Jörg RothermelThursday October 18th, 2012
Since I myself am now also an immigrant, I made myself knowledgeable on the subject.
For information about Australia as an immigration country, you might wish to start with the Victorian Immigration Museum. Up until the 1960ies, the government encouraged Australian citizens to talk to friends or relatives in Europe about immigrating to Australia.
Without the immigration waves between the 19th and the middle of the 20th centuries, the conquest of this huge country would not have been possible. (It is a separate story how the rich Aborigine culture was almost totally destroyed in the process).
By now, much has changed. To be sure, in absolute numbers, Australians with origins in Europe and the USA are still the majority. But immigration from India and, above all, China, increases considerably.
A few days ago, there was a long article in the local newspaper „The Age“, announcing that apartments in a new building in the district of Glen Waverly were open for inspection on the weekend (that is standard procedure if someone wants to sell or rent out property: a certain day for inspection of the objects is set, and then they are sold according to the principle „first come first serve“). For the agent, it came as a total surprise that the interested parties were almost exclusively Chinese. Some of them were actually prepared to pay up to 40,000 $ above the asked price for a certain apartment. The fact that 16 apartments were sold for a total of 40 million dollars on that day shows how solvent the interested parties were.
By now, the ratio of Australians with Chinese origins (who have a permanent permit to stay) in those 15 districts of Melbourne where Chinese like to live is between 27% and 16%. According to a survey, these districts are chosen because they have good schools, good public transport and an active Chinese community. For the Melbournians of Caucasian descent, this situation is a challenge, because they witness how – right under their noses and quite obviously for everybody – Melbourne is changing. Unfortunately, it also causes numerous racist escapades.
The name of the first Chinese school in Melbourne is quite remarkable: „Xin Jin Shan Chinese Language and Culture School“. Xin Jin Shan roughly translates into ”New Golden Mountain“. Incidentally, that is the name the Chinese gave the Australian gold mines in 1850 to distinguish them from the Californian gold mines that were running dry at the time. Those were called Jiu Jin Shan (”Old Golden Mountain“).
Mind you, today the majority of modern Chinese who immigrate to Australia are no longer looking for their one chance in life; they are already a success and wish to secure and maintain their prosperity.
Here is a totally different issue: to be sure, we live quite nicely in the outskirts of Melbourne at Williamstown, but downtown Melbourne (also known as CBD “Central Business District”) has an inimitable flair. In fact, it can even hold a torch to Paris.
Traffic is more or less what you would expect to find in a city with 4.5 million car enthusiastic citizens. Even a reasonable public transportation system, along with the fact that one hour parking at the garage is 16 $ and a parking ticket costs a minimum of 180 $ do not seem to make any difference. In between the densely packed cars, you will frequently find bike couriers maneuvering their way through the traffic. They must either have finished all they ever wanted from life and are thus ready to die, or else are practicing for the next Tour-de-France.
Information for all car drivers: in the city centre, you will find so-called Safety Zones where you will have to use the left (!) lane if you want to turn right – it is the notorious Melbourne ”hook-turn“. It is supposed to make it possible for those on the right lane to go ahead unimpeded; however, it will only work if the first driver who wishes to make a turn starts in Formel-1 fashion; if he fails to do that, there will be an ear-splitting signal-horn concert, because, naturally, nobody behind him wants to remain sitting in the middle of the crossing.
Many houses in the city centre were built in the middle of the 19th century, when Melbourne was the world’s richest city. Of course, this was due to the gold rush – at the time, around 1/3 of all the world’s gold was mined in Australia, with the most yielding gold fields in Victoria, not far from Melbourne. To this day, this prosperity is obvious if you look at all those noble bourgeois and business houses.
The special flair of the city centre is also due to the arcades and lanes, the creative (sometimes also endearingly scurrilous) shops and the thousands of bars, coffee shops and restaurants. The most beautiful and elaborately decorated one of them is the Royal Arcade.
The Royal Arcade is guarded by the biblical giants Gog and Magog.
Apparently, some of the arcades in a side lane simply came into being because the owners of the restaurants and bars joined forces and had some protection against rain spun over the street; all you need after that is a few chairs and (in winter) an electric heater and the place will quickly be so crowded at lunch and in the early evening hours that you can no longer pass.
The place is particularly full on Fridays after 4.30 p.m. – because that is when almost all employees working in the CBD offices go to the pub for a pre-weekend drink. Now, in spring, you can hear street musicians playing at almost all corners. To me, it seems that the quality of the music is considerably better than, for instance, in Munich. In Australia, Blues and Country are particularly popular.
