a waste of time, coz I saw the what I would call, the REAL face of the city and it sucks. I dont mean sucks. I just say that the whole CAMPAIGN of CHIC and Trendy city hides this reality. Someplaces took me back to MANILA. It was just soooo Third World without the Charm powers of Laos and Cambodia.

Well, it day 3 in HUBEI, China and I am online! 2 hours on foot and nothing impressive, my hostel sofa is a better place to experience culture. The MAP made the city looks so Promising. It had RIVERS and Lakes everywhere. Parks galore and I love Parks.

Here is the major trouble the bus stations dont have maps and the NUMBERINGS dont exist. I hate asking people for directions for two reasons:

1. MOST OF THEM ARE STUDENTS, uni students and I look Chinese. They feel embarassed and had to apologize for being stupid or not being able to speak in English. I leave them sad and frustrated, because they cant help me.

2. Some of them get too excited to help. IT IS ANNOYING.... and I am not in the mood to be an object of mass fascination. I am not exaggerating, it can be too much in developing cities. They dont see foreigners everyday, especially SOUTH EAST asians with western accent.

3. They can't speak English, so they will take you a place and walk with you for ages. Some of them are that nice. I keep saying, I'm fine, I will find it. But the Chinese don't understand that HARD CORE backpackers exist in Asian forms. I look like a kid and their and maternal and paternal instincts is eating so much of my time. They worry I get lost.

The map in my hostel is RIDICULOUSLY overpriced. My lonely planet is so heavy...I dont want to rip the page off. so atleast one park and one bar. I was thinking that if a city is really beautiful one does not need a map to find impressive sights or cultures, Do you get that??? I mean I could walk out of the hostel and within 40 minutes, I'll see something that makes me want to take a photo. So far this city failed. I'm sure it has top attractions, but I dont like Tourist SPOTS, I want a CITY!

Anyway, do you explore without a MAP??? the other cities really IMPRESSED ME, with no maps I walk from the train station, and I keep saying WOW, AMAZING, AWESOME, FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL, yes, its in my VOCABULARY, along with my volume of Pessimistic expressions.

I'm so lazy to leave the hostel. Yesterday was nothing... It was third world city. But I know its not. But if I had a map, I would never would have seen its dark side. I would go directly to the parks and the clubs.... Which is my plan later, if their phone is not out of service, I'd be in a bar right now.

2. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 7y

This post seems more like a blog entry than a forum post to be honest? Have you considered starting a blog for posts like this?

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 7y

I am always thrilled to have someone show me the way in a strange city, but I can see your point if you can't communicate. I was wondering if language would be a problem in smaller Chinese cities, and since Westerners can't even comprehend Chinese script, it could lead to real complications. I also attempt cities without a map (I'm also pretty cheap), and well remember walking in circles in central Saigon, but at least there I had plenty of English speakers all around me and a script that was familiar. What about online maps - there are plenty around, but perhaps not the ones you need? By the way, are you learning any Chinese?

4. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Try doing Bucuresti. There isn't a map!!

5. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

Quoting Sam I Am

This post seems more like a blog entry than a forum post to be honest? Have you considered starting a blog for posts like this?

"SEEM", but definitely not. And I don't ever want to blog. I have personal journals and don't sound like this, it is worst and the proportion is epic.

It is just a transcript of a speech you can hear in a coffee shop. I speak very fast like a machine gun.

6. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

Quoting Daawgon

What about online maps - there are plenty around, but perhaps not the ones you need? By the way, are you learning any Chinese?

online maps, I have no patience to dig stuff in the internet. I type names of streets and I dont get any leads. I'm looking for some clubs lately, and its so frustrating. I know some Chinese phrases, but I have no interest in learning this ultra difficult tounge. I can copy the accent though, but its too much effort.

Some Chinese cities are just so difficult without the maps. The people will help, they are so nice, especially, if you give them the impression that you are hating their city. A stranger once gave me a cab fare, after I screamed "This city is hell".

7. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 7y

I hear you have a blast in China

8. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

What did the traveller do before maps were invented??

9. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 7y

The traveller who went around before maps were invented was gathering data to create maps. I imagine there wasn't alot of backpacking back in 1400s and you sort of just went on the only dirt track that was around to see where it led.

D

10. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Must've been great. Imagine getting to the brow of the hill - not knowing what to expect. The original mystery touur - I guess. Then again, in parts of the world - even with a sat-nav. things are much the same now. My job is on the road most of the day. Quite honestly, I wonder how I ever coped before sat-nav. came into being. They're not invincible though. Mine has often said that I've reached my destination - and I'm at the end of a dirt track without a building anywhere to be seen.