China Day 1

Time to head off for a long-ish holiday in China!
But of course, before we leave, a short break first.

Haven't had these in years. I didn't realise they were actually that pricey.

Immediately bombared with brands everywhere; expensive ones, at that. 

Also, comments on the new China Southern airlines plane! What an upgrade!! More leg room, two levels, entertainment screens (which include movies, TV shows and games that you don't need to pay for!!), food (yes!! It used to not be free), and just in general, much. better. facilities.

I was surely impressed.

I watched V for Vendetta, and had a go at puzzle games, before sleeping for an hour or so and spending the rest of my time reading Memoirs of a Geisha (good book, might I say).

The sound of unnecessary car horns, and whistle blows from officers, with the smells of heavy cigarette smoke and photochemical smog. Ahh, that's when you know you're in China. Hits the spot.

I was confronted initially by the complete change and transformation in culture. It's only been two years since I last came, which doesn't seem /that/ long, but I often come annually. So I did feel like a foreigner for about 5-10 minutes, before my older knowledge and experience started to kick in.

I can tell you quite literally that I was almost run over within ten seconds of leaving the airport doors. I had forgotten the traffic laws in China (and the fact that laws hardly existed here. I'm full serious.) To save from the details, let's just say my push-trolley filled with luggage got a little stuck on a curb, and the cars kept coming. I had to move myself out of the way, pray the cars wouldn't hit the trolley (of course they didn't; the drivers here have insane driving skills. They even succeed my MarioKart skills!!), and then wait until they passed before I could dislodge the trolley. My life was on the line, man.

Traffic is a big culture swap in China. Horns everywhere, cars everywhere. You begin to wonder if there are any traffic laws at all, and I also became thankful that I didn't live here, because there is no way I would be aggressive enough to drive on these roads. 

I also rethought social media, being faced with the intense Internet censorship immediately upon arrival. Thank god I could still check my HSC results. People sometimes ask me how it's like to have this censorship, and "Isn't it really difficult?", and I suppose so, but you learn to live with it. You're on holiday anyway, sometimes it's good to forget all the trouble that social media brings and relax a bit -- soak in the culture and unwind.

Only a few messaging platforms still worked
Dinner brought it all back. It feels almost second nature-- took a split second of confusion before I accustomed to the new environment and immediately set upon rinsing the bowls and cutlery with boiling water. It was also somewhat a hassle knowing that you can't drink tap water, because of my lazy habit of doing just that in Sydney, especially when I'm parched and I'm upstairs.

I also seemed to forget how difficult it is to be non-fluent in mandarin, despite Guangzhou's Cantonese origins. And to not be able to read Chinese. Kind of feel like a lost baby, really.
My stomach first jumped with joy at the food offered. Glorious food. From my perspective, I'm not going to lie, Chinese cuisine cannot be genuinely replicated anywhere else in the world (at least, anywhere I've tried). True Chinese cuisine is only in China itself, and it's a completely different experience. The food is absolutely delish, but also incredibly fatty (INCREDIBLY), which explains why they always serve tea (I'm told it helps digest fatty foods). But my point is that when you find the right place, the food is OH-WOW-THIS-TASTES-AMAAAAAAZING good.

Basically ate this dish every day. I think that claim might be literal.
Then we stopped at the local convenient store to purchase a few things here and there.

The loot; the orange juice here is my favourite, even though it's probably 90% not healthy.
The kinder products are also a tonne cheaper, so :')
Also something about the stores; FamilyMart and all other convenient stores (e.g., 7-eleven) all serve hot food, like sausages and stuff! I thought that was pretty cool. (Actually, not 100% sure if they have this in Sydney either -- I rarely go to convenient stores)

But otherwise, they look pretty much like your standard convenient store.

Also, taxi selfie. Taxis everywhere. Man, you don't get that in Sydney.

And the fares are so low! (Well, what do you expect from a country that has a cost of living many times lower than Australia's) The starting fare is equivalent to $2AUD. Wow.

Anyway, so after arriving, having dinner, and stopping by the local FamilyMart to pick up emergency snack supplies and orange juice (love it), we headed home. 

'Home', this time round, was an apartment that our family friend had kindly lend to us. It's a lovely apartment, massive, by China's standards, and had a lovely view of several bridges and brightly lit buildings. I hear that it's also quite pricey, but I'm not sure of the exact amount.

It was surely one of the biggest apartments (if not, the biggest) I've ever lived in, in China.

View of the bridge from the balcony was stunning.

Down below, from level 6 balcony.
And let's just say we spent a great deal of time in the car-park, gawking at all the expensive cars that were parked there. I wanted to take pictures of them all -- from Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and even Rolls Royce (!!!)

"Soon Manjekah, soon. When you're rich..."
We mostly just settled down the first day, whist reading and trying to mentally prepare myself for the reveal of the final four digit number that summarised my 13 years of schooling. The ATAR. (I'm exaggerating. I think.)

China struck me immediately as different. A completely other world, with alternative customs, people, traditions, and behaviour. It struck me not exactly as 'worse' than Sydney (though many would be tempted to think that, including myself), but just as another environment. As much as I hacked at the cigarette smoke, tried to avert my eyes from the presence of the brown smog, and choked on the oil in the delicious food, I have to admit that most of all, I missed it. 

I missed it all, and it felt good to be back, despite everything.



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Hello! I'm a student from Australia. I like photography, am aspiring to be a Doctor, have fallen in love with many things that life has to offer, and hope to see more of it. I've been blogging for a while and over the years what it means to me has changed. Currently still trying to figure that out, but here I am in a weird hybridisation of photography, film, blogging, and the confusion of a young adult, you'll find me here writing about my experiences and life. Or whatever tickles my fancy. Whether that's entertaining or not is yours to decide. Stay hydrated, kids.