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China: By Journalists Eye XXIV - How to get the picture in Shanghai

Published: 27.10.2012
The second day in Shanghai. I slept great, the apartment from Chinese Ministry in one of the most modern hotels in Pchu - tung district, hardly compares to the most luxury holiday model.

Bed for three basketball players, duvets as breath bathroom for princesses, plaintive music, soft carpet ... just deserved relax after all those rushing tours, lectures, visits potentates, hourly crossings, all under the watchful eye of our guide.

Shang Hai

But it is the morning and everything starts again. For today, the program is turned slightly and we have 90 minutes of "personal time off". Hooray! I run between all that marble and gold in a circular reception, ironed Asian footman opens the door to me and bows, I choose the direction of the left and walk the nearly empty sidewalk between skyscrapers. Around me everywhere are giants of glass, steel, stone and concrete. The sun's almost has no chance to push the ray down to the ground.

Just a ten minute of walk and the average height of buildings reduced to half. Also street meanwhile are quite full. I watch the garbage collector who honestly classify and treat their catches in bags on shoulders, wealthier on carts behind their wheels. Passersby tie men and ladies with parasols on them or does not establish eye, fortunately they won´t suffer even pair of policemen standing nearby.

Shang Hai

Shang HaiShang HaiShang Hai

Collecting garbage is in China basically a profession, of course, belongs to one of the poorest social class. The government so far has tolerated and silently why: collectors with their catch alive, so it is classified into the last piece of the material was liquidated. Education in this area is in the middle ground yet far behind the poor but is catching their work up that, what the government can´t teach people.

I´m walking between businessmen and officials of both sexes in business suits and costumes and with the necessary cell phone close their ear. All those people flowing into their offices are not up then 1980. Chinese youth ahead! I concentrate on their unreadable faces, I'd love to talk to someone, but there radiates to me the general rush, so I´ll let it be.

Shang Hai

 "Hallo! Do you speak English? " suddenly hear a voice somewhere behind me. I turn back to see smiling girl that her question really aimed at me. Well, probably not surprisingly, I'm the only white face. I say yes and girl companies me - that would supposedly like to take the opportunity to talk in English and accompanied me everywhere. My journalistic ear is ready and my head formulates the questions.

A young Chinese woman tells me that she studies in high school. It is said her whole life and she does nothing else than to be carefully taught and learned. We want to travel to Europe or America. And the only way, he says, is through excellent academic performance, knowledge of English and certainly another language. She plans study French. I'll listen to a story that comes from poor conditions somewhere in the countryside.

“Did you see the slums of Shanghai old poor district?" asks me the girl and I'm surprised that something like that unleashes the street from her mouth. I have answered in the negative and, unfortunately, also refuse the offer, her to take me to these places. My time limit slowly gets shorter and my group program is waiting to me, that show us China as a beautiful, clean, humanitarian, prosperous and rich. Damn, how much I would like to see the counter...

With thanks, I want to say goodbye and turn it toward the hotel. Student but smiles and cadges from me few minutes more. We are only a few meters from her school, and she can show it to me. It can´t resist a hurry with her. Practically around the corner we really set foot in the alley, cross the sort quadrangle and I find myself in a room full of paintings. School? I do not understand much.

Shang Hai

All pupils paint pictures, we have it in the curriculum, this is our studio, the girl says to me and starts to explain what symbols are elements in paintings. Crane - a bird with a long neck, long legs and beak - symbolizes long life, purity lotus flower, bamboo honest man, mei flower that blooms in winter, is a symbol of courage ... in the meantime, in to the door enters another Chinese girl.

How do you like our pictures? Would you like to get anyone? Which one do you think is the prettiest? Questions begin to be ruder. The pictures are really nice, sincere praise all and then show you the one that spoke to me the most. Girls shine and that he took it from them, I can buy it and support it as their school. Damn ... now what? It costs only 200 yuan, we are students, that's a great price!

Those girls probably read from my eyes that I have a weakness for pictures. The one that I showed, I really can imagine at home wall. Time pinch me. Girls are grinds. I have a problem to refuse them and for haggle I don’t feel the right environment. Therefore I open my wallet and the picture is mine. We change our email address and I'm quickly going back to hotel. I have a nice experience, a beautiful memory and good feeling.

Minimalist oil with the face of the Chinese woman sitting behind the desk hangs in my living room for 2 years. I am pleased every day and even blog of travellers to China, which I found a few weeks ago, my happiness won´t take me. Humorously depicts how in Shanghai is possible to get the picture...

Text/photo: Andrea Fantová

 



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