A visit to China: Travelogue

Travelogue / Photo Feature by Srishti Sharma



China is a fascinating and rapidly growing country with its traditions intact. The country becomes more of a powerhouse with people from around the globe planning to move there. In 2015, there was a sudden urge for learning different foreign languages in me.  Accordingly, I decided to learn the world’s toughest language i.e. Chinese Mandarin. My family was thrilled by this idea.  I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship to follow this dream.


I landed in China in September 2015 with the aim of speaking maximum Chinese so as to get a good grasp of the language. My perception about China changed since the day I landed there. The route past rice fields and sprinklers was absolutely enthralling. Back home, I was always greeted with a strange smile when people heard I was flying to China for a one year stay, as we had always heard Chinese being unfriendly with the foreigners.


They were not at all insular; instead they came forward and communicated with me when I went shopping in a nearby market. Language was a slight problem. But, then as they say, love knows no language. I could, to quite an extent relate to what they were expressing.


I experienced a very different kind of China. I had very frank conversations with youngsters about their country, god, Taoism, and economies. Obviously, there were a few online sites which were blocked. But, then we had other versions of the same websites invented by China.


India tends to simplify Chinese food to spicy Hakka Noodles, Schezwan Rice and Schezwan sauce. But, in China we can find every non-imaginable insect, ingredient finding it’s way into some kind of Chinese dish.  I could also afford to buy lentils. But where else can you have fried insects, see people gulping  stewed frogs or even shop at a Walmart selling live turtles? I noticed that even food was an avenue for some great bonding. People had individual rice bowls but ate directly from the shared plates in the center. This brings in a great communal feeling.


During my stay in Tianjin, I would walk and jog around the streets early in early morning, passing groups doing tai chi, the ancient Chinese exercise. I was usually followed politely by about a few curious onlookers to know where I was heading and would kindly help if I needed. After my enjoyable few months in Tianjin, I was taken to Beijing to see the Summer Palace, walk the Great Wall. When I wandered in Beijing, I was approached by a few gentlemen wanting to practice English conversation.


My experience was one sparkling facet of a gem. After spending a year there, I came away with a new understanding of China and its people. Despite the differences between India and China. People are pretty much the same. Every one of them wants a bright future for their children. Let’s live in peace.
















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