Chocolatiers and candies shops are currently very much loved in Melbourne. In fact, the Melbournian love of sweets sometimes borders on the bizarre. For instance, there is an Italian restaurant in Carlton where you can get “Chocolate Pizza“.
In the CBD, there are excellent restaurants serving Mediterranean cuisine (Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Moroccan,…). Melbournians are enthusiastic about European cuisine – if you want to eat out for dinner, you have to make a reservation no matter where you are going.
For the critical immigrant from Munich, it remains to be noted that the price-performance ratio cannot always come up to Munch standards. To make up for it, many restaurants and bars have the sitting-room atmosphere of first-class English pubs.
I will be back with my next report – No Worries
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSunday September 23rd, 2012
I am currently sitting at Peking airport waiting for LH 723 to Muc – and I am mentally re-viewing our Chinese journey. We had two intense weeks during which we accumulated great and impressive adventures in four installments.
Part 1 – Peking
We saw the “Place of Heavenly Freedom”, the “Forbidden City” and the imperial “Summer Palace”. And, of course, we set particular store on the “Chinese Wall”, where we hiked a special route with many, many metres of altitude. And, of course, we also had to “experience Peking” and “Chinese Life”. The first hotpot. The night market, the fake shops. All the hustle and bustle. Chinese constriction.
We often hiked and also took the metro several times. But still, in all my life I never went anywhere near as often by taxi in sum as I did during this one stay in Peking. In addition, we also rode (bike) rickshaw and at one time enjoyed a nice pedal boat outing on the summer palace lake.
Part 2 – Yanghsou
After a rather lengthy flight with China Air, we arrived at Builin. We went on to Yangshou by taxi. Our accommodation there was in the Yangshou Mountain Resort – it is a small vacation hotel directly on the river Li. This part of the trip was meant as a recuperation time after Peking and for the coming wedding.
The highlights of this stay were the two river trips. We glided on the Yulong in a motor boat and on the river Li in a small rafter. We experienced a monumental light show and often strolled through the ”night life“ of the tourist place Yangshou.
Several tourist attractions were within biking distance from our hotel. We climbed the Moon Mountain and other local specialties (big stone, big tree…). And, as always, we went to plenty of places by taxi.…
Part 3 – Wuhan
We flew Eastern Airlines from Builin to Wulan, where we stayed at the “Howard Johnson”, directly on the Jangtsekiang. After having recuperated near the nice river Li, now the time for the “wedding” had come: we acclimatized to Wulan, meet the future in-laws of my son and gave them their presents.
We spent a day rehearsing the ceremony and the next day was totally dedicated to the event itself. In between, there was a boat trip on the “long river” at night.
Besides, we enjoyed a wonderful visit of the Wuhan museum and a historic musical event that was just as beautiful, a hiking trip around both a small and a large lake and a boat trip. We climbed a mountain (again many steps) with a pagoda on top and were lucky enough to listen to another very beautiful concert on historical instruments.
;-( And, of course, again, there were many taxi trips.
Part 4 – “Road Movie” back to Peking via Hangzhou and Shanghai
After the wedding, there was one day left for “good-byes”. Then, the late-night flight of Xianmen Airlines took us to Hangzhou. At two o’clock in the morning (due to a significant flight delay), we were brought to the “Four Points” (another Sheraton hotel).
We had “public bikes“ for our wonderful tea field inspection and the tour around the lake. In the evening, we changed hotels, ending up at the ” Sheration Wetland Park Resort”. And on the next day, we visited Wetland Park with its museum. Again, there was a lengthy boat trip with many short intervals and diverse hiking tours.
Finally, we went to Shanghai by train, where we stayed at the Le Royal Méridien Shanghai right in the city centre. So the conclusion of our trip happened in a suite on the 52th floor.
On that Saturday, we let our hair hang down in Shanghai. It was another intense day with many impressions. In the evening, at 9.16 p.m., we boarded the night train to Peking-South. On the train, we celebrated the Haching soccer victory. The train took less than 12 hours for the 1,300 kilometres to Peking. Mind you, this is the slow alternative. The fast train covers the entire distance in five hours. And then we went to the airport (again by taxi – a little more than an hour) – and fifteen minutes later, it was boarding time…
It was great. We had very warm, even sup-tropical days. All the hotels very excellent. We always ate Chinese, with the exception of once: Korean. With few exceptions, we found both the proper meals and the snacks quite delicious. Mostly, the internet and mail connections were fine, whereas the VPN client (for FB, twitter and google+) hardly ever worked.
