Tea, heritage of China

gfcelebration.com

gfcelebration.com

A little history

The tea is, no doubt, the most important immaterial and cultural heritage of this giant nation, and along time has only gaining force on its concept. It is the chinese drinking for excellence, enjoyed daily, no matter where nor when. Every office and work place has its own water heating stuff.
It’s always offered during business meetings (with a lid on it to prevent the water from loosing heating), by its cultural importance. On these occasions, the tea service is executed on a theatrical way, following the imperial traditions, and with extreme synchronicity. Due to that, the chinese tea ceremony (Kung Fu Cha) has become a reference when it comes to tradition and savoir-faire.

acessj.com

acessj.com

impressivemagazine.com

impressivemagazine.com

aqualexcgange.coop

aqualexcgange.coop

The “invention” of tea is attributed to emperor Shennong, that 5 thousand years ago had drink accidentally an infusion, when a leaf of tea has fallen inside its cup of hot water. During centuries, it was treated as a medicinal drink and offered in religious rituals.
Its consumption had become popular from the third century on, and during the Tang dynasty, was already one of the 7 essencial elements that a house of that period should have, together with fire, rice, salt, oil, soya sauce and vinegar.
It immediately became the official drink of the erudite imperial elite. The first treaty written about its cultivation, processing and consumption dates from the year of 760, signed by Lu Yu, called “Cha Jing- The classic of tea”.
It was taken to Japan by budist monks, where had been developed a very elaborate ceremony for tea tasting as well. It then got spread all over the east asian coast, and finally reached England- where it became popular as a royal national drink.
Nowadays, more than 3 billion cups of tea are consumed each day worldwide. India is the country with the biggest consumption (25,63%), closely followed by China (25%). Kenia, Sri Lanka (former Ceylon) and Turkish also have very expressive numbers on the tea consumption.
Black tea is the most enjoyed, with the huge piece of 82% of the preference, followed by green tea, with 17%. White tea and oolong tea share the preference with 0,5% each.
In China, the etiquette rules say that you should show your gratitude for being invited for this ceremonies, by tapping your index and medium finger together on the table twice, before tasting the tea.

freysmiles.com

freysmiles.com

Varieties of tea

The teas are originated, on its most, from one plant, Camellia Sinensis, that produces the varieties of black, green, oolong and white tea. What distinguishes them is the process of oxidation/fermentation used on the leaves. In general, teabags are produced with low quality leaves, and machine processing. The high quality leaves are processed manually, and are intended for connoisseurs/loose tea stores.

Camellia Sinensis plantation in Ceylon (ceyloblacktea.com)

Camellia Sinensis plantation in Ceylon (ceyloblacktea.com)

Let’s check which are the most interesting and appreciated in China:
Black tea(also called red tea here): stronger tea, with more caffeine. The most famous are the indians Darjeeling, Ceylon and Assam, and the chinese Keemun.
Green tea: highly consumed by its antioxidant properties, goes though a fast oxidation on the leaves, and keeps the natural characteristics of the Camellia Sinensis, such as color and intense flavour.
Oolong tea (known as greenish blue tea in China): oxidation between the black and green, dense tea with a remarkable taste, most likely to reveal sweet notes in the end.
White tea: originated from very young leaves, button shaped ones, that hasn’t suffered the action of oxidation or chlorophyll yet. Delicate flavour, offers even more antioxidants than the green tea.
Earl Grey tea: given name to any kind of tea that is aromatised with bergamot oil, but the most commonly used is the black tea. Its first recipe in commercial scale was produced by the traditional british brand Twinings (this one carries notes of the precious Lapsang Souchong, see above).
Pu-ehr tea: the most appreciated tea in China, it’s even catalogued during its production, receiving a wine status. We talk about a double fermentation and ageing tea, even reaching more than 50 years old! It is the tea of the tradicional chinese tea ceremony. Usually found in blocks (thick press of tea).
Yellow te (also known as Chong Cha): high quality tea, it was the imperial court tea. Obtained through a very slow drying of the leaves, that rest until getting yellow. Highly appreciated in China, and very used in tradicional chinese medicine to deal with body heating and cold symptoms.
Lapsang Sauchong tea (Fujian province): smoked black tea, dried with pine fire. Considered particularly rare, because its production is really small. Very appreciated in China and the rest of the world as well.

wisegeek.com

wisegeek.com

The teas produced outside China use origin region as name: Ceylon, Assam, Darjeeling, just like “D.O.C.” on wines.
“Aromatic” curiosity: jasmine tea is made by landing jasmine flowers above the tea leaves ready for the oxidation process; what offers this tasty tea the remarkable scent of the flower! By the way, in China, is very common to aromatise infusions by adding rose petals, scented dry flowers and more else to the tea pot.

