The best way to stay alive is breathing

10 useful apps for foreigners in China

1.WeChat(微信)

It is the own app in China, which replaces popular sites such as Instagram, twitter, facebook, wats app. You can not only chat with friends but also call a taxi, send money, buy tickets in the cinema and other functions. Create your account using a mobile phone.
Instruction for use: https://chinahelp4u.com/how-to-sign-up-wechat-account/

2.VPN

Google, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp are prohibited in China. VPN blocks your real location and allows you to enter into accounts. Before I used free “Turbo VPN”, but now it is blocked. Now I buy Astrill VPN(https://www.astrill.com/) 15.90$/months or Express VPN(https://www.expressvpn.com/) 12.95$/month. When buying for 6 or 12 months the price will be cheaper.

3.Translator

In my trips, I use offline google translator or Yandex translator. If you want to explain something to a Chinese person, use simple sentences for translation.

4.AMaps(高德地图)

It is not easy to navigate in China. Popular maps such as maps.me, google maps, Yandex maps will not help there. AMaps is the best map in China. The language of the program is Chinese, but it is not so complicated to use it, as you may think. You can just choose your location, copy or write the address that you want to get and select a convenient way: by car, on foot, by bicycle or by public transport.

5.Alipay(支付宝)

App for electronic money. Very useful for modern life. The technology in China is going faster, even on the outskirts of the city you can use an electronic wallet.
Instruction for use:https://walkthechat.com/alipay-foreigners-create-account/

6.Didi(滴滴出行)

A Chinese version of Uber. You can install in both languages: English or Chinese. There are several verities of the trip: cheap, moderate and ‘luxe’. The opportunity to chat with the driver online can help you to find each other faster. Advise: Chinese drivers like to call you before arrival. If you don’t know the Chinese language, ask some stranger on the street to speak with the driver (just give him the phone) and he will help you to find a car. Chinese people are friendly and ready to help.
Instruction for use:https://www.echineselearning.com/blog/order-a-ride-how-the-didi-app-changed-travel-in-china

7.TaoBao (淘宝)

I think, that you have ever heard (or maybe even used ) the site Aliexpress with Chinese goods available all over the world. Taobao is a Chinese variety of Aliexpress available only in China. You must create an account, enter your address and order things you need. Price is cheaper than in shops. In addition, you can find the necessary goods using its photo. All purchases are delivered either to the apartment or in special boxes on the first floor of the house. If you used Taobao once, you would never stop:D
Instruсtion for use:

8.TMall (天猫)

TMall is similar to Taobao. Many online shops with good sales.

9.Meituan (美团)

TaoBao is my right hand, Meituan – left hand. On this site, you can order food, check restaurants and cafes around, get a discount in the cinema or SPA. Hotel and ticket booking is also available.
Instruction to use:

10. Mobike/Ofo

Two big bikes companies in China. Bikes are located along the streets. For your trip, you should scan code on a bike with a pre-installed program. Mobike is more expensive, ofo is more commonplace. Check bike before the ride, because sometimes it can be broken.   
Instruction for use Mobike:https://gtrusted.com/how-to-use-the-mobike-shared-bike-service
Instruction for use Ofo:https://www.wikihow.com/Unlock-an-Ofo-Bike

I hope that these programs will make your trip to China convenient.

7 adventures to live in China!

China is a magical and unusual country. People ask me: “Why do you like to live in China?” I want to tell you about 7 things that make my life more pleasant in the Celestial Empire.