On the whole, it was a strenuous, but still very enjoyable and leisurely journey.
Here is my recommendation: Imitate us!
(Translated by EG)
Handkerchiefs will be brought to your table in classy wrappings. After your meal, the table will look like a battlefield. All waste is simply left where it falls. And since in China, many dishes are served ”complete“, for instance the chicken with its head and claws or the entire fish, you can easily imagine what is left after the meal.
Alcohol is also one of those topics. They have the well-loved (and dangerous) “Chinese Wine”. Except it is not wine. It is high-strength schnapps. It is drunk out of not really small glasses and contributes mightily.
I have seldom again and again met people as drunk as here in China in a German business hotel (except maybe at Oktoberfest time). The (sober) Chinese, for instance in the lift, however, always react quite tactfully: they look at each other in a humorous, rather than worried or anxious, way and unobtrusively smile about the alcohol victims.
What I do not like very much is the smog. Almost all the time, it spreads inversely over the cities and also the surrounding countryside. And if you see all those gigantic skyscrapers, streets, railway stations and industrial buildings, you can easily imagine how this country thirsts for electric energy.
In China, a considerable part of the electric energy is produced with coal, probably mostly brown coal. I heard that currently a new big coal power station starts producing for the electric network each day. If you also take all those cars and trucks into consideration, you will no longer be surprised at me telling you that I only ever once saw the sun in its usual splendour in China.
All places are overflowing with people. Life happens in public. They sit, eat, talk, play, do gymnastics. In parks or pedestrians‘ zones, the people dance in small groups to the music they brought in their miniature audio devices, or else in larger groups to the music provided by all those loudspeakers.
And people often stand at attention in China. All kinds of groups, both military and civilian, frequently stand at attention for saluting. It might be the night shift of a restaurant when they are sworn to their duties or the service persons in a museum.
When on an outing, older people follow their leader beautifully in rows of two, if the group is large even in rows of four. Mind you, we are talking a precision that no German Kindergarten could nowadays manage.
At all times, everything seems to be moving. It is like a huge, non-stop human flow that seems to be drowning in the big chaos.
Well, that is it on my impressions. I could write a lot more about specialties, but I decided to let this suffice.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSaturday September 22nd, 2012
I am now staying at the Shanghai Le Royal Méridien Shanghai in 789 Nanjing Road East. We have a wonderful suite of rooms. This is probably the most beautiful hotel of our entire trip. So here is another view from our hotel suite, where the windows are the whole length to the floor.
Some way or other, the adventures of the last two weeks are more than I seem to be able to grasp. If in the 1960ies, when Mao reigned, or during the China of the Cultural Revolution, someone had told me how China will function today – and how in many respects it even has surpassed the USA – I would have called him crazy.
Still, my road movie continues. After having arrived in Shanghai today, we will go and see a bit of the city tomorrow. In the evening, we will take the night train to Peking shortly before 10 p.m. From there, we will go back to Munich on Sunday.
So here are some more of the things that I particularly noticed in China during my stay:
Initially, I was surprised about how all of a sudden the banging started. We kept hearing it again and again, especially in the big and better districts of Chinese cities. Then I noticed it is nothing to worry about. It is only private firework displays. You get them at all times: in the morning, at noon, in the evening and even at midnight.
Of course, fireworks are forbidden during the year. But then, a firework is good for celebrating all kinds of special occasions – the arrival of new babies, birthdays, anniversaries, even the death of a family member. And, naturally, both the neighbours and the police will turn a blind eye.
I also found the noises we heard in the hotel at night quite remarkable – they had a volume that would be unimaginable in Germany. But that, too, annoys nobody. The same is true for the helicopter flying close to the hotel at night.
It seems that in China prohibitions in general are not taken very seriously. Of course, in the best hotels there is always a poster stuck to the walls of the lift that says ”no smoking“. Regardless, you will see a passenger with a lit cigarette in his or her hand at an average of every third way up or down.
You will also feel it on the streets. Every available metre of space is contested.
During our last trip from the Sheraton Wetland Park Resort in Hangzhou to the railway station, I memorized the data. To be sure, I was not able to count the number of times our vehicle changed lanes. One of those agile taxi drivers will change lanes fifty times in one kilometer. Neither was I able to count the instances of speeding or violation of other traffic rules.
