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Chandni Chouk to China Town

With lot of apprehensions and presumptions in mind finally we arrived in China for a visit. As it was my first visit to China people could notice the anxiety due to curiosity on face. Sitting at George Town International Airport I was just trying to make up myself comfortable.

After completing the formalities of boarding pass, immigration and security checks we could finally board the Boeing 737 Southern China Airlines at morning 8.00 a.m. The hospitality of crew members was good. The air hostess, an epitome of oriental beauty would greet all the passengers in Chinese-"Nihao".

The three hours and forty minutes of the journey from George Town International Airport to Guangzhou Airport was like an induction for us. As usual my curiosity coefficient was 100% and was observing all the things keenly right from the dressing, greeting and the eating habits of the people of China.

We could spend only a short time in Guangzhou as connecting flight to Shanghai was on time.Started to Shanghai at about 13:30 and reached Shanghai airport at 15:35. The largest and glamourous city of China- Shanghai was really awesome. We could only take the glimpses of aerial view which were really spectacular. Unfortunately we had to catch another connecting domestic flight to Shijiazhuang, so no site seeing in Shanghai.

As the flight to Shijiazhuang was delayed by one hour could only reach at 21:00 hours. As soon as we stepped out and proceeded towards the exit / arrival side of airport everybody was glaring towards me and my colleague Mr.Laxman. We could realize their feelings soon as the chilling wind almost below zero degree centigrade made us shiver and we were the only people without the jerkins and woolen clothes. Anyway our teeth could sound as though we were specialists in phonetics and were trying to pronounce in a specialized manner. We could manage to ask on the enquiry desk the route to reach the hotel. The lady was really helpful and extended her kind help although with only few English words that she could use she explained us that the hotel was very far away almost 40 km from the airport and it would be safer only to go by the shuttle. Without waiting even for a minute we boarded the bus and reached the stop located in the heart of the city. The traffic rules and driving etiquettes were entirely different from what we have seen in India and Malaysia. Unlike the conventional design the driver’s seat was in the left corner of the vehicle and right hand side lane was the correct side to be followed.

We hired a taxi and reached the hotel within 15 minutes from the stop. As expected the hotel was ambient, luxurious, grand, international place with oriental hospitality.

Nihao said the reception staff followed by hello, may be they realized we could not understand Chinese either from our facial expressions on hearing the Chinese conversation or from the moustaches. We could see nobody in China with moustaches except a few with French cut. Soon Mr. Peter came and communicated with us in oriental English. Peter was really impressive with his charming personality, smiling face and warm hospitality. He checked our booking details and accompanied us to the 17th floor till we reached the hotel. After opening the room he handed over the digital key card of our room and explained us the basic system of the hotel like call 9 for ISD, ) for operator and bla, bla.....

After a day long journey it was time for us to have some refreshment and rest. Ms.Z called us enquiring when and how we arrived. She also conveyed her regrets of not asking the flight number and told us that she was waiting for us at the airport up till 23.00 hours. Being our first international journey after coming to Malaysia we could not avoid the communication failure but may be that had given us the opportunity to enjoy traveling in the shuttle.

Even after arriving in China the anxiety was keeping us awake. After chatting for some time and scrolling the remote up and down to explore any Bollywood stuff we could only watch Titanic on the television. Even in the late night I was watching the movie with so deep involvement may be the theme being adventurous journey or James Cameroon's beautiful depiction of a short love story which made a woman live through her life with only the memories cherished in her heart of her love she lost in the tragic accident.

We got up in the morning as the chronological time scale of China was almost the same as that of Malaysia with no hangover and inertia. After a hot shower to forget the chilling weather and spending time in front of the mirror to ensure the attire and makeup would reflect our professional stature we started towards the official site in the Company's vehicle. The employees greeted us with warm Wellcome and gave their short introduction and their was a presentation regarding the organization. Soon we were busy with our official work and we were busy interacting with people. Although majority of them could not understand English there were a few people who could coordinate by translating English to Chinese and vice-versa.

At 12:00 noon we proceeded for lunch. The hotels in China are really good and well maintained. Although it was chilling outside the temperature inside the hotel was maintained to keep the body warm. Soon the order was placed. Although my colleague had no problem having Chinese food as he used to both veg / nonveg but I was really "odd man out or rather odd man in”. Me being a strict veggie it was tough for them to find a dish for me. Anyway I enjoyed the cookies which are nothing less than the Indian Paratha or Malaysian Naan. With lot of steamed vegetables and literally no spices the Chinese cuisine was unique. Although an Indian could never imagine food without spices and fried in oil but the warmth and hospitality of the Chinese people and their eating etiquettes specially using the chopsticks made me enjoy the meal. After the whole days work we finally had our dinner along with Miss Z at another good Chinese restaurant and came back to our hotel.

