My two week travel to China was planned almost 3 months back when during a discussion about exploring lesser known places, economically viable and above all, if I could possibly promote such places commercially in future.
We zeroed in on Turkey but at that time, it was struggling with militancy and this was when a chance encounter with Danxia Landforms happened. Image of Danxia, at first sight looks unreal, looks like a photoshop image and it’s only when you go deep into exploration of these magnificent and dream like land that reality sinks in.
Landing in Shanghai: Flight is long and mine was changed from International to Domestic in GUANGZHOU. A chaotic two hours looking Cheena Malhotra while having no wi-fi, network and any communication how and where to locate and contact her. All “ Airport Staff” nameplate people were eager to sell SIM CARDS or TAXI services. I was inquiring about contacting police for a look-out for her, only to spot her in a line coming out from ” Exit”. If you are also going to meet someone coming from another province, country and you too do not have Chinese Sim Card – ask them not to leave airport. All free Wi-Fi needs phone number validation which was / is not possible for many travelers. Thus finding a open Wi-Fi becomes a expedition in itself. I managed to request a call to hotel – but they don’t speak English and this is how one comes face to face with reality of a alien in China. But this is also challenges of Travel and certainly should not be seen and understood as a barrier. Remember, since centuries, travelers managed language barriers and established cultural and trade bonds across the continents.
Getting a taxi in a land where language is biggest hurdle and in middle of the night, with luggage- you are surrounded by touts and agents…managing a taxi where fare starts from 150 Yuan and ends up at 50 Yuan. Out stay was for few hours as it was already 2.30 AM and we had planned to explore central city region- so in morning around 11.30 AM , we came out on road and this was our first China on hand experience.
With language barrier, and not knowing what product is made of, meat OR vegetarian ..we decided to stick with Bananas and Apple. China subway metro is way different than what we experience in India and Canada. We took our destination ticket, hardly knowing that we will be shifting 2 or three trains to reach there. Like India, China is having huge population and getting a seat in train is almost a manna from heaven. It was tiring, specially for me with shoulders under pressure from rucksacks and tired from my long flights…by end of first day- I was dead tired.
There is no Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+ like websites available in China. I will be available at WhatsApp, and will be checking mails regularly. If you need to be in connection with friends and family 24 x 7 : Best bet is bring a open phone and buy a Chinese Sim. My phone is Canadian and have locked in period with Bell – hence , no coverage and neither I can change SIM.
But, it’s fine – I am able to talk to family back in Canada on Whatsapp and Every hotel offers free Wi-Fi… I think, I will manage with ease.I will be dedicating a post each, separately on transportation, food, and places I saw later. My day wise post is mental jugglery of what I did and experienced in a day.
But what I concluded before I dozed off….
1. China is perfect blend of East and West. There is no google or Facebook here but almost every youth is hooked to WeChat or some other chat and they are happy and busy in texting someone on the other end.
- On cell phones, Keyboard is in English but language on screen is Chinese- this is again a miracle of perfect blend of technology while keeping your roots and culture intact. Metro stations are highly crowded but people walk in discipline, saw no pushes or yells. People stand in “Q” and wait for doors to open and exchange of inbound and outbound commuters happens in peaceful and noiseless environment.
3. Youngsters respects women with kids, old people and they give up their seats for them. Mostly youth is busy on their Samsungs and Apples Chatting, Music, Videos and what I like was chirpy sound of women – “ They love to talk”.
4. Most amazing thing I noted, there was no ogling, staring or ‘watching’ – you see almost every genre of person in such a huge rush. Although considerable skin is visible, I could not see any man ogling or every staring at any girl / woman. This was little disturbing that a country which is projected as “Aphrodisiac” hungry nation, infact respects and care for woman which we lack back home in India.
Most young boys were seen carrying purses and bags of their girl friend or wives. In public, they don’t kiss in any romantic way but what I noticed was a very genuine, very intimate cuddling, hugging and I was very much impressed by sheer warmth in these people. This is still a riddle that while International media, projects China as highest “ Aphrodesiac” hungry civilization – but you don’t see that hunger in eyes of men , in Public. What I realized was totally opposite to this painted expression about Chinese, they care for, respects and love their women. In middle of night, at People’s Square – thousands were present on a Sunday night – youngsters with selfie handles and with their friends…life seems to be so beautiful !
5. People are happy, prosperous and very satisfied with life. Could not see depression and worried faces. And if I go by prices – no doubt, China is a dominating force in the world. Their life standard, their paying capacity is highest in the world- I was able to see that. While common Canadian is silent, worried, depressed and lost in himself ..Chinese are open, talkative and very helpful people.
6. Its very clean country – from roads to highly populated regions like shopping areas, roads and railway stations – you won’t see people littering as we see in India. They don’t give lane change signals,they look into mirror and change lanes. At Red Lights – they use signals if turning left or right. I could not see overspeeding.