» China: By Journalists Eyes VII: The jump to the Chinese market 1.
China: By Journalists Eyes VII: The jump to the Chinese market 1.
Beijing is for us concentration of paradoxes. Endless skyscrapers, luxury living residences, shops of all tech brands on one side and then thousands of artifacts, ancient Chinese culture. We are interested in both of it, but the traditional one is but much more interesting.
About the gigantic marketplace that is just a short walk from the Forbidden City, our tour guide really mentioned one word. But it was enough. This will definitely not miss. We enter by ornate gate that opens to us a never-ending view of the wide street lined with hundreds of stone and mobile shops decorated with red lamps, garlands, and all sorts of kitsch to attract customers. The assortment is losing. There is mixed everything from clothes, shoes, handbags, bags, suitcases, guaranteed branded mobiles, toys and stuffed animals to food, snacks, teas and the market "fresh food".
We mix with Chinese crowd, who happily enjoy the shoppings. I watch the guy who rejoices with peeing pink plastic dog, jumping up and down a little farther to the lady in your favourite soundy bag, salesman flying kites in the local wind with a smile on her lips in vain trying to get to Heaven a huge creature colour, fail, despite enthusiastic customer pulls out his wallet and leave with a catch.
To the market place I went in the company and our Slovak colleagues and our blond couple does not go unnoticed. But here we target the interests of Chinese people who want to diversify our family photo album. Here we perceive as the embodiment of wealth, and thus charged purses excellent business opportunity. And the Chinese are equally enthusiastic marketers, such as shopping.
"Beautiful Lady, watches, bags ...", trying to stop us at every step. We are smiling, and observe goods only from a distance and resist. I have the task of home purchase pens "Parker", then stop after all the shops, which would seemingly have something to hide. Error! The moment is for us a young man who speaks the local conditions very well in English, explaining that leads us to a place where good buy and everything will be dirt cheap. He turns toward the tangle of small streets, where we still dare for fear that we will not able to get back. Tempting offer. Not for purchase, but we have a chance to penetrate the soul Market. Let therefore lead.
From the main thrust decorative market turn left, we turn right, turn left and the next thing I do not know at all. We're winding narrow and getting dirtier streets, which literally beats his life. People are running around, sit around, play games, cook, in a stone mug on the street washing dishes, grandmother knits, additional lugs hen flies overhead us clothes, lying on the ground with all sorts of scraps of food and raw meat, run between cats, dogs and especially children, gorgeous little Chinese. Our “guard” say hallo to many people, we so do the same and we all are smiling. Why not? Let's make a deal to your friends, maybe someone from the family.
I am absolutely amazed, I feel the right China in all pores, but my colleague stopped smile and does not hide the fear. It is unfounded. In China it is safe, which we see soon - stop at the door, on which the metal knocker, our guide used it, you will see a nice young woman leads us into the house, the basement room with no windows to the ceiling filled with goods. In front of me stands a glass display case, and in it apart from all sorts of technical gadgets pens, Parker real Chinese for two hundred. I buy as many as four, lures me and purse (in the spirit of giggling when he jabbers salesman "Ledru Ledru Rajt" but for the money I do not care), and finally I have five hundred suitcase on wheels - of course, Hello Kitty! Satisfaction on all sides, even get a farewell gift - a bag of jasmine tea.
The way back leads surprisingly another way, it is soon clear to us that shopping is not over. Intertwined with the other barely a meter wide streets, enthusiastically observe their lives and begin to slowly accustom spit ubiquitous, spitting and hawking, the Chinese government apparently did not eliminate or under threat of heavy fines. One guy hovering, whom we miss, "stretches" just in front of us and sends us sputum feet. Then he smiles. Maybe compliment?
Our stomachs are gently blowing a blunt and get hit when the market appears before us with food, or traditional Chinese fast food restaurant. The skewers are lurking cockroaches, grasshoppers, small snakes, salamanders. When I stare at it, flick cooks deliberately injected into the beetle Stiel and the digging feet - proof of freshness! "Choose, Fry, fry, ladies," call to us in broken English. Somehow we went hungry. Does not remedy it or pot from which protrude chicken claws, although the scent of coriander. But then comes the ultimate experience - a counter where a huge container with hundreds of small pink little bodies - we recognize nestlings. You better think about how they can consume, other county - other manners, I respect that, but our guide to scream and I immediately gone.