Due to change in the schedule another party we were supposed to visit could not arrange our visit and came to see us in the hotel. They expressed their regrets for not being able to arrange for our visit and ensured us to arrange for the same in the near future ASAP.

They also shared with us many interesting facts regarding China and told us to visit some nearby places of tourist importance. We had already brought jerkins and necessary clothes to combat the cold weather. After completing the second day's work we thanked the whole staff for their warm Wellcome, hospitality, cooperation and expressed our gratitude for their arrangement of the visit.

After enjoying another Chinese vegetable stuff which was not less than our Kachori minus masala / spices we came back to the hotel. At night we asked Mr. Peter regarding the spots to visit and enquired whether there was any possibility of visiting The Great Wall of China. He made enquiries and came back to us with plans 1, 2 & 3. At night finally we could finalize our plan and in the early morning at 5:00 proceeded towards the great wall enroute Beijing. Peter already intimated us to dress up properly as there was a possibility of snowfall as per the weather forecast.

We reached Beijing at 9:00.Beijing was really a city with blend of Chinese oriental and western culture with many skyscrapers sprawling across the city. There were numerous international luxury hotels in the city marking the arrival of huge international visitors may be Beijing Olympics had opened the gates of Chinese civilization to he whole world to come and explore the unique east west cultural conglomeration. Beijing was really incredible and no less than the concept of Eurasia, the gateway of Asia towards the Europe.

At 10:30 finally we arrived in Badaling, the great wall was already there encircled us from all sides. The cold was even more drastic. We had to buy some woolen nose masks and hand gloves to protect ourselves. Initially as we stepped up to climb the great wall we had many inhibitions in the mind. But after seeing small children and elderly people climbing the great wall all our mental blocks disappeared and we started taking snaps. My colleague Laxman and Peter were so excited that they were jumping and shouting to express their joy and dispel the shivering. In China it is said "He who has not seen the great wall in his life is not a man." We realized the importance of the maxim only after seeing the great wall.

We witnessed the grandeur and magnificence of the marvelous piece of architecture ever built by man kind. We could still not believe that we were walking so easily on the great wall which is the only thing on earth visible from space. It was my first time in life to travel at a temperature below 0°C. I had the feeling of falling ill but really the zeal and fervor of climbing the great wall could make us forget all the ill feelings of panic and insecurity gripped in my mind. The gigantic hoarding "One dream one world" displayed near the great wall displayed China's big dream of universal brotherhood.

After the thrilling and mind boggling adventurous trip we started back to Shijiazhuang. On the way Peter showed us many prominent places in Beijing like Tinneman square, forbidden kingdom, international hotels, shopping malls, national stadium etc. Finally we returned back in the evening to the hotel safely by God's grace no hassles of snowfall and traffic jams.

In the night while I was thinking how China once considered by the westerners a typical Asian third world poor, populous nation had transformed into a gigantic global manufacturing hub with drastic socio-political changes. The large flyovers wide express highways, air conditioned buses, trains, world’s biggest airports, shopping malls, hotels and finally the living standard was the very evidence that China is no more the old fashioned poor, underdeveloped third world country on the contrary a country with fastest growing and almost largest economy in the world. The economic success story of world's biggest country is no less than the 8th wonder of world.

All our apprehensions regarding China being a communist country with iron fist and no freedom of speech and people leading a regulated life only at the will of junta was proven wrong. As far as the common man of China is concerned he is enjoying more liberty, freedom and lot of opportunities. The hygiene, standard of living and technological advanced are the proof of the giant leap of Chinese common man towards prosperity and better life. May be all the afore said fears and apprehensions regarding the Chinese government were only few incidents experienced by the international community especially concerned with espionage and national security.

To sum up there are many wonderful things to learn from China. How the vast population can be put to work for noble cause of nation building and the cheap and educated highly skilled manpower can cater to the world's economy making it a manufacturing hub and gateway of success to come out of economic crisis and recession. China being the hardware superpower and India software superpower can team up to form a complementary team and can lead the world towards the pinnacle of success. Only strong political will and mutual understanding of people can facilitate such a development. People like me and Peter can only hope for the time to come and history to be made.

Comments

  1. Superb!!!! I was missing "THOSE" days while reading the blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome, I think you should write a book or at least start with a magazine. I will your fan.

    ReplyDelete

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