A first look at China

A few weeks ago, I went to China for a business trip with my boss. It was my first trip outside of Singapore and as any excited traveler, I felt the need to synthesize my feelings and make this blog.

Things I realized on my China Trip:

Singapore Airlines is really a very nice flight carrier. I watched 3 films in my 5 hour flight, had some Singapore Sling and heard Pavarotti’s singing. Free plugging for the company.

Shanghai has too much concrete. I have never seen so much above ground freeways (flyovers) in my life. In a country so big, they really had to do it.

Autumn in Shanghai

First experience of autumn: It is cold. (Well, yeah!) The climate: like air conditioning reversed. Inside the building its warm, outside it’s quite cold. 16 degrees celsius

  • There were so many high rise housing as portrayed on the news but it looks dilapidated compared to Singapore.
  •  Metal corroding, I felt the urban blight amidst Shanghai’s seeming cosmopolitan flair.
  • A tower is rising in Shanghai:Shanghai World Financial Center -The second tallest building in the world after Taipei 101.
  • Chinese restaurant food felt like it had a certain ceremony. I had to observe my boss and all the guys there for proper etiquette. The round table, I now get. The Chinese toasting is ceremonial in the end. Tea has to be always full. Tea is a staple. Chopsticks and Chinese table setting was a bit tricky but after 10 meals in China, I got the hang of it.
  • It is intensely frustrating not too understand the conversation because it was all in Mandarin. I have to use intuition and read body language to get a vague idea of the discussion. After a while I realized that I became my boss’s invisible friend, only talking when she looks me in the eye and speaks English.

Suzhou River

Suzhou is a land that revolves around the river. The town is connected to the river, it is not just a dumping ground but a whole community relies on it. Suzhou is a charming place, slow and serene.

  • I was fortunate enough to be booked in the heart of the old city of Nanjing. It felt so vibrant, think Intramuros charm but in a very Chinatown kinda way
  • A lot of things were going on. The bikes! The taxi rudeness, the clutter. Its like Manila, colder, all Chinese, more bikes, more sweaters, more weird hairdo
  • Autumn has its charm. Yellow Orange leaves, winter fashion, the China tiangge is like anywhere else. The old city is a combination of old imperial fortresses and commercial restaurants intertwine itself.
  • I was tempted to buy tickets for the Beijing Olympic ticketing booth, buying souvenirs for the Olympics 10 pesos each. I negotiated in half baked Singlish accent English, smiles and waves.
  • Everything is cheaper in China (in comparison to Singapore). I bought an authentic leather jacket for S$40. It was agood buy that I can even use even if I am in Manila or Singapore

I realize that every place has its own charm and different places have different characters which makes them incomparable to one another. We can only compare bits and pieces of a place but for a whole experience, there really is no better or worse.

  • I want to go again to China to see the best places and experience the culture. They have an enigmatic charm because they are so different from what my culture is. Although probably next time I will learn a bit more Mandarin and go there not for business but for leisure. See you again China!

transferred from Friendster blog written 11 Dec 2007

Comments:

Dyne:

yes! go visit beijing to experience real old chinese culture and shenzhen for a better leisure experience