China, forever new adventures

By Bogdan-Ioan, RO

China Unlimited Europe 2015During this eventful trip to the heart of China, my soul attained a paramount contentment. Many adventurous people’s burning desire is to experience insights of civilizations totally different from their own. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to grant myself one of my most daring wishes at such a young age (19), back in 2014.

I owe everything to the Confucius Institute, the main educational organization whose purpose is to promote the Mandarin language and Chinese customs worldwide. Each summer, at least in Romania, it organizes 2-week long trips to China for its students. You only pay for the plane tickets while everything else (meals, accommodation, bus transport, entrance fees etc.) is covered by the Institute.

The day of departure was the 7th of July, when we embarked on a tiring journey which consisted of a long bus drive from the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca to the Ferenc Liszt Airport in Budapest, from there a 2-hour flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and finally the 11-hour “interminable” flight to the Pu Dong Airport in Shanghai.

In Shanghai, we were accommodated at the Vista hotel, enjoying a 4-star luxury, and spent two days visiting the main attractions, following a tight schedule. The city would impress with its hundreds of skyscrappers, casting a shadow over any major western metropolis. At night, the light bulbs unfolded all over presented a beauty out of this world, thus confirming the status of a modern 21st-century city. The attractions we explored were the Bund, the Pudong district, the Oriental Pearl tower, the Yu Garden and a museum in the central area.

What took everyone by surprise was that the Chinese people looked at us with a lot of curiosity and many even wanted to take pictures with us. The funniest memory was with a middle-aged man who asked me to appear in a photo along with his wife.

Whenever we went to a Chinese restaurant, we were expected to eat using chopsticks. Everyone got used to them pretty fast and even for a while after coming back to Romania, I personally felt the need to ditch the cutlery.

After having stayed in Shanghai for two days, we went to Hangzhou by bus on a 2-hour voyage. On the way, we could clearly observe the true extent of Shanghai. It seemed like it was infinite in space.

And like in all China, most buildings around us were modern, raised in the last 20-30 years. Throughout the whole trip, I had seen hundreds of colossal structures being constructed everywhere, day and night. There is no other country in the world where cities develop at such a spectacular speed.

Having arrived in Hangzhou, we were taken to the Zhejiang Institute of Science and Technology, where we were greeted by several student volunteer guides. We unpacked in the bedrooms of the college built in the 1980s, whose large campus had numerous neat multi-story buildings, a pretty large stadium with a football field and a running track, a canteen, a marvelous stream which passes through its center and flows into an alluring lake, a wooden tea house with a superb view and many others.

A curious thing would be regarding the exotic animals that would sneak inside the campus, which is placed on the outskirts, near a jungle! I saw several centipedes passing through and once I even accidentally stepped on a snake while walking near the river at night, when I mistook it for a broken tree branch. Only by jumping after hearing the snake hissing prevented me from getting bitten.

In Hangzhou, we had spent most of our trip time, around 8 days, during which we took several Mandarin language classes, practiced painting, seal-cutting, tai chi, visited the main city sights and attended an extraordinary theatrical performance. We had been to the West Lake, the Lingyin Temple and the Tea Museum but what left a deep impression on me was what I witnessed at the Song Dynasty park, which gave you the impression you had time leaped backwards, everything being very traditional.

And the theater play was the greatest I had ever seen. It was divided into multiple acts: one displayed a synchronized dance of attractive women , another one showed a realistic historical battle with loud explosions and exquisite choreography and another presented the majestic interior of an ancient imperial palace. The actors appeared from everywhere in the huge hall (the ceiling, the walls, the floor … especially during the fighting sequences) and there were even real horses brought on the stage. At one point, water drops poured from the ceiling on the thousands of people in the immense audience, including myself.

When we finished our business in Hangzhou, we embarked on the train to Beijing. The ride had lasted for 13 hours. Starring outside, you could rarely spot any vast portions of emptiness so you never knew if you had actually left a certain city or you were still within its area. There were skyscrappers rising even in places which did not appear urbanized so the contrast with the surroundings was pretty strong.

After we arrived in Beijing, we rushed to visit the iconic objectives there as we only had a two-day short stay: the Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. We were very lucky. We all had expected the infamous smog, a clear drawback of China’s recent rapid development. But the atmosphere was actually clear, so the visibility was adequate to take appealing photos. Beijing doesn’t have as many cool tall buildings as Shanghai but its streets are wider and seemed cleaner.

We slept at the opulent Radisson Blu hotel, practically mirroring the initial chapter of Shanghai.

The next morning, we would go set foot on the renowned Great Wall then come back and prepare, with sorrow, for the journey back home, but pleased of everything we had been through.

I hope to return to China again soon as I know what amazing experiences still await me there.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief welcomes power-sharing deal between Sudanese military and opposition

Four revolutionary technologies that are now obsolete

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

Young people all over the world come together to demand paid good quality internships

Migrants and refugees face higher risk of developing ill-health, says UN report on displaced people in Europe

Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

SMEs are driving job growth, but need higher investment in skills, innovation and tech to boost wages and productivity

‘Still time’ to stop a ‘bloody battle’ for Libya’s capital, insists Guterres

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: A European patent system can help European businesses lead industrial research and innovation on a global scale

Why CEOs need to become activists in sustainability

Commission launches new edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2019

Human rights breaches in Hong Kong, Russia and at the US-Mexican border

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

MEPs strengthen EU financial watchdogs

Nearly 900 children released by north-east Nigeria armed group

You might soon be travelling without a passport – this is how

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

GSMA Mobile 360: Connecting Cities, Connecting Lives, Connecting Europe

New York City has a plan to fight fast fashion waste. Here’s how it works

5 droughts that changed human history

Second Facebook-Cambridge Analytica hearing: impact on privacy, voting and trust

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Working together to end the AIDS-HIV pandemic

Korea should improve the quality of employment for older workers

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cows, coffee and sustainable farming

Why impoverishment and social exclusion grow in the EU; the affluent north also suffers

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

Brexit: PM May must hush Boris Johnson to unlock the negotiations

Genocide threat for Myanmar’s Rohingya greater than ever, investigators warn Human Rights Council

Don’t dismiss start-ups founded by millennials. This is how they succeed

#UNGA NEWS ROUNDUP: Funding plea for UNRWA, Burkina Faso and CAR updates, Guterres praises climate change ‘pioneer’ Chirac

‘Dire consequences’ for a million children in the Middle East, North Africa, as funding dwindles

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

The time for cities to get smart is now

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

ITU Telecom World 2017: exploring smart digital transformation

Only the Americans are unhappy with the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine

This is where teachers are paid the most

5 ways to be a better humanitarian

EU-US trade agreement talks to be affected by American bugs

3 lessons from running an AI-powered start-up in Africa

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

What just happened? 5 themes from the COP24 climate talks in Poland

EU budget 2019 approved: focus on the young, innovation and migration

The European Commission and EU consumer authorities publish final assessment of dialogue with Volkswagen

Amazon indigenous groups want to create a nature sanctuary the size of Mexico

Palm Oil: With Malaysia cracking down on production, what’s the alternative?

Anti-vaccers: does the empty can rattle the most?

Finnish Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

In Japan, if you’re 76 you’re biologically 65

Afghanistan: UN condemns blasts that leave 8 dead at cricket stadium

Digital Single Market: Cheaper calls to other EU countries as of 15 May

More than one million sexually transmitted infections occur every day: WHO

How ducks are helping Bangladeshi farmers cope with cyclones

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

Why the euro may rise with the dollar even at lower interest rates

Half the population of Yemen at risk of famine: UN emergency relief chief

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s