Saturday, February 05, 2005

China... the first few days

Our last day in Hong Kong made us love the place even more. Wednesday night we left me red bag on the train. Distraught that our day’s purchases (a wide angle lenes and fir wire port) were lost, we were very sad that a perfect day had been ruined by the lost, but a call to our hotel early the next morning confirmed our love of Hong Kong. We left thinking it’s the greatest huge city on earth.
We caught the KCR to Lo Hw without checking our email one last time and were very excited to get to China but as soon as we passed over the border, it felt quite different. To say it’s messy over here would be a simple comment. It is going to be beautiful one day. After all of the construction is finished.

They use good quality materials, and construct beautiful garden areas, but they take too long to finish it, so the first half looks grotty because people have trampled dirt everywhere. And even when it looks finished, piles of dirt and sand are left all over the place.
<><>NO ONE speaks English in China…. well, hardly anyone at all. And mostly just the words they need to say to sell you something! When we go into shop an attendant runs up in about 2 seconds. Some of them are really nice, some are pushy. I had one guy in a really crappy little store try to sell me a shirt (the only shirt that I have found to fit me in China yet) for $180 RMB ($30 AUD). That is VERY expensive over here. I offered him $20 RMB. It's the kind of shirt that you would see in Cheep shops in Australia. I wouldn’t pay more than $15 in Aus for it! But he kept trying to say Very Good, Chinese. I think he was trying to convince me that it was Chinese silk of something. Anyway - we bartered away and eventually I decided that I didn't want it anyway. As I walked away he yelled after me in an angry voice.

<>Other than that - there are 1000s of jumpers, and no shirts. And none of them would fit me anyway. And when I said before that the attendant comes up in 2 seconds, I meant everywhere but in women’s clothing shops. *sigh*

Travelling around China is a little bit hard sometimes. They are fixing up the train station in Shenzhen at the moment and the new signs were in Chinese and English, but the signs that they put up in the mean time where just in Chinese. So we walked all over the station with packs on our back, backwards and forwards looking for where to get a ticket to Guangzhou, and eventually found that it was just around the corner. The whole process took about 45 minutes.

After we got the tickets though, it was good and we got some really interesting video out of the train. The "Haves" and the "Have-nots" in the country are very separated... and it's easy to wonder why they are spending so much on the Olympics and not on their people. But then again, with over a Billion people, they couldn’t afford it. Sometimes I think the farmer’s life might be happier than an office worker anyway.
<>Anyway – I can’t think of a lot to say about what we are doing. Walking around and looking at things mostly. I called my Mum this morning and AHumbleKnight called his parents too. When she answered the phone I had to stop myself from crying. I am not sad, so I don’t know why. I guess it have never been this far from Her before. It’s okay though. Email is good, and so is MSN.


Anonymous Jane Ballinger said...

Helllooooo Helen and Brad!!

How are you!! I was entertained by your posts... all the little Chinese-isms that you're describing. I hope you're having a wonderful time! Believe it or not, James and i are actually discussing (very tentatively a this stage!) the possibility of teaching in China or Taiwan... except we're wondering how easy or hard it is to get jobs when you don't have a uni degree? Do you know? Anyway, I hope you're having a rockin' time, and I'll keep checking your site!!

Lots of love to you both,
Jane B xoxoxox

12:18 am  

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