(ro)
Cred cu tarie in faptul ca atunci cand iti doresti ceva cu adevarat, Universul lucreaza pentru tine. Iar daca e ceva pe lumea asta ce sa poata sa-mi alimenteze si sa-mi inmulteasca fluturii, ei bine, este vorba despre calatorit. Sunt o calatoare, ce mai- curioasa, entuziasta si mereu insetata de nou: locuri noi, oameni noi, mentalitati noi, obiceiuri noi. Pur si simplu ma fascineaza. Probabil pentru ca sunt un spirit liber, ca traiesc cu acea convingere ca singurele granite sunt cele pe care ni le impunem noi. Iar mie nu-mi plac granitele. Octavian Paler spunea la un moment dat o chestie care mi-a ramas in minte si care si in prezent imi ghideaza oarecum viata: “adevărata
măsură a vieţii unui om nu se poate obţine decât prin lipsa de măsură, dorind fără măsură, îndrăznind fără măsură, iubind fără măsură.” Calatorind fara masura, as mai adauga eu.

Mi se intampla adeseori sa fiu intrebata unde ma vad peste 5-10 ani (da, vesnica si nelipsita intrebare, care pare sa astepte un raspuns oarecum rupt din concursurile de miss). Ei bine, nu indraznesc sa cred ca voi salva lumea, ca voi milita pentru balene si ca voi aduce pacea mondiala (cu exceptia cazului in care va fi imperios necesar si soarta omenirii va depinde de asta, bine-nteles), dar indraznesc sa cred ca voi calatori. Mi-am propus sa vad fiecare coltisor din lumea asta. Sunt constienta ca nu-i treaba usoara, dar inceputul e promitator si asta parca imi da aripi.

Daca cineva mi-ar fi spus acum 10 ani ca intr-o zi voi ajunge sa vizitez China, nu i-as fi spus altceva decat:’nenea, ai dreptate!’.Cu toate astea, nu ma asteptam sa se intample atat de curand. Am vazut multe locuri, dar, cu siguranta, asta a fost cel mai impresionant si mi-a ramas oarecum in suflet, asa ca am hotarat sa impartasesc si cu voi putin din bucuria visului meu devenit realitate.

(en)

I trully believe that when you really wish for something, the entire universe is working for you. And if i should name one thing in this world that can bring butterflies to my stomach, that would be traveling..for sure! I must admit, I am a traveler- curious, enthusiastic and always craving for something new: new places, new people, new beliefs, new habits. I find all these purely fascinating. I am a free spirit and i do believe that our only borders, are the ones that we set for ourselves. And…I don’t really like borders. As Octavian Paler, romanian writer, said “the true measure of a man’s life can only be achieved by the lack of measure, desiring without measure, daring without measure, loving without measure.” And traveling without measure, I’d say.

People often ask me where do I see myself in 5 or 10 years ( yeah, i know, that silly miss universe kind of question) Well, I’m daring to think that I will save the world, or the blue whales, neither that I will bring the world peace (unless it’ll be truly necessary and the fate of the entire humankind will depend on me, of course), but i dare to think that I will travel. I am planning to visit every little corner of this amazing planet. I realise that it won’t be easy, but the beginning looks really promising, and this kinda gives me wings.

If anybody would have told me, 10 years ago, that one day I will get to visit China, I’m sure I would have said… “Yeah, man! You’re right!”. Anyway, I never thought that this will happen so soon. I have seen a lot of places, but this is one of the most impressing ones and the one that owns a really special place in my heart. And because sharing is caring, I really want to share with you the joy of making my dream come true.

(ro)
In vara lui 2012 o gasca de romani astepta in aeroport cu emotie. Nu sosirea avionului ce avea sa-i duca spre China, ci a pasagerei intarziate pe cale sa rateze exursia. Ce sa fac, e lege ca de fiecare data cand ma grabesc, sa prind toate stopurile pe rosu ( si sa plec tarziu de acasa, dar asta ramane intre noi). Intr-un final, tragand dupa mine ditai valiza, care, dupa dimensiune, ar fi meritat un loc in avion si nu la cala (ca ai fi putut sa juri ca am asuns acolo cel putin 2 chinezi), am ajuns in aeroport si toata lumea a rasuflat usurata.

Prima escala: Frankfurt. De acolo ne mai desparteau nici mai mult, nici mai putin de 13 ore de Shanghai. Am avut noroc de un avion mare( atat de mare incat parca aveam oarecare dubii ca acea chestie cu aripi o sa se desprinda vreodata de sol ) si de un zbor lung…foarte lung….cel mai lung. Numai bine ca am avut timp sa studiez oamenii din jur, majoritatea chinezi. Exista un mit conform caruia toti arata la fel. Ei bine, busted! Nici vorba de asa ceva. Chinezoaicele sunt de o frumusete si delicatete aparte, care ma duce cu gandul la povestile cu gheishe, pe cand chinezii…hmmm, e clar ca nu as putea vreodata sa ma indragostesc de vreun mister Pink.

