12 December 2011

Nihao! - Part Five

Part four of my China adventure can be found here. Yesterday was one of the greatest days ever with a tour of the Great Wall, today we are once again on the move.

Day five: We're about to board our third flight in only a matter of days, it took us numerous failed attempts of trying to hail a taxi which lead to a reluctant 2km walk with our luggage to the train station, three trains and two hours to get to the airport... I feel like I'm apart of the Amazing Race ha! Our destination? Chongqing! A relatively unknown place to outsiders it is the capital city of a province in the direct center of China, not really one for the tourist circuit.

We landed around midday. Awesomely Isaac's friend Ava met us at the airport and we were to be staying at his apartment for the next two nights, cool. Ava was an awesome guy who impressively wasn't too bad when it came to speaking English, we hit it off quite well. His place was real nice, a homely little two bedroom on the 6th floor of a 30 story apartment complex... which in this city is literally the norm. Chongqing was the first time I really felt like I was in a foreign country, the streets were lined with these:

These were our skyline.
It was rather surreal. Sure I've been in plenty of cities before, I guess Sydney (Australia) would be the biggest city I've been to, but Sydney is an ant standing next to an elephant when compared to this place. There was so many cars, and people, and roads, and buses, and... yep, it was pretty different.

It wasn't long before I realized how grateful I am to be traveling with some locals (Isaac and Ava) because it quickly became apparent that Chongqing doesn't get many non-Chinese visitors. As we walked around town entire streets of pedestrians would come to a stand still just to get a good look at me. At first I'd only catch glimpses as I was swaying my head looking at all the sights, however it quickly became impossible to miss.

A hilarious moment came soon when we were riding in a bus. It was packed so we had to stand in the isle and I was just staring out the windows watching the sights go by, letting my gaze drift. An interesting sight caught my eye so I swiveled my glance real fast towards the back of the bus as it zoomed by, in which I caught in the act the entire bus staring at me. Seeing that they've bring sprung every single person then tried to quickly glance away in a futile effort to try and trick me into thinking that they weren't actually looking at me... haha!

After casually hanging out for the day, that night we had dinner arrangements with a bunch of Isaac's old high school friends which turned out amazing. Apparently this is a very traditional Chinese meal to have, I absolutely loved it. The food was great, the atmosphere was upbeat and the company was perfect. Luckily I have been having quite a lot of Asian foods this last year back home so my chopstick skills are rather accomplished, much to the surprise to the other dinner guests hehe.



Isaac digging in!
Isaac's friends were really cool, most of them spoke adequate English so I could talk with all of them. We had a hilarious time trying to tell each other jokes... the jokes themselves weren't that funny, what was funny is trying to tell a bunch of Chinese people Australian jokes and vice versa ha!

Afterwards the group wanted to show me the sights so we walked around the city. During this time I played a little game within my own head called 'Spot the foreigners' where I would try and find other foreigners walking around because I still couldn't get over the reactions I was getting from the locals. In the end I found two others... only two in a city of literally millions.

Pretty cool and modern looking place.

Sheen, Ava, Isaac, ?, Angela, Monies.
Apologies for the blur. Can you guess which one is me =P
The city was pretty cool, but nothing that I hadn't already seen in Shanghai. Whilst walking I would let my gaze wonder, soaking up the surrounding buildings and people, and I must say the highlight of the day in no doubt was the simple act of meeting and hanging out with Isaac's friends. Angela spoke perfect English and seemed very eager to learn more about Australia, Sheen and Monies were both hilarious and we spent a lot of time swapping jokes, and it was just a really nice moment to be welcomed into a new group and be made to feel right at home in a place that is almost as different to home then you can possibly be.

It was our first relaxing day since we arrived, and I knew tomorrow would be much the same. Suffice to say I was feeling quite content with life at that moment.

The trip continues here. Tomorrow we visit one of the coolest markets I have ever been to.


Jez said...

The China Chinese always love looking at tourists and take pictures of them! A couple of years back I went to singapore for a few weeks in the summer (I have family there), and met up with a few friends who were on their gap year. While we were at one of the beaches in Sentosa (a tiny island off of Singapore), a group of Chinese tourists insisted on taking pictures with us! They seem to love foreigners with blond hair!
The more you get stared at in foreign places, the quicker you'll get used to it. Have a couple of key poses in your arsensal to use to catch starers off guard!

Out of Sync said...

It is funny that you can relate to the experience despite being in a totally different location haha.

And now you can laugh about the fact that you are in some random families photo album =D

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