complexitea.net

complexitea.net

The ceremony of tea

The importance of tea is celebrated during this ceremonies, evoking the spirit of peace, respect, harmony and purity. They were even part of the funeral rituals of the former emperors and their families.
At first, it was called “cha dao”, or “tea form”. There are six aspects to consider when performing one of this ceremonies:
– attitude, that must inspire confidence and happiness, calm and relaxation;
– selection of tea, that must be fragrant, have form and flavour, tell a beautiful story and have a “name”;
– selection of water, must be pure and crystalline, so it won’t influence on the flavour and scent of the infusion;
– selection of the pot, that must retain the heat, and must be chosen correctly considering the variety of tea. This recipient where the tea will doss must be previously scalded, besides having a simplicist beauty, to not distract one from the tasting;
– calm ambiance, comfortable, peaceful, with art work that evoke the atmosphere of pleasure of a true tasting;
– technique on serving, that must include knowledge about what’s being served, and mainly, grace and delicacy on the movements.

chinadaily.com.cn

chinadaily.com.cn

Some tips must be observed as well, like not shaking the pot when preparing the infusion, and water temperature, that must be boiling point for most of them. The most delicate teas, like Darjeeling and white, as well as the rarest ones, must receive a temperature between 80-85 celsius.
Aditives like honey, milk, sugar, lemon, fruit jam are well accepted. The milk can help reducing the tannic flavour of some stronger teas, and must be used in ambient temperature and few quantity. The connoisseurs say that we must add tea to the milk, and not the opposite- that way we obtain a better flavour emulsion, avoiding the over heating.

As we can notice, there is a whole world out there when talking about teas, a world of possibilities and infinite flavours. A world that evoke history, queens, emperors, royal courts, tradicional ceremonies of delicate beauty and tenderness, bringing back the golden era of chinese dynasties, with all its imposingness and opulence. As you can see, a simple cup of tea has the power of joining us all in similar feelings, bringing benefits for the body and soul. After all this, I will never face a cup of tea the same way again…try to explore and learn more about, go beyond the flavour, taste the knowledge! The opportunities are endless!! Good journey!

“There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Au revoir!

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The waste of food

Whoever has gone to a traditional chinese dinner/lunch, or even to regular restaurants here in China, must’ve asked themselves: “why such an amount of food?”. This is a phenomenon that really catches our attention, for walking in the opposite side of the current movement of sustainability with individual awareness.

Satire published at China Daily newspaper about the chinese habits on the table (chinadaily.com.cn)

Satire published at China Daily newspaper about the chinese habits on the table (chinadaily.com.cn)

Let’s go to data: the food waste in the world, if considered a country, would have the third place on the ranking list of the biggest generators of carbon dioxide, only behind China and USA.
Only in China, more than 82 million tons of grains are going to waste each year (that not considering the water and land used in the whole process), that is, 19% of the total production!
This amount could feed more than 200 million persons, almost 1/6 of China population! The most wastage is of fruits and veggies, corresponding to 20 to 30% of total production of the Country, followed by eggs(5-15%) and meat(3-15%). The population itself is responsible for 7% of the waste, and the restaurants for 3 times more! The rest of all this food waste is lost in all the stages involved until it gets to final consumer.

asiacomentada.com.br

asiacomentada.com.br

But the question about the final consumer is: is he aware of your responsibility on all this waste and its implications on the demand/production, and also on the future effects of it? I don’t think so.
The famous and controversial so called “emerging middle class” or “nouveau riches” of China, thinks that ordering abundant food is to attest their fortune and power. The more food, the more prosperous a person is. It’s all about status! And this habit is becoming very common, even on the real middle class, that has adhered to “let’s show money on the table”. Almost half of all the ordered food goes to waste, sometimes even untouched.

phys.org

phys.org

If there was the habit of taking away the leftover food of their order, maybe the problem wouldn’t be so huge. But that, unfortunately, is not a part of the chinese habits. In business meetings, they order enough plates to fill in completely the table, and as soon it ends, it’s immediately replaced with a full new one, but take-away? Not an option! They can’t “loose their faces” in front of the colleagues, a “to go” plate/lunch box or whatever, would be an inferiority credential…
This unfortunate habit of wanting to show themselves through meal has a very destructive impact for the rest of the world, together with all the waste already involved when it comes to food. If there was a more efficient and responsible consumption, we could have a beneficial and really productive impact on minimising the already known damage that gas emission causes on the atmosphere. Of course I don’t have the pretension to say that only the bad chinese habits on the table are responsible for all the global warming, I’m only saying that if everybody do the homework properly, we can start to walk together on the right direction!
But all is not lost! There is already an awareness of some reaturantes owners in Beijing and many other chinese cities, that have diminished the size of the portions and have developed a rewarding system, for those clients that didn’t waste/took away their untouched food.
A campaign called “clean plate action” took place on Weibo website(platform of communication/information very used in China) on the beginning of last year, and has already obtained a lot of acceptance and militancy of many chinese citizens, mainly of the new generation- they even take pictures of their “clean plates” to post on the site, as a way of launching the action. The call for less waste and avoiding excessive consumption has had more than 50 million exhibitions, and awaits to attract even more media attention.

Staff encouraging conscious consumption in Qingdao, Shandong Province (english.sina.com)

Staff encouraging conscious consumption in Qingdao, Shandong Province (english.sina.com)

The cultural issue is very ingrained in chinese citizens, knowing that the Country has been closed to all kinds of ocidental influencies during a long time; but now it’s time for China to realize that, if they don’t stop certains habits of unbounded consumption, the whole world is gonna suffer the consequences.
Fortunately, this new generation is already aware of the new responsible consumption habits, and surely will play the main role on this novel, that is far away from a happy ending…
Clik HERE for tips on how to have a responsible consumption at home!
Au revoir!

