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Riding the buses » China, Memorable moments, Travel tips » China: Looking back

China: Looking back

There have been profound economic and social changes in China over the past few years and a much improved tourist infrastructure is now in place. Not so long ago it was a challenge to travel in China and Charlotte Fanjoy, who was there for five weeks in 1987, recorded her impressions through verse.

Mao suits, ChengduCulture shock

If I can handle this, I can handle anything
Crowds and crowds and crowds
Nothing familiar: not clothes, or language, or food, or traffic norms. Or smells, or sounds, or heat, or behaviour
Culture shock: dazed madness

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China in the morningChina—in the morning

How I love China early in the morning…
I love being in its parks
Where people do their Tai Chi, ballroom dancing, martial arts, exercises.
There’s a lovely sense of peace in early Chinese mornings.

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Shaping marketToday

Today we headed out of Dali to a market at Shaping
My god it was fantastic.
The Bai people were selling everything, absolutely anything a person could need.
Taking in
The colours of their clothes
The peacefulness of their work
Their focus on their tasks.
I felt like an alien from another planet.

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Toe of the BuddhaChinese staring squads

If you stare at me one more minute
If you laugh at me one more minute
If you surround me one more minute
If you push me one more minute
I am going to go fucking nuts.
So I yelled ‘Fuck off!’ to the solid wall of people surrounding me.
They laughed.

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Train from Kunming to ChengduTrain trip to Chengdu

6 westerners
Sandwiched in 2 sets of triple hard-bunks
1 little bottle of whisky
3 languages
25 hours of talking, sharing, learning, laughing
Wonderful, wonderful 25 hours.

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Dafu, world's largest BuddhaLunch with Dafu, Baoguo, China

Today I had lunch with Dafu
Actually it was Dafu’s foot
Well, actually it was on Dafu’s big toe.
Now I imagine you are thinking,
Who is Dafu?
Well, Dafu is a Buddha and is special for many reasons.
He’s old—been around since 713 A.D.—so they say.
I really liked him.
It was a lovely lunch.

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Great WallPicnic on the Great Wall

I loved it.
I was surprised by the intensity of my reaction.
I felt so fortunate, so honoured, such joy
To be walking along the steep, ancient, Great Wall of China.
We even had a picnic on the wall.
Being there was in itself worth the trip to China.

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Tiananmen GateMay Day in Tiananmen Square

After eating duck at a grimy restaurant and plodding through the bones and crud on the floor
We left for the square with our Danish friends.
Tiananmen Square was packed with crowds of people waiting for something to happen
On that May Day in Beijing.

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Kunming MarketTime to eat in Guilin

Do your taste buds crave fried hedgehog?
Fried snake?
How about fried dog meat or pigeon?
Mmmm
Or fried turtle or frog?
No!
O.K. How about this?
Any of the above can be stewed or roasted.
Interested?
Well I’ll bet you’d like your roasted snake made into a soup or your fried hedgehog served with brown sauce!
Mmmmm

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Fabulous Susana's CafeYangshuo

You won’t believe this.
You simply won’t believe this.
I am in a tiny village in the middle of China.
I am at Susanna’s Cafe.
My table is graced with a clean, white tablecloth and a glowing candle.
I am drinking my second cup of Irish coffee,
Yes Irish coffee.
I am listening to Western music.
Oh I just saw a woman carrying a huge load on her shoulders—2 huge baskets attached together by a pole. Women work so hard here in China.
Anyway: I feel great. I feel such love. I am living a dream.

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