  1. Free water and toilets everywhere! Boilers with hot and cold water in all public places.  The same about toilets.
  2. Bicycles are a popular way to get around. Parking with bicycles is located along the streets. The fare depends on the distance, but you will not pay more than a dollar.
  3. 24-hour convenience stores! Don’t worry if you are hungry after night party or tore pantyhose before a date or wiped feet to the blood because of the new sneakers. Things of first need you can find here. The most popular shops are seven-eleven, family mart, Lawson, C-store and etc.
  4. Forgot about real paper money! People usually use an online purse. Make a Chinese card in a bank – connect the card with your phone – install the app (wechat or alipay) – pay for a purchase.
  5. Cut my pineapple, please! China is rich in delicious and ripe fruits. In all the shops, you can ask an assistant to cut your fruit and put it in the box. The same system in bakeries.
    It’s worth to mention free degustations in Chinese shops, where you can try different kinds of food for free.
  6. I don’t miss Russian food in China, because I can find everything on Taobao. It is an amazing website. The familiar Aliexpress but in Chinese variation. Rapid delivery, fast feedback system, intoxicating prices. My first salary run away there.
  7. Special chain of gyms LEFIT. Pay 15$ every month and go to any gym of this chain. There are free classes with the coach and all the necessary equipment.  So easy and so convenient.

Would you like to visit China?

2 days in HongKong

Day 1

The way to HongKong took around 6 hours. From Guangzhou to Shenzhen by train, from Shenzhen to HongKong on foot, to the city center by subway. I got off the subway and saw English-style buildings (for a long time HongKong was a colony of England). I actually liked HongKong at first sight. But 20 minutes later, when I got to the front desk of my hotel, I was scared: too little space and too many people.

One of the local streets in Kowloon area

The taste of HongKong

Crowds of people, colorful streets, double-deck buses and smell of HongKong’s waffles. The taste of this city is special, but, by the end of the day, I understood that I like it. I associate HongKong with Singapore (but Singapore is too perfect for me) and Macao, but, anyway, I still have other feelings here. HongKong is real. It has a special life. One building almost rests against another, you can look out the window and shake hands with your neighbor. It is difficult to keep the fast rhythm of this place and not to lose your own life. 

Bus with a local ice-cream

The Victoria Pick

The Victoria Pick is one of the most popular places in HongKong for visiting. On the first day, I went there in order to see the whole city in my hands. I closed my eyes and understood, despite the speed, Hongkong can to be quiet and calm. People here appreciate silence: they speak quiet, move quiet, eat quietly. It is easy to distinguish a Chinese person from HongKong’s person.

View on The Pick Victoria

Yummy lunch, a lot of photos, gorgeous views and good coffee – my first meeting with HongKong.

Day 2

HongKong is the city that easily makes visitors fall in love with it. The atmosphere on the streets is so peculiar and unusual that you just want to walk and feel this city. Delicious breakfast in a small cafe, which I found on trip adviser mixed with the noise of passing cars. The Museum of space told me that astronauts train in space at least 2 hours a day. In Starbucks, I tried a delicious chicken pie, which is now my favorite dish here.

Lunch in Starbucks

If to be honest, I didn’t want to leave HongKong. Some magical force kept me here. For me, HongKong is the city of balance: people here calm and fast at the same time, they are not very happy or frown. They are not bright, but not dull.

Waterfront area

City of my heart? Maybe… Let’s see…

Gili Air worth visiting/ One week in H2O Yoga Center

Visited the island once, I fell in love forever

Gili Air is a small island in the Indian ocean. Life here is special. The main means of transportation is horses and bikes. The main drink – coconut water. The main entertainment – enjoying the sweet life. The main residents – happy people. If you still can’t decide to come to Gili Air or no, drop all doubts, take a few swimsuits, sunscreen and go to the island! In my suitcase, I added wearing for yoga classes.

Palm fields

H2O Yoga Retreat Center

The choice of accommodation on the island is quite large and varied. But if you like yoga I can offer you to spent one week in Yoga Center. It is the best decision: pay only once and get the full package (accommodation with breakfasts, unlimited yoga classes, cooking class, Balinese massage). Read more about this place you can here https://www.bookyogaretreats.com/h20-yoga-and-meditation/7-days-soul-renewal-yoga-retreat-on-sacred-island-gili-air-indonesia. You can also read my article about Yoga Center in Ubud. http://coolfirenow.com/how-to-start-practicing-yoga-firefly-resort-bali-ubud/ The difference between these places is that on Gili Air you don’t have a permanent group for the whole week, people around you always change. You also don’t have a special program (except yoga), so you organize free time yourself.

