Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The First Cultural Shock!...

...missing luggage and the “Chinese way of sheeting”...unbelievable!

Well, well, well, what else could I possibly ask for my arrival at Beijing….my only 23kg bag was missing “in action”, i.e. never left Lisboa!... so, perfect start for me!

The trip was fine and it didn’t seem it took 13 hours! The hardest thing was trying to talk (or not) to the Chinese people employed to work in an international airport, of one of the steaming economic power in the world, that are incapable of speaking understandable English. But after 40 minutes I managed to explain them (using body language and mimics) that I lost my baggage! But, they say it will take 2 days to receive it!

After taking a taxi and enjoy my first impression of Beijing, I can say it’s a dawn enormous city with large roads, lots of publicity, heavily polluted and where the traffic is extremely confused but it seems everyone understands perfectly this mess!

The Chinese way of sheeting…just try to imagine my first bathroom experience. I arrived to the hostel and immediately went to the bathroom! I couldn’t be more impressive with the situation! A Chinese man sheeting with the door open, farping, barckling, reading a book and smoking! As obviously I stood for a while and he even notice my present! Can you believe it!?!... but the question remains: is this the Chinese way of sheeting?!? It seemed a scene took for my beloved series “Seinfeld”! And keep in mind one marvelous and minor detail…two of the three toilets of the hostel is a big hole in the ground (like in Portuguese military facilities)…which they tell is normal in China…so expect big adventures in public Chinese WC‘s and you need to be accurate.

Let’s talk now a little of Beijing. To be honest I didn’t see much until now. Given the problems with the luggage I had to go back to the airport to try to solve the problem but I could no nothing more after reporting it. I think I only saw 5% of the town, but I can say that isn’t like anything I’ve known. I feel is confusing, there aren’t almost any indications in English and nearly a person is capable of speaking the world’s language.
The city is too grey during the day, i.e. the pollution “paints” the sky in tones of grey and light brown and even from tall building your sight is limited to 200 meters tops. There is taxis everywhere and is extremely cheap, for 1€ you can ride for 2kms and for each additional Km you pay plus 0,20€, so it’s really cheap!

But at night, the city seems to gain a new life, you cannot visually notice the pollution and the colors of the publicity panels, the lights and restaurants bright panel-names makes it beautiful and pleasant! Yesterday I’ve been in a Korean restaurant and had my first experience with chopsticks! It was quite hard but at the end I managed to eat, with the help of my hands, and it was a really long dinner since I took a lot of time to pick up the small pieces of vegetables, sea food, meat and fish!

I say goodbye to all of you for now. We’ll keep in touch, don’t forget that your comments are welcome (in English or in Portuguese).

Fair well, Ni Hao!

wrote at 24th January

1 comment:

Sofia said...

ola nuno. a mae deu-me o endereço do teu blog e li este texto e apesar de ser inculta percebi-o todinho!! ingles acessivel! sim senhor!!