I am sure the nap during each red traffic light phase (in China they can take surprisingly long) was not according to the rules, either. To me, it seemed that the driver had already had a long day.
But I remember the facts from the taximeter. We rode a little less than 13 kilometres, which took a little less than 55 minutes. Almost 30 minutes of this time, the taxi was idle. That is what you have to expect in China. First, they speed, and then all the time you gained is lost in the traffic jam.
The train to Shanghai was also quite fast. On the speedometer, it often says around 300. And then we arrive and what happens: we have to wait in the taxi queue for almost as long as the entire way from Hangzhou to Shanghai had taken.
But let us get back to the traffic rules and regulations. They do not take traffic lights very seriously. If they make a turn at a crossroads with traffic light, they run right through the pedestrians who want to cross. The motto is: “save yourself if you can“. Instead of a right of way, you have “first come (and better nerves), first serve“. If you are in a car, you will meet cars from the opposite direction on all lanes. Then the big wheelbarrow someone is pushing will fight its own way through the middle of all these cars on a street which is, for instance, forbidden for cyclists.
It is similar with the waste. You will find signs telling you not to litter all over the place. And industrious employees are constantly collecting the waste with their shovels and brooms. And wherever you look there are people who take pains providing the scenery with waste, be it on foot or from their car windows.
Now I will call this a day, because I want to be rested and fit tomorrow. Still, there are more specialties I have to tell you about. However, there is one thing I already know: bidding China farewell will hurt!
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreFriday September 21st, 2012
After the wonderful wedding on Tuesday, we said good-bye to the Chinese family of our “new” daughter-in-law. Now there are four of us travelling China (the newly-weds, Barbara and yours truly). Today is Friday, we are staying at the Hangzhou Sheraton Wetland Park Resort – which, incidentally, is an excellent hotel – and I feel a little like I am starring in an American Road Movie. Except that it is played out in China. But what I see might just as well be happening in the USA.
If only there were not a few specialties that do not at all fit into the “American-European Culture”. Let me just write some unstructured and, hopefully, non-judgmental comments:
It is not just the gas masks you find in every hotel. More often than not, I feel like in Israel. Except that I have no idea what enemy might be capable of threatening this huge and powerful China. It cannot be Japan, even if, currently, this neighbour is not very much appreciated.
The speed with which they celebrate and also live in general seems to be a little faster in China than in our cultural circle. For example, even at our wedding, the rather elaborate installation was de-installed immediately after the ceremony.
The wonderful wedding meal, too, was eaten at surprising speed. I am almost tempted to say it was gulped down. Mind you, the ceremony was very intense and impressive.
For a Bavarian wedding, you could never imagine it being over after such a short time.
Work is highly dynamic. As I perceive it, EVERYTHING here happens at a racy speed. Finishing quickly is all that counts.
I often ask myself if the same is true for sex in this country? The people work long and hard. Often they have two jobs. To be sure, everything is not (yet) quite as efficient as at home, but most of the Chinese who helped us on our trip have a remarkable ability to imagine what we might need. This is totally different from what I am used to, for instance, from Southern Europe or Africa.
And wherever you go, there is always a little “Bollywood” – although we all know this did not originate in China. In every show, every event, every hotel, every museum. The enterprises, too, celebrate their events for increasing their employees’ motivation very “emotionally”. You always get a great “Show”.
The sound of a monumental hymn is not restricted to after you went somewhere by ship. Federal authorities and police are so omnipresent, you might feel tempted to call them “operetta-like”. But with monumental theatre. For me, it is always quite impressive how their constant presence in many cities is apparent. After all, the vehicles are always different and often surprisingly dissimilar.
But there are other exciting differences, as well. For example with the toilets. In Chinese English, they are always called “washroom”. In the top hotels, you will not notice any difference between China and Europe.
In general, you often come across a “Pit-Latrine” in China. Well, I am fine with this. It might perhaps make it necessary for us to practice a little more physical discipline than our “sit-down toilet”. But – thank you very much – I can still manage.
The story gets interesting with the urinal. There is always plenty of wetness in front of those. Mostly you actually find quite a puddle. Even the written recommendation you often find to, please, for reasons of hygiene, come closer to the urinal, does not really help.
Basically, you only have two options: either you piss from afar, or else you do a very broad splits. Otherwise you will end up with disagreeably wet feet.