The whole island is full of such signs

I arrived at Gili Air along and was afraid I couldn’t find the company. But as a result, my contact list has doubled. The own secret – smile and openness. I promise, shortly you will ride around the island on bicycles, watch a movie on the beach or dance Latin dances in “The Mexican kitchen” (https://www.tripadvisor.ru/Restaurant_Review-g664667-d6598797-Reviews-The_Mexican_Kitchen-Gili_Air_Gili_Islands_Lombok_West_Nusa_Tenggara.html) with a wonderful company!

One week in notes

  • DAY 1. It wasn’t difficult to get to the island. I immediately noticed the blue color of the water. The island is small, I found my yoga center fast and after 30 minutes were lying in my own room. I visited only one yoga class today, met sunset near the ocean with a cup of ginger tea in my hands. You’d know how gorgeous the sky is here! It seems you will climb on a palm tree and stars already in your hands!
  • DAY 2. The day was saturated. After three yoga classes, we went to dinner. I must say that the prices in Gili Air are much lower than in Bali, and all the dishes are tasty and yummy. Today I also had a cooking class where we cooked Gado-Gado. Now it’s my favorite Indonesian dish:DD
  • DAY 3. Before I didn’t know what would I do a whole week on the island, but days are going so fast! I even don’t have time to use my phone. Today after morning yoga we were riding bikes and swimming in the ocean with guys from Germany. It is always sunny on the island, but today it has rained. No matter what the weather, my heart is soothed 😉
  • DAY 4. The island is amazing at any time. In the early morning, I took my bicycle in order to fell the morning atmosphere when life is just starting to pick up speed. Today during our aqua yoga class our teacher asked us: “You are on an amazing island, doing yoga in the pool and all this Monday morning. Isn’t that wonderful?” And how right she is! It is not only wonderful, but also amazing, magical and excellent! I finish the evening in a Mexican restaurant in the company of two wonderful girls!
  • DAY 5. You can find pros and cons anywhere. But I believe that everything depends on the person. Today I said goodbye to Vera from Germany and agreed to meet with her in Australia! I like people on the island. They just enjoy and get high. Everything feels relaxed.  Today we watched a movie on the beach with a jar of popcorn. Amazing, isn’t it?
  • DAY 6. I confused days. I was thinking that I have two more days, but I am leaving tomorrow. First, I decided to stay more but in result would return to Bali.
    It would be nice to pack all my things now, but I choose to read a book for the sounds of the rain.
  • DAY 7. My week on the island is over. I got up early in the morning to see the sunrise. On the way back to the port, I thought about how I came to this unfamiliar island and how I am leaving when almost every street seems familiar. For 7 days I attended about 18 different yoga lessons. At first, I didn’t feel the difference in my emotional state, but now I feel how much energy and inspiration I have inside! Only 7 days, but they were incredibly rich, calm and interesting. I will remember the taste of wild pineapple on the first evening, brushing my teeth in the fresh air and cold shower, rooster cries starting from 4 a.m. and songs of the local population. I’ll remember the bike rides and the wonderful sunsets.  Another one of my little lives was lived here. Traditionally, see you, Gili Air!
Life in moments

How to start practicing yoga/ FireFly Resort Bali, Ubud.

How to start practicing yoga and not be disappointed?

Other people always told me that yoga has changed their lives and inner world. Now they can’t imagine their life without yoga. All these comments sound good and you want immediately try yourself in this area. You find yoga-studio near your home or a video lesson on YouTube, practice for a while and get disappointed. You don’t understand, why everything is so slow, how to breathe rightly, what is the own idea of yoga. The desire to practice yoga disappears. What did all these people find in yoga?

The best way gets to know yoga – visit one of the yoga retreats. There are millions of retreats all over the world with different amounts of days, varieties of teachers and kind of yoga. You can choose a course only for three days or experience 200-h teaching training somewhere in India. This site will help you to do it. https://www.bookyogaretreats.com/ I had my first experience in Ubud in FireFly Resort Bali. https://www.bookyogaretreats.com/firefly-resort-bali/8-days-wellness-and-tour-yoga-retreat-in-bali-indonesia

FireFly Resort Bali

One week in the jungle

Ubud  – wonderful, magical and miraculous place. Having decided to spend one week on this retreat, you will not only practice different types of yoga and meditate, but also fall asleep and wake up in the jungle, meet sunrises over the rice fields and observe fireflies after the sunset.  This is an amazing place to explore yourself, your body and the world around you.