Mutianyu- Great Wall of China

One of the biggest myths in the world is that the Great Wall is a huge dragon that meanders all along the vast territory of China, protecting its borders from ancient invaders…Actually there are several interconnected parts but at the same time very different on its essences.


The most beautiful and well preserved part (and with less tourists) is the Mutianyu part, with more than 2,5 kms on its extension, that one can go through in about one hour. It has 22 watchover points (one at each 100 mts), and the Zheng Guan Tai Gate- 3 connected main watchover points with a central tower in the middle, that was a kind of civil and military “meeting point” and also a reference of this part of the wall.
At only 60 km far from Beijing, 45 minutes, one can reach this place of spectacular beauty, that has on both sides of its walls of lush vegetation, that occupies more than 96% of the extension of the Mutianyu park- and for certain this is the main symbol of the archetype of the Great Wall.
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Entry for one of the watchover towers

Entry for one of the watchover towers



During all the seasons we can have a glimpse of the natural beauties that are interconnected perfectly into the landscape inherent to this asleep dragon: blossoming flowers in the spring, green grass and refreshing air in the summer, trees with fruits and yellow and red leaves during autumn, gold coloring the top of the mountains and the white snow in the winter, making of this an idyllic, unequaled and impressive scenery.
To climb to the wall itself, the most used way is the cable car; but for those in the mood for adventure, there is a 40 minute hike. To come back down, there is the cabel car (that is most commonly used to go up only) and a speed slide car, with controllable speed (safe!), that meanders into the native vegetation and the typical pine trees of the place.
Slide car descent: beautiful view!

Slide car descent: beautiful view!


Open cable car, must not be easy during winter season!

Open cable car, must not be easy during winter season!


The villas around the Mutianyu park are also unmissable tours for those who desire to becaome a part of this microcosm of rural China: inhabitants that are real descendants of the builders of the Wall, on the remote time of the Ming Dynasty, farmers who still use millstone to produce flour. The people are friendly, nice, welcoming and mainly, proud of having by their side this huge mankind icon.

ENTRY FEE: 45 RMB/adults and 25 RMB/kids
TIME: 8 am- 4 pm
CABLE AND SLIDE CAR FEE: 65 RMB round trip
HOW TO GET THERE:
– bus number 867 departing from Dongzhimen/Beijing (Subway lines 2 or 13), and costs 16 RMB one way. It departs at 7 and 8:30 am and comes back to Beijing at 2 and 4 pm. BUT ATTENTION! This bus is only available during the high season– 15/march to 15/nov. According to travelchinaguide.com, there is also the bus number 936 departing from Dongzhimen to Mutianyu (direct).
– a day tour from Beijing, that costs in average 350 RMB p.p., but takes the whole day. The agencies take you to a lot of places before the Wall itself, and try to sell you as many things as possible in the souvenirs stores, and museums they take their tourists…so, in my oppinion, not a smart idea!
– have a driver to take you there, on a private tour! It’s cheaper than you think! We payed 700 RMB (3 persons- less than 250 for each). We dealed the price before, and set a time for the pick up at the hotel. The driver (Michael, a chinese guy who speaks good english) was really nice, taught us some facts about the Wall, and waited there at the parking lot until we wanted to come back (good advice: just in case, save half of the money, or all, for later! pay only when he drops you back on the hotel). If someone needs his phone, just send me a message on the blog email (ps- I’m not having any comission on this, just because he’s really professional and speaks english!).
There are people up there selling water, juices, snacks, even cold beer, but if you prefer, in front of the parking lot, there is a “facility area”, with a coffee shop, pizza store, a Subway, toilets (clean!) and crafts and souvenirs from the Great Wall.
Good tour, and au revoir!
Natural beauties on the blink of an eye!

Natural beauties on the blink of an eye!

Badaling- The Great Wall of China

Badaling is the most representative part of the Wall, and is far 70 km from Beijing (only this part of the wall offers the option of public transportation until there). This is also the best preserved part, and has an average altitude of 1000 meters.

tropicalisland.de

tropicalisland.de

TIMETABLE
summer- 06:30 am to 7 pm
winter- 7 am to 6 pm

So you don’t have to be caught by the “take tourists” traps that are the tours offered by agencies/hotels, there are regular bus lines (lines 877- direct, 919 and 880) that depart from Downtown Beijing (Deshengmen Arrow Tower)-the trip takes about one hour and the cost is 12 RMB per person. You can take the subway, bus or taxi until there and then take this bus to Badaling, is easier and cheaper.
ATTENTION!!! In this place there are a lot of private buses that put this numbers on theirs, but the official ones are cheaper and safer!

If you prefer to take a train, go to Beijing North Railway Station and then to Badaling Railway Station (that is a 20 minutes walk from the main entrance). The first train to badaling is 06:20 am, and the last one to come back to Beijing is 09:33 pm. Travel time is one hour and half, maximum.
Getting there (the entrance fee is 45 RMB), there are two options to go up, in case you don’t want to spend your time and energy going all the way by yourself: the cable car (80 RMB round trip- tickets sold near from where the buses stop, and the entrance is near the Beer Garden) and the pulley (60 RMB- tickets sold in front of the parking lot). The cable car- that leaves visitors on the North Tower 8- is more comfortable and stable, but the pulley is way more exciting, but not recommended for seniors.

dreamstime.com

dreamstime.com


Pulley, way more exciting!