Text/photo: Andrea Fantová
Profane language and pornography shouldn’t be on the Internet. We would certainly agree with that if only this wasn’t just a cover for endless clutch of the Chinese Internet censorship. Under the cover of a protection of national cultural heritage, and public interest and prosperity the Chinese government tries to hide its rough cleansing.
Classical Chinese carpets have described Marco Polo in his travelogues, but till today in the world are still not too much to seen and know little about them. I look forward to our visit carpet factories in the province of Qinghai, Xining on the outskirts of the city, to widen my horizons. The lives of local workers I try to plug deeply into the subconscious and try to see the beauty around.
Exploring the China is join with infinite variety of impressions, perceptions, experiences and surprises for Europeans often shrouded under a veil of mystery, many time but just ignorance. I did get out of this country dominating feeling - China is incredibly colourful. Colourful from drab uniform gray to a beautiful rainbow combination.
To leave the province of Qinghai and thus few days of life in the past, sometimes the century before, it was the more sensitive nature really hard. Local on many places the virgin nature, proud mountain ranges, deep green valleys, vast dry plains, miniature boxes, herds of yaks and colourful mix of nationalities, often pristine civilizations us captivated, amazed, left imprint on the hearts.
We are in Shanghai, in a metropolis shrouded by hundreds of "firsts" that is, in the largest Chinese city. One "the best" there certainly lacks – the historic one. Shanghai, unlike many other Chinese cities has relatively short history, after the Middle Ages, you won´t find any foot mark.
When I looked at the city in evening from promenade of colonial Bund, Oriental Pearl enchanted me with its graceful shapes, and I watched long how at it clothed in new and new colours in regular intervals. I do not know, which one suits her most...
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.
Till the start of the World's Expo remains less than 11 months. Here in Shanghai the word Expo is inflected to suffer. Sky blue mascot of Hainan - pao exhibition more than a year before the outbreak this exhibition´s madhouse smiles from windows, posters, winks from light boards, and I decided to bring one teddy home.
The first ever Chinese word that I learned, and it still did not forget, is the "pi-jo". If you seem familiar, you are right - though vastly different languages, for favourite golden-coloured brew has phonetically very similar name as Czech and many other Slavic languages. Drinking beer is a hobby that is definitely common with the Chinese.
In China, people drink really everything you can think of. Everyday drink is inherent tea, whether green or black, fermented or semi-fermented. Water and hundreds of species of non-alcoholic beverages are part of food as well as beer or very popular traditional rice wine. On the tables of local "higher" classes but there are also wine from grapes, until recently marginalized drink.
To move on the other side of Euroasia is nothing easy for those who don’t know how. Especially when they are going to have a personal contact with a Chinese family, business partners, or politicians and officials. For such a stay it is good to make some little preparations, otherwise you will experience more than one faux pas.
Walks and rides in Shanghai are an infinite fount of learning unknown and different no matter where it is. I manage to sit down and observe rush around me for half an hour on one very busy avenue.
We have all this Christmas martyrdom behind us, more or less. New Year’s eve after-effects are the past now and everyday life came back again. Far in the east of our planet the holiday season is getting to its peak.
We had many formal meetings during our journey in China with government officials or top managements of some companies that tried to make themselves more visible through us, European journalists. In a hurry after these precisely scheduled meetings I always gathered prepared business cards and carefully placed them to my notes.
We all got used to all these superlatives surrounding China. I wouldn’t exaggerate if I said that she achieved some primacy every week.
If we set off to China it is almost imposible to miss out its capital - Beijing. Beijing is full of traces of history but Beijing also lives in the present and future in every of its wide avenues and narrow streets. Beijing is full of fabulous food, noisy traffic... And so on and on. Where would you look for peaceful moments in busy metropolis?
We are still in the far northwest of China, in the region, which is interwoven with Tibetan culture and history. After dense doses our Beijing hosts are served us bait to persuade Europeans ignorant about the interest of the central government in the development of local underdeveloped economy, improving people's living standards while maintaining support all the attributes of the original culture
Again our bus is going on the new highway, which I'd read that it was probably built for only one reason - to make available the Tibetan Buddhist monastery Ta'er. And really, this time not waiting for us any boneshaker dirt road and conveniently parked outside the gates of a large complex at the foot of greenish mountains.
