I always rejected even the thought of going to China. When I was young enough for it to be a distant future prospect of travelling, yet old enough to know that – from what I heard – their political structure is incompatible with too many of my beliefs.
Only one month after my trip to Brazil, the chance to fly to China emerged and not one doubt crossed my mind to take it! Here’s the beginning of that journey…
Spitting old men and soup turtles
My real first impression of China was a can of Coke at Beijing airport with mandarin letters on it. Everything else was nearly the same as in many other airports.
My personal first impressions, those that lasted, where the following:
When I came to Qingdao, a city located around 600km south-east of Beijing, I took a Taxi from the airport to my hotel. We were traveling some 50-60 minutes and it cost me less then the taxi from start to end of Torstraße in Berlin. Since it was late at night, I just checked into my – given, very stereotypical – hotel with a small room but large mirrors everywhere. The next morning I went into my companies‘ building, where all the floors where marble in the reception. In front of me, an old Chinese man walked into the building and after snuffling passionately he spat on the floor like there was no tomorrow. A cannonball of yuck, fired onto the ground.
No problem though. A cleaning guy came out of the corner, wiped it away and there… good as new!
5 blinks of an eye later I found myself in front of the elevators and although everybody was already eagerly waiting for those vehicles, all hell broke loose only when they actually arrived. It took me three attempts that morning to fight my way into an elevator only to not be able to push the right button and ride it twice.
The rest of my working day was remarkably uneventful. Besides lunch, nothing unusual and even that was pretty normal Chinese food. In a mall. That smelled.
In the late evening, I took a walk around the hotel and came by a Jusco supermarket (Yeah, Jusco, not Tesco 😉 ). When I walked through the entry door I noticed fish tanks right around the corner and buckets that were filled with turtles. ‚How nice‘, I thought to myself:’They sell pets in supermarkets here!‘. I took me a few seconds to realise, that those were meant for soup, not for kids.
When I fell into my clinically clean sheets that evening, I couldn’t help thinking about how dirty and smelly and strange everything else around me was that day. And what the next days would have in stock for me…