Pulley, way more exciting!


In case you want to stay near to this part of the Wall, there are many lodges, rustic and cozy options that offer a hint of the chinese lifestyle to those who want to immerse themselves on this ancient culture, besides having the opportunity of observing very closely this colossus.
There are also other touristic points near to Badaling, like the Ming Thumbs (that host the thumbs of the main imperators of the Ming dynasty) an the Great Wall of China Museum, that tells the rich story of this construction work.
But don’t visit in very cold, rainy or snowy days, for obvious reasons. And, again, get there early, because the most part of the tourists begin to get there by 11 am, and surely there’ll be a lot of queues, and hords of people trying to cross in front of your amazing-to-be-shot!
Good tour and au revoir!
everydayminimalist.com

everydayminimalist.com

The Great Wall of China

This construction work has always intrigued me very much, and when visiting it personally, I could have an idea of its grandiosity. We are talking of the only human monument that can be seen from the Moon (that’s not true, is a legend of 1938, but our romantic side prefers to believe it is!), one of the most impressive military construction works that mankind has ever built, with almost 8.850 kilometers, according to the chinese (this number is very diverging- there is data showing more than 20.000 kilometers, but the most common number found is 6.684 kilometers). It has an incomparable symbolic significance in the history of China, preserving all the spiritual and architectural elements along all this years.
aurevoirblog.com
This series of several walls took approximately two millenniuns (and lots of dynasties) to be built, having as main objective to protect China from being invaded by the mongol and manchurian nomads at the time, but wasn’t successful on that (how it was not totally built, the invaders could easily bypass it)- some parts were even constructed because of those feudal conflicts, and little by little it was magnificently constructed. It served mainly to make the displacement of troops, food and animals easier, and its towers also developed a very efficient communication and alert system, using colored flags and smoke. Nowadays, it meanders along the Northeast of China, the Gobi desert and Mongolia, being today one of the main touristic points of China, and of course, its biggest pride.
The work force to build a colossus of this magnitude also presents numbers equally grands: more than a million workers, among those peasants, soldiers and mainly prisoners; but only 20% survived this construction work, due to the extremely severe conditions by that time. It was a kind of death sentence to be sent to work there, and many corrupt officials had this end.
In 1664, it got abandoned, and even invaded by mongols, xianbeis and other people. In 1980, it was retaken, and then started a big restoration work in many parts of it, but 2/3 of it is said to still be in ruins. Today it’s the biggest symbol of China’s grandiosity.
The Great Wall is not a single structure, and shows different features along its extension. At each while, you can find many passes along, surveillance towers and fortresses, offering to the chinese a dominant view position, immediately perceiving the approach of the enemy (nowadays it’s not so helpful, because China’s worst enemies are no longer humans…).
In 2007, it was considered one of The Seven New Wonders of the World, and since 1986 it’s registered as World Heritage by Unesco.
aurevoirblog.com
aurevoirblog.com

HOW TO GET THERE

There are two sections that offer good infra-structure for visitors (the following posts will be about each one specifically, how to get there, timetable, features…): Badaling– the nearest to Beijing, 1h30min, the most crowded, because it offers public transport, and Mutianyu, not so far from the other one, doesn’t offer public transport until there, so it has a little bit less people (I said just a little bit, don’t get too excited!). There are other access sections, but these two are the main ones, and the most indicated for those persons like me, who have kids and cannot adventure yourselves on wild places anymore.

The Great Wall map

The Great Wall map


These two sections offer cable cars to make the climb easier. In Mutianyu, you go with your feet dangling on the air (and in my case, trying not to drop my daughter!), but if you prefer to feel the amazing sensation that must be to climb all those very steep steps all the way up there, good luck (and tell me later!). To come back, you can choose between the cable car again, or to slide in a very fun and safe toboggan (again, the mommy spirit), with a stop-and-go car. The most indicated periods to visit are the months of april/may and september/october, with mild temperatures, not too hot or too cold.
Cable car and stretch of the toboggan way

Cable car and stretch of the toboggan way


Nobody's gonna dye of thirst up there. But of boredom, I wouldn't say...

Nobody’s gonna dye of thirst up there. But of boredom, I wouldn’t say…


But, above all, the best tip I can give you is: DON’T GO IN THE AFTERNOON, BECAUSE ALL THE EXCURSION BUSES GET THERE BY THIS TIME!!!! A splendid time to get there is about 9 a.m., or earlier, the most part of the visitors start coming after 11…Your pictures will be awesome, without all those snoopy persons, that simply don’t notice there are other ones trying to capture good images! These hotel tours go to Ming Tombs, jade selling stores, silk museums, have lunch, and after all that, they take you to the already crowded Walls, but this are all “take-tourists” tours, and are not so cheap, so don’t fall on this ones!!!!!!PS- you’re welcome 😉
aurevoirblog.com
aurevoirblog.com
This is one of that tours of a lifetime, and should really be on your “Bucket list”, because walking on the Great Wall of China is to have the vivid sensation of being part of the impressive history of this part of the world, deeply experiencing it in all its commas and counterpoints. And as said Mao Zedong: “Who has never walked on the Great Wall, is not a real man.”
Au revoir!