I decided in favour of the second option. …
Incidentally, you will find ashtrays on all toilets, even though smoking is prohibited at many places. This is also true for many toilets. Except that nobody cares! But I will tell the story of prohibitions and how they affect life in my next article. Along with other “specialties”.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreThursday September 20th, 2012
I was just standing around not thinking of anything in particular…
In Yangshuo, I happened to stand all by myself on a central place for five minutes. Life goes on all around me. Visitors and vendors are aplenty. There is nothing you cannot buy. Many things look quite fascinating, even if they are stupid. I stand there looking a little abandoned, waiting for the rest of our group. All the time, people offer me all kinds of products.
And suddenly, a lady appears and asks me: “Do you want a baby?. I am a little confused and do not immediately understand what she means. As often in life. My first assumption is that she suggests I should adopt a child. But I already have seven and am too old for this kind of thing. I shake my head, and at the same moment it dawns on me what she must have meant. And she is already very disappointed when she asks me: “No Sex?” and continues on her way.
I remember that, while I was preparing for the trip, I read that prostitution is prohibited in China and the punishment is severe. Consequently, I am a little surprised – and I have to do a lot of thinking.
Back at the hotel, I open my English Wikipedia and look up prostitution in China.
It says that my information was (partly) correct. I China, prostitution is illegal and prohibited. But the number of prostitutes is estimated at more than four million. The government knows it quite well and came up with seven categories for the prostitutes. Prostitution is tolerated by turning a blind eye and in some places rather appreciated as an economical factor. In some regions, it is actually promoted in a strange mixture of administration and corruption. Regardless, there are some instances where there is a punishment on prostitution – sometimes even a severe punishment. I also read that the Chinese men prefer blond Russians and that, after Russia was opened, many Russian ladies came to China in order to do the job.
Well, here it is again, the world-wide hypocrisy. Perhaps it is even stronger here than at home. In a way, it seems to me that prostitution is a good example for the paradigm of many principles I meet with in this country. But I do not mean this in a negative sense! Things are as they are.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreWednesday September 19th, 2012
About the raftsman who would like to have a lunch break.
There are three of us going down the river Yulong on two rafters. We pass our hotel on our way towards the destination. Shortly after this, our rafter stops at a floating snack platform. He fastens the rafter and jumps over.
A lady from Malaysia who is also on vacation is already sitting there and doing the translation for us. The raftsman would like to have a short lunch break. Do we mind? We are assured the journey will soon continue.
We are on vacation, so there is plenty of time. Of course, we agree. We drink a glass of beer while he eats his fish. As always, we are treated in the most friendly way.
It seems that the raftsman and the snack saleslady know each other quite well. The food on this floating island looks delicious. They advise us to buy some fish.
Regardless of the fact that we know quite well how, in places like these, beer is extremely expensive, rather like at the Munich Marienplatz.
Then we continue. I want to pay for the beer. As expected, it is rather expensive. I nod my head without bargaining and get my purse.
I refuse. And I seem to get my way. The raftsman gets on the rafter with us and we continue on our journey. And apparently, the raftsman never paid for his snack.
My insistence not to pay, however, does not make the slightest difference with his friendliness. After all, this is just him not making even more profit. All you can do is try, isn’t it?
I could relate quite a few similar stories to you.
Incidentally, my totally harmless rafting trip was illegal. It was not permitted for children under six and adults over the age of 60. A poster announcing this rule – like many others – is posted quite prominently. Yet nobody seems to care – which is also true for other rules, such as you have to wear safety belts, you may not carry a camera or electronic device… – these rules are simply ignored.
Roland DürreTuesday September 18th, 2012
Today, there is only a very short report and three pictures.
After all, if time is as scarce as now, a weblog author might well run out of steam.
We say good-bye to the Yangshuo Mountain Restaurant. It was a nice place to stay. We spent four agreeable nights and three wonderful days in this sustainably and ecologically run hotel directly on the river Yulong.
On this picture, you see the “small” Builin airport. Our next stop is Wulan. By Chinese standards, it is close: around one hour’s flight.
And as usual, the first view is out of the hotel window – here looking east (?).
And here looking west …
Yes, this is Wulan.
To make up for it, we had some really nice adventures. We were lucky enough to meet our new Chinese in-laws. We also got very complicated instructions for the marriage ceremony and, again, ate deliciously several times.
And late on Monday evening, after having spontaneously decided to go and discover something new, we spent 90 minutes on the Jangtsekiang.