Ubud

Why this place is suitable for beginners?

All this week you will spend in a group of people with morning and evening yoga practices (around 1.5h), activities every day and yummy and healthy meals. Every day you will get deeper in yoga basis. All practices Intended for beginners and become more complicated by the end of the week. The whole atmosphere accompanies you to experience yoga as a spiritual practice, and only after as a physical one. This is where my love for yoga began and now I can’t imagine my life without it!

Balinese experience (group tour)

Important notices before buying this tour

  • Accommodation may seem very scarce, the water pressure in the shower is weak and the floors are not clean enough. It all depends on your requests. Our house was completely fine. My full review about this retreat you can read here. https://www.tripadvisor.ru/ShowUserReviews-g297701-d8464443-r652667110-FireFly_resort_bali-Ubud_Gianyar_Regency_Bali.html
  • You should be ready that not only you liv in a jangle. Some other insects, critters, and animals also live here. It is absolutely normal if you meet the monkey that climbed in through the window in your shower(we were like that once). Just be ready to be close to nature. Don’t scary!  
  • This place can satisfy deferent wishes: practice yoga, have a good vacation, make good photos for Instagram, experience new emotions and so on. But remember – this is not a hospital, where people treat your problems and depressions. You can feel amazing whole week but anyway return to your problems in real life. The own goal of retreat makes your stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible, but not cure you. Do not build high expectations, then not to complain that you weren’t helped.
  • Be friendly and open. Communicate with other people. Take the maximum during this vacation. Being here, you are one step closer to the magic of this island. All in your hands!

First night in Bali, my experience

Magical island

I am sure that everyone in his life has ever heard about paradise on the Earth – Bali. The name of this island sounds expensive and magical. Everyone wants to visit this place one day in order to know why people become others after one week. This island can change your life.
I have never known anything about this island and have never dreamt to visit it. But things happen. Tickets were bought spontaneously and unexpectedly. 24 February 2018 the first time I landed in Bali. We(me and my friend) had a late flight, the plane was terribly cold, we didn’t get any food and all our snacks finished by this time. This was our first independent journey. Usually, I travel with my closest and nearest person – my sister.

Night adventures

At the airport, dozens of drivers met us. We did not know how to bargain properly, how to take a taxi, and whether we can trust anyone at all (before this trip we didn’t read any blogs and advice. We wanted to have real emotions. Actually , we got it:D). We chose one driver, prayed and went to the hotel. We drove 30 minutes in the dark along narrow streets. The clocks showed midnight. We were so scared. In hotel we spent another 30 minutes to figure out why we didn’t want to be settled. Finally, the keys to the room were in our hands. Bed, shower and warm water were all we needed that night.
By this time our stomachs have already decreased to the size of a nut from hunger. We collected all our latest courage and went to look for some food. The same narrow streets, fast bikes and people with ‘strange’ smiles. Actually, we found only a sweet milk and corn flakes. I still remember this carbohydrate charge:DD
We went to bed already deep in the night. While my sister was thinking about why we came here at all, I knew that an amazing journey awaited us. And this journey has already begun.

Coolfire on board!

One day in the far future, I will open this blog and remember all the memories from my amazing trips. I will find photos, that no longer exist on my memory cards. I will find some thoughts I now believe in, but maybe change them in the future. I will find dreams, that come true by this time. I will show this blog to my children and give them the opportunity to know more about my life.

Actually, I paid only 12$ for one year for this website. But when I got confirmation about a successful transaction, I was scared.  About what should I write? How to be interesting for people? Where to start? Inhale, exhale. No worries. Primarily I created this blog for myself. It means I will write simply from the heart.

If one a wondering soul come to this blog and find useful and interesting information, it would be great. If this soul decides to stay here for longer, it will be twice as pleasant. In general, we begin! Coolfire on board! And for your question:”Why coolfire?”,- I don’t have an answer :DD