aurevoirblog.com

Curiosities (part 3)

Now that we are almost intimates when it comes to curiosities, let’s go straight to the point:
– when giving you the change or receipt, the waiter (waitress) will do it with both hands, showing respect for you, dear customer;
aurevoirblog.com
very friend girls walk holding hands of each other, and very friend boys exchange confidences closely by their ears;
– nowadays marriages here in China have a very, let’s say, cute trend: everything that involves the marriage has a Teddy Bear on it. I explain: on the flower arrangements, there will be a wedding teddy, as well as his very “ground squirrel” friends, that will surely be all over the party. It won’t be hard to even find them on the hairdos or on the modern bouffant dresses (in general, red) of some chinese bride (or maybe in one of the lively guests);

ibuyla.com

ibuyla.com


– as I mentioned already in a post, the chinese are not so in the well education mood, so don’t admire if, in a restaurant, some of them have the idea of savor out loud his very delicious soup flavor strange things. And be awarded as well that, if you leave some food in the plate, the host will think that he wasn’t able to satisfy you properly, so he’ll order more and more food, until you leave some inside the plate!
– if you too agree that a line is an ode to the movement of educational and spiritual evolution of mankind, I give you an advice: do not come to China! Here this concept is inexistent, or either the civility and respect to the rights of your next that they represent. Not even at the airports, to access the boarding gates, they are not necessary- you just enter in, and refuge yourself! The movement is like this: they come on and on, approaching nonchalantly , and suddenly, in one single and sharp step, are in front of you. There is always a pile of people, and persons with special needs generally have this ones unmet, because there isn’t a distinction. When in the subway, the good sense says us that is necessary to await for the ones that are inside to come outside, right? Not in here, mate! Even in a simple walk to the bakery, the McGyver guy who was far behind you in some way ended in the very front of the cashier lady, that naturally got him first. And that’s the way humanity goes, the chinese one, of course.
Au revoir, and see you next time!

The chinese infra-structure

Wherever you go here there will be lots of constructions taking place, I mean, lots, of all kinds: bridges being built, huge buildings, roads being opened, subways being spread…and all that with the most impressive speed and efficiency, what’s hard to believe, because in a country with more than 1 billion and 300 million people, the logistics is expected to be really difficult.
As soon as we got here, I was absolutely astonished with a construction of a shopping mall taking place right in front of the flat we were, that went through night, weekends, 24 hours, never stop! This shows how persevering an hard workers the chinese are, very “mission given, mission accomplished”.

exame.abril.com.br

exame.abril.com.br


And all this efficiency involves numbers always superlatives, showing the world the new position China possess on the quality ranking: of a very demanding country, that has all the money to pay for its demands.
The two largest bridges of the world are here: one, that links the cities of Qingdao and Huangdao, has 42,5 km and took only 4 years to get ready, counting on a work force of more than 10 thousand men! And despite all the speed, the quality leaves nothing to be desired, because this bridge can take earthquakes up to 8 points on Richter scale. The other bridge, that will link Hong Kong island to other points of the country, is being constructed since 2009, and will have more than 50 km length!
Mais de 42 km sobre as águas! (g1.globo.com)

Mais de 42 km sobre as águas! (g1.globo.com)


The magnitude of the nowadays constructions in China reaches impressive numbers, and frequently appears in “most this and most that” lists, emphasizing the quality and the speed with what they are made.
Glass buildings, with apparent steel, panoramic elevator that defy gravity, forms that call the attention for the design, besides the solidity and reliability of the constructions.
adoroviagem.com.br

adoroviagem.com.br


The efficiency is so enormous, that they could build a building of 30 floors in just 15 days, capable of taking an earthquake of 9 points. Of course that this constructions used prefabricated items to join all this speed. But where I wanna be is right at this point: when you have money to pay, everything is fast, gets out quickly off paper, there is no hindrance, there are no limitations! The bureaucracy blablabla is lightened by lots and lots of money, benefiting a system where everybody gets to win. And money is really not an issue here, China is in wide expansion, and more and more the chinese are looking for investment opportunities, counting on a fast and certain liquidity.
The chinese infra-structure scenery is on a platform that many countries couldn’t reach yet, and are not even close from reaching. Everything works, trains and subway departs on time, and have brand new fleet. The users are awarded with a range of services of irreproachable quality. China has the biggest net of high speed trains in the world, linking thousands of cites in record time.
tavtrilhos.com

tavtrilhos.com


Wuhan railway station (tavtrilhos.com)

Wuhan railway station (tavtrilhos.com)


Any airport in any city, for the tiniest it is, will count on a prime and complete infra-structure, capable of receiving far more flights than most of the biggest brazilian cities (that makes me regret the developmental delay of my country when it comes to this). And not even mentioning the fleet, that is almost all brand new.
China and its governors are only responding to what has been happening to the country in the last few years: China has been “secretly dominating the world”, and its citizens, every day with more money, are more and more raising the demand for options that meets their needs, that now their money can buy. People who formerly took a bus, now can afford to pay a first class ticket of a high speed train. Airplane tickets, backing the world tendency, are everyday more accessible, enabling entire families to travel further. But all that has a price: infra-structure, that has to have all the efficiency and turnover in order a country this big won’t stop, won’t collapse. And with the money China has been investing, would be even a heresy to imagine that inside of China wouldn’t be like this, offering only the best to its deserving citizens, that played an essential role on this vertiginous growth of which China is playing the lead!