Qinghai Province fascinates me at every step, or rather at every kilometre. A mixture of Buddhism and Muslim world humbly exist together is incredibly interesting phenomenon, especially for journalists from far, accelerated, often impersonal and intolerant Europe. This time we are heading into the valley that lies in Rebkong area, the centre of Tibetan art in the province.
The third day we devoured spell of western China and the knowledge that we have somewhere "behind" Tibet is our "ugly," said attractive. There, under the auspices of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, certainly can´t go, but Tibetan culture we meet at every step.
Our bus finally stops at the end of a long, dirt track, in which about an hour ago has changed as if by magic a modern six-lane highway. My worries we will finish up on the roof, fortunately not materialized, we drove past woods and gouged out before us, football pitch right and green has left. Everything was dominated by ground shabby, battered gray building - school.
Our bus goes on the perfectly smooth highway, where we ones a time meet some man in a hat, with a scarf over his face and a broom in his hand - he is alone, far from him you can´t see anything of civilization, the high mountains on both sides, and he sweeps the shoulder.
Morning view from hotel window in Xining reveals a breathtaking backdrop. The city is surrounded by high mountains, over which the sun shines and I'm really looking forward for today's trip, which has sometimes copied the former trade artery between Asia and Europe - the Silk Road. The fact that I wet my feet in the Yellow River, it is still like science fiction.
After four days in Beijing we packed suitcases and with our guide got on the plane. Before us is a big unknown - we are moving into one of the poorest provinces of China to west to the Tibetan border. It won´t be surprise just for us, but also our girls will visit Beijing - Ai Qing the first time in their life.
China's hard work and discipline accompanied us at every step and a visit of Beijing Foreign Studies University just confirmed it. Here we had a chance to appreciate even more characteristic of Chinese - adaptability.
Visit of Beijing food market and edibles of all kinds, shapes, smells, often of unknown origin and a long life even more dangerously we were really stunned for a moment and quietly wandering Chinese traders staring at the blonde, which move at a rate of marathon runners. Phew. We are off and miraculously in front of us pleasantly familiar signs shucks "Starbucks Coffee".
Finally Beijing. Our journalistic team has battled a series of security checks and we find ourselves in an endless airport lounge. The feeling that the local crowd have to absorb us was not correct. Then we see a smiling Chinese lady and in minutes everyone sit in a luxury air-conditioned bus.
China - land of unlimited possibilities, a country which, unlike the developed world is growing and whose economic growth in today's world seems like a miracle. Country with many cultural and historical monuments, a country, that sends a man into space.
From the bus window, we could see Beijing crisscross, authentic atmosphere of the streets and alleys and hundreds of thousands of people in them, but we sucked up in the role of hikers and then of course after "bedtime" is ended with an official dinner with selected potent and our tired guide disappeared behind hotel room door.
Huge China is a country of contrasts. It consists of several climatic zones, there you can find a noisy city full of glass skyscrapers and smog, but also the traditional mountain village with mud houses and rice plantations.
Being in China and not visit the Great Wall is equal to savagery. The official program that the Chinese government has prepared us is this trip only alternative and we have to earn deserve it. From early morning we sit in the Red Hall headquarters of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China and pretend to listen to propaganda papers enthusiastic speakers.
We "elect" could see the Chinese megalopolis through largely a luxury air-conditioned bus with a smiling dude behind the wheel. It is also part of local standard, certainly not just for a small group of natives and of course for wealthy tourists.
The first dining experience in China didn’t impress me too much. Five stars beautiful hotel, a lot of fuss on arrival our journalistic delegation - a bow and waving fans welcomed us beauties in traditional dress, from the table.
Ancient city of Xian, or Si-an is about 3000 years old. It is one of the most important places throughout Chinese history, since it is here that housed 11 Chinese imperial dynasties. At the time when Beijing was a mere village, golden Si - an shone by bright colours of temples, wide boulevards and architectural excesses.
World media today proclaims that the Chinese state television CCTV triumphantly finished its job and officially opened a new headquarters in Beijing. The futuristic-looking building that should symbolizes the emergence of China on the world stage, journalists dubbed it - thanks to the remarkable shape for her grace in the world called the Chinese "Great boxers."
Photo: Amy Challen a Jan Lidmaňský