Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shanghi to Beijing then onto Jinan - an adventure 2011


Brianna on Boat on the lake of Summer Palace, Beijing 2007. . . . Beijing 2011

Brianna started this journey in China, in Shanghai at the University of Fudan, in January 2011.
I joined Arron and Brianna in July, to have a few weeks exploring Beijing. We had a fascinating time in this eclectic city. The Summer palace, Forbidden city, Peking duck, food markets . . . . . it is amazing what you can fit into 24 hours of each day, when your days are not enough . . .

and when are they ever enough???

Arron had to return to Brisbane after 3 weeks travelling with Brianna to various destinations, and time with Bri and I in Beijing. I would have enjoyed having more time with Arron, but such is life . . . .and what we did share was extremely enjoyable.

Arron on the Great Wall of China. . . .Bri pounding peanuts. . . . Arron drinking yogurt. . . .Bri on the Great Wall of China.


Arron in Food Night Markets Beijing. Bri with Fairy Floss Man. . . 
Peking Duck night out
Brianna and I continued our affair with Beijing. ( I am extremely grateful to have spent this time with my daughter in such exotic locations, while exploring places this suburban mother and wife would never normally venture . . . without the assistance of her warm, intelligent, and daring daughter, who is proficient in Mandarin . .. .what an amazing time I have had !!!!! Can I ever say Thankyou too often ? . . . . Thankyou!)


During our stay at the Beijing apartment Brianna took a trip across to North Korea, leaving me alone for a week . . . . if your interested in North Korea her blog is www.poiseonarrows.blogspot.com.au a very good read.

After 8 fabulous weeks exploring, experiencing, and being decadent in Beijing, it was time to move onto the Shandong province, to deposit Brianna into her New University, for the second part of the year. We caught the fast train which recorded its fastest time during our journey as 367 km hour . . . .


I thought the bullet train in Japan was fast . . .?


The journey from Beijing to Shanghai only takes 4 hours . . the one from Beijing to Jinan was only less than 2 hours. Incredible! Safe? Who knows . .. but we made it!
Cake creations at the LOcal bakery?  . . .Modern shopping centres. . . .
Bri in her University of Shandong.

Jinan is an interesting city. We did not spy another European face in the first 3 days. Considering it's size and beauty, you wonder why more people do not visit this area. This region is the origin of 700 plus fresh water springs. This copious water supply flows into water ways, lakes and fountains throughout the city. They are well maintained and the lighting of an evening is spectacular.

Outside mammoth, modern shopping centre, Jinan.  . . .Brianna in University of Shandong, Jinan.  . . .Bri and  Me exploring Jinan at night.

The shopping is a mix of old, and extremely modern, mammoth structures housing all the expensive and desirable commodities out of Italy and France!I have a feeling that before too long we will not be able to afford to shop in China!




I felt comfortable knowing Brianna is in Jinan. The pace is a BIT slower, the people more ready to smile, the traffic less hectic and the sheer size less daunting. Yes!, it is a NICE 'little' place!!

I kept wondering what the difference is between Australia and China . . . why does it feel so foreign? Yeah! Yeah! I know the different nationality of the inhabitants is a certain give away!! . . and the architecture, and the obviously Grey vs Blue skies . . . but there is something else.

After my travels, I think I have nailed one of the variances that makes it obviously different.
In Australia we tend to have extremely structured and strict building codes and policies that protect areas from being 'different'. 

Well, I don't think the government has initiated these strict codes in China . . . .

Walking anywhere, you will find a children's toy and clothing shop next to a sex shop, which rubs shoulders with the local bakery . . . . moving right along you'll find a very expensive boutique which derives it's aroma from the open sewerage drains that flow between it and the semi demolished houtong.

Yep! It is this juxtaposition of such variances that causes us foreigners to feel uneasy.

I talked to a lot of foreign visitors (while attending art classes at the The Hutong, and doing the cooking classes etc) and it seems that you either love this or hate it . . . there is vary little room for nonchalance. I found at first it unsettled me. 


Why have an exquisite shop or boutique Hostel next to a smelly old crumbling food outlet? . . . . a fascinating, modern Art gallery in a dark labyrinth of an alleyways. An exquisite, meditative garden next to a market district lit with the most incredible neon lights . . 



But after awhile I did not find this disturbing. (however, I am well aware of the positive differences, that being able to communicate with the local people - speaking their language makes. Just being in Beijing by myself for the week, while Brianna was in North Korea was a slight night mare. Hoping into a taxi was fraught with dangers, ordering a meal off an all chinese menue an adventure, getting lost a firm reality . . . )




But !. . .and However !. . .. I must categorise myself as, 'loving the strangeness' of the place.

I know I will find Brisbane plain and under whelming.


I will find the sameness and slowness claustrophobic.




Initially, I will look for something new and unpredictable, knowing it will be without success. (Brisbane is like a well manicured garden, with predictable pathways and water features signed and fenced . . .. nothing is left to explore, with an adventurers heart or a soul that craves something different!)

However, like most humans I will adapt and eventually appreciate the orderliness of the roads, the ability to be able to read and understand most signs, the sameness of quality, the Blue skies, the quietness and the safety . . . of sleepy little Brissy.

Yep! Home will certainly be a LOT different . . .



for one thing, I will miss my daughter.. . .again !. . . .but,I would never want her to miss out on such an adventure . ..


"You Go Girl" . . .ain't life grand, for those brave enough to take it face on. 

We will be here when you get back. Enjoy! X

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