China and the falsifications

China being an authority when it comes to falsifications leaves no doubt for anyone. I think indeed that, if it could exist an absolute and unquestionable world true, that would be this one.
At the july edition of Galileu magazine, there is a featuring about how the chinese are trying to “steadfastly reproduce” famous monuments in their cities, gathering in the same one the Capitol and the White House, parisian style bridges, australian monuments…not even the legendary London Eye has escaped.

London Eye in colors?

London Eye in colors?


Shanghai‘s court of law is a perfect match between the Capitol and the White House. In Hangzhou, there is a chinese version of Venice, with all the canals (artificials, of course) and gondolas offering romantic tourings, including the views of Ducal Palace and St. Marcus Basilic’s replicas (they love this word). In the same city, you can appreciate another wonderful european monument: Eiffel Tower! Thames Town is an English-style city, with its own chinese “british guards”. The Amsterdam central station, in Shenyang (where else?), costed to the tycoon Yang Bin more than US$ 300 million, but in 2009 it was demolished.
Paris? Prague? No! Tianjin!

Paris? Prague? No! Tianjin!


Do you need a medical prescription? Yes, they can make it. A wedding certificate to obtain discounts in “honeymoon” getaways to Maldives? Yes, we have it. Or do you want a swiss watch without having to pay its real value, but want it with the already known precision devices of the famous swiss watch building system? We have it too! We all agree that, in order to your made in China swiss watch cost such a bargain, the quality will have to be ignored: your carbon box will be mixed with plastic, and metal devices will not be soooo metal.
vip.abril.com.br

vip.abril.com.br


Car pieces, airbags, electrical components and including the whole car are copied and sold at the black market, and leave quality, and even security behind on behalf of low prices. The most used platforms to flow off all this products are the ones with high attrition rate (e-Bay, for example) and informality, case of the street markets.
euquevi.com.br

euquevi.com.br


Entire shops are copy of the originals, which offer without previous agreement your market name to prowlers chasing easy and certain gain. An “Apple Stoer” (no, u didn’t misread) was opened in Kunming, offering iPhones, iPads, and all more i’s you may want to buy. The layout, employees uniform, front of the store, everything is a copy of the original. The same happened with 11Furniture, that wanted a piece of the millionaire big cake of the swedish giant Ikea, copying absolutely everything, from the stores format, uniforms, to the color scheme of the true one!
tecnoblog.net

tecnoblog.net


Not even art museums have escaped from the wave, they falsified more than 40.000 pieces said to be from the last imperial dynasty. Then I ask myself: why would someone would want to do this? What is the purpose of all this? Answer: PROFIT. This old and sneaky fellow, that is tangent to all the actions, habits and ideas of most of the chinese. Everywhere, there will be it, the burning desire of profit, bigger and sharper each day. The museum above is at the province of Hebei, and was closed.
L'Occitane for sale at Carrefour? Something must be wrong...

L’Occitane for sale at Carrefour? Something must be wrong…


The falsifications can go really far, even more than we can possibly imagine: to falsify food. Have you ever imagined yourself eating a fake egg? It exists, and is commonly found in the south of China. It’s made of resin, jelly, wax, cast, aluminum oxide and a lot more of substances that are really bad for our health, and has its “recipe” shared in DVD’s not-so-hard to find. The workforce in China is so absurdly cheap that human being is wanting to replace even chickens…Another kinds of food are known to be falsified here: plastic rice (mixed with the regular one to add volume to the package), cooking oil, milk, baby formulas, and a lot more that appear each day.
filhotedepombo.com

filhotedepombo.com


The lack of responsibility of the falsifiers reach until the remedies, even those ones for cancer, hypertension , diabetes, replacing for placebo the hope those people deposit on this medicaments.
The corporations invest billions trying to avoid their products to be falsified, but generally unsuccessfully. There are those who prefer to join the enemy, selling your products and technology to the chinese beforehand, ’cause they’ll end up being copied anyway (and for free).
Rough falsifications (upira.com.br)

Rough falsifications
(upira.com.br)


When China started to implement the high speed trains, hired a german company of railway technology, asking them to build just a tiny stretch between two cities, saying that this would serve as a pre-contract for the rest of the service, that could be expanded all over China. Result: when the germans ended it, the chinese came and thank them, saying that they had already their railway technology. How sage is that?
This chinese sagacity is something so impressive and in some cases, unbelievable, like the companies that hire a person “without chinese characters, that wear a suit and speak good english” to represent it, assuming a western figure. The actor will be taken to dinners, reunions, and will pretend to be the western and international part of this company. For every fake mission, he’ll receive until US$1.000,00. There is even a company that is specialized in this freelance actor’s hiring- Rent a Laowai.
galileu.com

galileu.com


There are huge corporations behind these falsification mafia, many of them linked to the Communist Party itself. The impunity has a free pass, and permeate most of the transactions; the ones who are really punished and locked in jail are the weakest ones, where the rope crush faster. The great magnates who have the biggest part, are still there, unshakeable, reinvesting their billions on China’s prosperity future.
Really, shameless of human being appears to be off limits, because “nothing replaces the profits“, apparently not even dignity and self respect…
As Captain Rolim (brazilian owner of an airline company) said, in another famous statement: “whoever has no creativity to create, must have the courage to copy”, and I think that courage to copy will never end for chinese people!!! Or how do you think China has grown this fast?

