Thursday, 24 June 2010
Unusual for an intensive travel I write my travel experience at the end of the journey. I’m currently on the final flight from Dubai to Vienna and just an hour travel time is left.
The previous two weeks I have been travelling with the Austrian Journalist Club (OeJC) through China. Starting from Shanghai over Shenzhen to Xi’an and finally spending a few days in Beijing we had a very intensive Journey. The daytime was always full of official meetings and learning to know country and people in more detail. After dinner night-life has started and we wanted to come in touch with the locals to get a better picture about China. It was very helpful for us to have as much controversial influences as possible.
Our first stop in Shanghai was a great beginning. Starting the journey in such a bustling city was an easy introduction to an uprising country. Everything is everywhere on the jump to become bigger and better. Maxims are standard in common vocabulary and the direction of progress is fast forward. I have been already 12 years ago in Shanghai and the change has been very dramatically. The development zone around the oriental pearl tower was fully completed, the Olympic Games have been held and now the Expo 2010 is going on. The transformation is of course not finished. In Shanghai still construction is going on as in the rest of China. Everywhere old buildings are wrecked down and new constructions erected. Also thousands of people are relocated in focus of national development.
The Expo 2010 is a perfect showcase to get an idea about the speed and seriousness of the wish to become a modern economy. We have visited the Expo twice and the dimensions of the exhibition area and the buildings are breathtaking. The most imposing landmark and one of the few buildings, which will remain after the Expo, is the Chinese pavilion. It is a red giant and constructed based on traditional buildings.
Shenzhen in the south is an uprising city with a long historical background. Many low wage industries are located there and its home to a big industrial development zone. Thousands of farmers have been converted to industrial workers and their fames had to make place to new streets and buildings of all kind.
The next big stop was in the geometric middle of the country – Xi’an. Well known for history and the roots of unified China. The first dynasty has been there. World famous was the terracotta army of the first Dynasty. We’ve visited the national museum, the terracotta army and an Austrian-Chinese joint venture before heading to Beijing.
The capital city was the final stop on our tour through China. It was also a good example for the meaning of the words “big” and “mega”. Everything there is simply bigger than usual. Distances, building, squares streets etc.. Just around the corner usually means a short drive from 15 to 45 minutes. Walking just one block can be a nightmare just walking around for ages. There are many hotspots in the city like an art district, night market, Forbidden City and so on.
My personal impression from this trip is that I want to come back again and see how the nation can cope with the rapid transformation from a communistic society to a hi-tech country. It seems for me that there are a lot of efforts to make a better future like going green. At the other hand there are still a lot of restrictions that make it hard to believe that this kind of changes will be in a short time. Many people still are stuck in the system of former times and there are just a few signs of a transformation to a new democracy.