Chasing the illusions4 August 2019
“Building Bridges Across the Globe” or Bringing Impact to Communities17 September 2019
My third time in China, and first time on the tropical island of Hainan. The unique resort of the Celestial Empire, which is rightfully considered to be Chinese Hawaii. Palm trees, white sand, clean air, and not a single factory. A quiet harbor where you can escape from the annoying resorts of Turkey and Egypt.
After all, it’s only 11 hours flight from Kyiv (unless, of course, the flight delay is not considered to be 12 hours …. thanks, UIA!).
When you fly to China for the first time, the feeling that you are in some kind of parallel reality does not leave you. The beginning was laid at the border inspection, where first you need to stand in line and pass fingerprints at the self-service kiosk. After that, you have to stand in line for an hour and a half to talk with a border guard, who with a frenzy addiction will make copies of all your visas in your passport, and in the US visa will also count the number of days during which you stayed in the USA.
But that’s not all :))) after that they will ask you for your phone and check the photos. And for some reason, they checked only men`s phones. What is up with gender inequality, folks?? :)))
But in fact, the road from the airport to the hotel brightens up all the inconveniences of a long flight. How can you not be delighted with the vast sky, palm trees, and rice plantations, during the hour of travel?
But … if you think that when checking into a hotel, you can chat with the staff in English at the reception and at the same time clarify all the details, then you are mistaken :))) For 14 days, I have not met anyone who spoke English. Attempts to speak in a restaurant or store resembled a conversation between a deaf person and a dumb person. I had to turn on the fantasy and use all the gestures. And even Google translator did not help until the Chinese switched on the program on their phones, which with varying success helped us understand each other.
But China is a unique country. A place where ancient culture is adjacent to tall skyscrapers, in which no one lives for a year and only during the Chinese New Year the hosts come. Where Chinese medicine does not accept the diagnoses of European medicine and everything can be cured with massage, banks, and acupuncture.
And the food …. oh, the food. I can devote to the food a whole volume of a huge encyclopedia.
I love to try everything new. But sometimes, even with the most careful examination and taste tests, it was impossible to understand what I was eating. And the hotel, where we lived, has a very interesting concept. Breakfast is continental, and lunch for two weeks is always a choice of three dishes. And if it seems that you can combine and eat something, then after four days the salad, called “Cucumber peanuts” and handmade dumplings are so boring that you are ready to eat any kind of noodles from the nearest supermarket.
Or another delicacy – millennial eggs, which are soaked in a special solution and buried in the ground…
But I do not resent. It was really delicious. And baozi rolls in the morning, and shrimp with incredible rice in the nearest restaurant, and fresh mussels and scallops for dinner, and even a cheeseburger with pineapple at McDonalds 🙂
And also the amazing South China Sea. With a crowd of Chinese people at 6 in the morning on the beach, while you are trying to run your 3 km a day on wet and soft sand. A sea that is never calm. And sand fleas, whose bites you see only upon arrival home.
China is unbelievable. China is amazing. The local market with its flavor and the ability to buy almost any living creature and immediately cook it. Exotic fruits and durian with onion flavor. Honestly, I could not understand what is so special about it – onion tasted like onion 😁
The excursion to the island of monkeys did not leave us indifferent. Another example of dualism in everything: on the one hand some monkeys are full masters of this territory and walk around where they want. On the other hand, there is a circus and a theater where the same monkeys are chained and perform tricks under the supervision of trainers.
The difference in our mentalities is enormous. But I cannot but admire Chinese optimism and the ability to enjoy life. Grandmothers doing gymnastics in the evenings in the parking lot of the bus station, kids with huge plates of rice noodles for breakfast and entire families who together built sandcastles from morning to evening on the beach. A girl broadcasting live and singing beautiful Chinese songs in the middle of the day by the sea….People don’t care what others think. They simply enjoy life.
I just got home, but I already began to miss this amazing and multifaceted country.
Thank you, China, for the emotions and see you again 💜