Forced hair cut inside the bus

e-chinacities

e-chinacities


Not even a bus trip is normal here in China! The website people.com.cn published something really weird, AND funny: a little lady from the city of Wuhan was coming back from work and seated on the window seat of the bus she used to take everyday. So far, everything’s normal.
A very naughty boy seated right behind her, and in some boredom crisis simply chopped her beautiful hair off the pony tail!!!!
The little lady looked at the weirdo and shouted everything she could imagine for the moment, and the naughty one responded with a lot of laughter.
The now short hair lady went to the driver to ask for help, and he closed all the doors and called the police, who arrived in 20 minutes.
How to cut somebody’s hair is not considered a crime, he just listened to the cops mentioning “no more cutting nobody’s hair while being bored”.
But she was still very furious and didn’t accepted, they agreed then that the guy would have to pay her 200 RMB to compensate the damage…

Se comunicar? Pra quê???/ To communicate? What for???

O que geralmente se espera ao visitar um país único e surreal como a China? Quando planejamos visitar algum lugar, nos deparamos com muitas dicas e guias disso e daquilo. Pois é, nada do que sabemos até chegar aqui adianta muita coisa, pois o impacto é bem grande, em tudo e mais um pouco. Tudo o que falam daqui, não passa nem perto do que realmente é- não querendo assustar aos aventureiros de plantão!
A primeira barreira é certamente a da língua, que não oferece a mínima possibilidade de ser entendida por algum ocidental (na verdade, há tantos dialetos que nem eles próprios se entendem uns aos outros!!!!!!). Então, inicia-se a luta: a tão esquecida desde a infância arte da …mímica !!!
Se imagine tentando pedir algo bem simples, tipo uma Coca-Cola ou um suco de laranja. Junte-se a isso uma certa dificuldade em achar quem fale inglês (achou? Mas não consegue entender o inglês que ele supostamente fala ? Pois é…). Acha que já está difícil o suficiente? Tente então pedir algo mais complicado, tipo um tofu (resolvi incrementar a papinha da minha filha com alguma proteína, pois estava meio, digamos, desconfiada das carnes de vários tipos– para não dizer animais estranhos- oferecidas no mercado). Pensei comigo: “eles comem tofu, vamos lá, não deve ser tão difícil”. Claro que foi, aliás, saí sem o tal tofu. Eu pedi para a tiazinha que estava no balcão: “to- fúúú”, e ela respondeu: “ta- váááá”; “to-fúúú”, e ela “ta-vááá”, e ainda ria, com a maior sensação de estar cumprindo seu dever da melhor maneira- e devia estar!!!!!! Fiquei ali com cara de “e agora?”. Me restou ir embora sem tofu!!!!!! Se “ta-vá” seria o meu “to-fu”, nunca saberei…
Os itens de limpeza, higiene,e afins, então, nem vou mencionar! Houve quem comeu comida de gato por uma semana achando que era lata de atum, passou condicionador no corpo achando que era creme hidratante… ver figuras nas embalagens e tentar decifrar para quê seria aquilo nem sempre é garantia de sucesso!
O que quero mostrar com este exemplo e mico passado por mim é que a gente não se dá conta do quão difícil é estar em um lugar onde não é possível se fazer entender minimamente até vivenciar tal experiência. E principalmente, o quão necessária é a comunicação interpessoal efetiva.
Aliás, não poderia deixar de expressar aqui minha admiração por aqueles que conseguem falar esta língua tão estranha e difícil (com certeza pretendo estuda-la também, mas apenas com intuito de sobrevivência mínima, e, talvez almejando um futuro promissor na área de comércio exterior- vulgo “muamba”. Por que não? Brincadeira! ).;)
Aqui em Tianjin (onde moramos), achar quem fale inglês é muito difícil. Em Beijing, é mais comum, por haver muito mais estrangeiros morando lá (em bairros conhecidamente “gringos”- caso de Sanlitun– você até esquece que está na China). Há um suporte muito maior ao estrangeiro, com mercados, restaurantes e lojas que oferecem “English speakers”. Aqui, apesar de ficar a 25 minutos de trem-bala da capital, e ter mais de 12 milhões de habitantes, ainda é bem difícil achar com quem se comunicar.
Alguns serviços, caso do metrô, oferecem a opção inglês no menu, facilitando a vida de quem já está sem esperanças…Mas na estação principal de saída de trens de Beijing é todo um processo para conseguir explicar ao atendente qual trecho você quer e em que classe -em trechos mais próximos, a diferença para um assento melhor na “primeira classe” é tão pouca que vale a pena. Os tickets e painéis com horários de embarque e partida, e principalmente, portão de embarque, estão absolutamente todos em chinês (mais parece um diagrama gigante em vermelho de algo tipo um código morse do futuro, que só os fortes conseguirão decifrar!), o que logicamente, não facilita muito a vida de nós, meros viajantes que só gostariam de poder entender alguma coisa!
Nos caixas eletrônicos, também há algumas opções em inglês, mas caso você seja um perseverante e queira administrar sua conta em um banco local pelo site, forget Margaret!!!!!
Mas aos poucos, aprendemos a lidar com essas inconsistências do sistema chinês de levar a vida.
Para você, que está preparando a viagem da sua vida para cá, venha mesmo! Pois vai conhecer uma cultura absurdamente diferente de tudo, e vai morrer tentando entende-la, na sua mais pura origem! Se puder aprender umas palavrinhas em mandarim, para comunicação básica, ajuda bastante!
Para mim, a jornada está apenas começando, mas resolvi aceitar os percalços como parte do caminho, nem sempre fácil ou suave, que teremos de enfrentar por aqui; e lembro a todo momento de uma frase que li num guia local: “A sabedoria está em ver coisas bonitas onde os demais só vêem as feias.”
E assim vamos cultivando sabedoria! Muita sabedoria a todos!!!!!