This showed us a totally different side of Wuhan – the fascinating light display of the colourful skyline with its huge bridges spanning the long river (長江 / 长江) and the river Han (漢江 / 汉江).
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSunday September 16th, 2012
Our journey continues – today in the afternoon, we go to Yuhan. Looking upon what I experienced so far, I realize that I am still a little at a loss about China.
In modern China, it seems that tradition mutated into nostalgia. High-tech and antiquity live side by side. I have not yet been able to get a clear idea about which “values” are currently accepted and lived in China. Also, I have not really noticed any “ethical behavioral considerations” when people interacted.
What I experience is a balancing act between unlimited freedom and total administration. The people actually seem to do what they want. But still it seems that there are huge and sincere restrictions. And wherever you go, the police is very visible. They certainly have a very watchful eye on things and see to it that nothing untoward happens.
I do not perceive any sort of traumatization among the people due to the Cultural Revolution or because of individual restrictions such as the on-child-family. In fact, to me the people look full of harmony and very content. It seems like this is true both for their personal circumstances and the current political and administrative system.
In China, however, the motto seems to be: “Money Talks“. Mind you, this attitude seems to be extremely exclusive. Corruption seems to be a matter of course. Without any hypocrisy as I experience it at home.
It is quite simple: if you want something, you must be prepared to pay well for it. Perhaps this is a new form of ethically correct corruption?
Money is where they particularly like to cheat you. They try it all the time, but they will not be angry if they fail. Some way or other, it seems like “selling things for more than their value” belongs to the entire system.
Consequently, what I experience is a total clash of “doing what you like to do” with a highly restrictive collective shared society. For us relatively prosperous guests, this means a mixture of high quality of living and a profound “feeling of well-being”.
In a world where most Chinese, too, are basically content and happy.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSaturday September 15th, 2012
Today, we are into “laziness”.
The mountain got its name because its peak cut-out looks a little like the sickle of the moon. It is rather huge – and very impressive.
Afterwards, we ride a little through the land on our bikes – just enjoying the scenery. The YULONG rafters are beckoning. The YULONG is the river you can see right next to our hotel at the Yangshuo Resort.
Our room has a view of the river. And whenever we look out of the window, for instance when taking a meal on the hotel patio near the beach, we see the boats passing. The raftsmen are pushing them with long bamboo poles.
A little upriver, there is one of those stations where the rafters start. We go there by bike. We have to buy tickets for boarding the rafters. As always, you have to bargain in order to get the price that is officially considered appropriate.
The bikes can be carried at the rear end of the rafter (for the price of two seats). We go downhill for one hour, passing the hotel. Afterwards, we ride our bikes back to the hotel and have a (late) lunch.
In the afternoon, we are really lazy. At night, we go to see a musical theatre with “light show”. They play a historical story, allegedly it is very trashy and sentimental.
They say a few hundred people are on stage. And there will be perhaps around four thousand spectators. It is an impressive theatre on the river. With many boats and ships, surprising effects, beautiful music, great choirs, ballet and impressive mass scenes.
It is a little like Oberammegau on the river. Not quite as long and not quite as bloody, but even more monumental. With illuminated mountains. I am sure it is quite spectacular for tourists. But since we are here already, we definitely have to go and see it!
Here you can see out hotel at the Yangshuo Resort
When buying those tickets, you also have to bargain. Initially tickets are offered for around 300 RBM, but finally you pay 200 RBM - including the shuttle transport to the huge open-air stage on the water.
And it was really worth it – this was a wonderfully emotional finish to our short stay at Yangshuo.
Now we also learned why the region with its several thousand (8,000?) cone-shaped mountains is so beautiful in a bizarre way. We are actually at the bottom of the sea! The ocean changed the landscape. And then it withdrew and left behind this flat landscape with its rivers and mountains in such strange shapes.
Our first week in China is over. Here are some short impressions:
China is huge and has many faces. Economically, they are moving up, consumption has become an important value. To me, current China looks a little like the FRG looked after WW-II, during the economic miracle time.
Although most Chinese seem to be well off as far as food is concerned, they remained slim. I find that rather remarkable in modern times. The few obese persons I saw are the exception to the rule and those few who have a belly to show do so with pleasure. If the weather is hot, the t-shirt will often be pushed up. Then you can see the rounded stomach between the trousers and t-shirt. I, too, tried it. It is great fun.
In China, you say hello with Ni Hau, that means “you well?“. This is easy for me to remember: do not beat me in German sounds like Ni Hau… No problem phonetically!
(Translated by EG)