What to expect when visiting a unique and surreal country like China?
When planning a trip somewhere, we see a lot of tips and guides of this and that. Well, nothing that we know until we arrive here fits to practically anything, because the impact is major, in everything and more.
Everything one says from here is not even close of what the experience really is-don’t wanna scare the adventurers on duty!!!!
The first barrier has to be, of course, the language, that doesn’t offer the minimal possibility of understanding by an ocidental person (actually, there are so many dialects that they don’t even understand to each other!). Then, the fight begins: the so forgotten since childhood art of…mimic!!!
Imagine yourself, trying to order something as simple as a Coke, or an orange juice. Together, add the difficulty of finding someone who speaks English (Found? But can’t understand the English he is supposed to speak? Ok, well…). Think is hard enough? Try ordering something a little more difficult, lika a tofu cheese ( I decided to increase my baby’ s food with a little protein, because I was kind of, let’s say, suspicious, about the lots of meats types– not to say strange animals- that were offered in the market). I thought: “They eat tofu. Come on, how hard can it be?” Very! BTW, I left with no tofu! I ordered to the small lady behind the counter: “To- fu”, and got back: “Ta- vaaaa”, again: “To- fu”, “Ta- vaaaa”, with the accomplished duty smile on her face, and kind of was, but still. I showed my best face of “Now what?”, and I finally left with no tofu at all!!! Would “ta- vaaaaa” be my “to-fu”? That is something I’ll never know…
The cleansing goods, hygiene, and stuff, I won’t even mention…There was someone who ate cans of cat food thinking they were tuna ones, and using conditioner thinking it was body moisturizer!!! To see pictures on the packaging trying to discover what they are for is not always a recipe for success…
My point with this example, and all the goof of mine, is that you never realize how hard it can be to live in a place where nobody understands you, until you live this experience. And mainly, how necessary is the effective interpersonal communication- I say EFFECTIVE.
BTW, I couldn’ t miss the opportunity of congratulating the persons who speak such a difficult and strange idiom (I wish to learn a bit of it, but with the genuinest purpose of survival here- or maybe try later to achieve a very successful and proeminent carreer in the foreign trade market, read “gimcrack” market…Why not??? Just kidding;)
Here in Tianjin (where we live) is hard to find someone who speaks English. In Beijing, is a bit easier, because there are a lot of expats who live there (mainly in Sanlitun, an excelence expat corner that can even make you forget you’re in China). There is a bigger structure to receive foreign people offering stores, markets and restaurants with English speakers. Tianjin, despite being only 25 minutes far from Beijing in high speed train, and having more than 12 millions of inhabitants, is still very hard to find someone to comunicate with.
Some services (subway) offer the English button option, making the hopeless persons life a little easier…But in the main Beijing’s train station, is all about a process to explain the attendant where do you want to go, and in wich class ( it’s very cheap to make the upgrade in non-far tracks). The tickets and the boarding/departs/gate timetable are all in Chinese (looks like a huge red diagram that appears to hide some kind of morse code from the future, that only the strong will be able to decipher!), that logically, does NOT make one’s life easier… poor travelers that just want to comprehend something!
At the ATM’s machines, there are basic options in English, but if you, perseverant creature, would like to make online transactions of your local bank account directly from the comfy sofa of yours, forget Margaret!
But, step by step, you can learn how to deal with this inconsistencies of the chinese way of life.
And speccially for you, that is preparing the travel of your life over here, I have to say: COME! You’ll experience a culture that’s sooooo different of everything, in the most absurd ways, and will probably die trying to understand it, in its most profound ways! And, if you can learn a few words in Mandarin, just for basic communication, is gonna be a lot easier for you!
For me, the journey is just beginning, and I decided to take the “rocks” as a part of the ride, not always easy and smooth, that we’ ll have to deal with here; always trying to remember a quote I read once on a local city guide: “ Wisdom is to see beautiful things where everybody else only see ugly ones’.”
And let’s cultivate wisdom!!!!!! Wisdom for everyone!!!!!!!! Cheers!!!