Am calatorit impreuna cu soarele, care ne-a insotit tot drumul, si, intr-un final, iata-ne debarcati pe aeroportul din Shanghai. Primul soc: clima. Aveam impresia ca am intrat intr-o sera. Caldura mare, mon cher, iar de umezeala nici nu mai zic. Hai ca-i un inceput promitator, cat de cat pe gustul meu.

Ne urcam in autocar si o luam spre hotel. Calatorind intr-o tara comunista, ma asteptam sa ma lovesc de o lume aflata undeva cu cativa ani in urma tarii „occidentale” a carei mandru cetatean sunt, asta pentru ca, desi nascuta in 90, nu am ramas netinuta la curent cu nefericita situatie de pe vremea lui Ceasca.
Ei bine, surpriza! M-am trezit intr-un peisaj rupt parca din The Jetsons ( nu stiu daca va mai amintiti desenele animate). Zgarie nori peste zgarie nori, autostrazi suspendate peste autostrazi suspendate…ma uitam atenta pe geam pentru ca eram absolut sigura ca la un moment dat urmeaza sa apara si un OZN de undeva.

China e una dintre marile puteri mondiale si, cu siguranta, emana asta prin toti porii!

(en)
In the summer of 2012, a big excited romanian gang was waiting in the Henry Coanda International Airport, in Bucharest. Not for the plane that was going to fly them to their chinese adventure, but for the girl who was so late, that she almost missed the flight. What can I do, shit happens and I think there is a curse that makes all the stops red, every time i’m in a hurry (the truth is this is just a stupid excuse, but this will be our secret). Finally, me and my huge red luggage (which, by size, would have deserved a seat in the airplane and not at the dock, because it looked like it was hiding two small chinese people inside) have arrived and everybody was relieved.

The first stop: Frankfurt. And from that point, not more than 13 hours separated us from our final destination: Shanghai. Our plane was the biggest that I’ve ever seen. Really, it was so huge, I kinda doubted it could ever fly, even if it had wings. But the miracle happened and I must admit we really enjoyed that log…very long…the longest flight ever. The good part was that I had plenty of time to study all the people around me, most of them chinese. Talking about the myth that they all look the same… Oh well, busted! This is a huuuge lie. While the chinese women all seemed to have a special beauty and delicacy, the men…well, I can’t imagine myself falling in love with a chinese prince charming…ever.

Anyway, we traveled together with the sun, and we finally landed in Shanghai. Our first shock: the climate. I felt like I was in a greenhouse. It was so so hot and humid, but I’m a heat lover, so I was ok with that.

Next, we got into the bus and left to our hotel. Considering that I was traveling in a communist country, I was expecting to kinda travel back in time, into an underdeveloped world, as my parents used to describe Romania in her communist days. Oh well…surprise! I don’t know if you still remember the cartoons, but I had the sensation that I have arrived in a Jetson’s world. Everywhere I looked around, only skyscrapers, hanging highways and I can bet I even saw an UFO ( not really…but you get the ideea).

China is one of the world’s greatest powers and it exhales that through all her pores!

(ro)
Dupa ce ne-am incarcat bateriile cu vreo 2 ore de somn, cu harta in mana am luat-o la pas prin oras, iar ceea ce avea sa urmeze nu se poate numi altfel decat „4 ardeleni in Shanghai”. Suna a banc …si asa a si fost. Ne-am ratacit si „dezratacit”, ne-am afundat intr-o mare de chinezi grabiti si intr-un final am ajuns la metrou. Am zis ca e o idee buna, ca dupa atatia ani de Bucuresti, metroul nu mai are cum sa reprezinte o taina pentru mine, dar ajunsi intr-o statie gen Piata Unirii dusa la un cu totul alt nivel, m-am razgandit instant. A fost o adevarata aventura sa luam biletele si sa nimerim metroul bun. Am dat peste o gramada de oameni bine intentionati, dornici sa ne ajute, dar prea putini erau vorbitori de limba engleza. Ca noroc ca limbajul semnelor functioneaza al naibii de bine, asa ca intr-un final am scos-o la capat si am ajuns la prima destinatie: Gara Long Yang.

Din nou, orice asemanare cu Gara de Nord este de prisos. Nu mi-am imaginat niciodata o gara atat de high-tech. Aici am asteptat cuminti Maglevul, cel mai rapid tren din lume, care incalca orice limita de viteza, circuland cu aproximativ 430 km/h (putin mai rapid decat sageata noastra, putin…). Ma asteptam sa ma simt ca intr-un roller coaster, cu stomacul in gat si corpul inundat de adrenalina, dar m-am inselat din nou. Singurul indiciu ca ne deplasam cu o viteza naucitoare era peisajul care se vedea blurat pe geam si parea ca nu prea reuseste sa tina ritmul cu noi. Asta da experienta!

(en)
After two hours of sleep, we charged our batteries, and with the map in our hands we started our adventure… or the funny story of four “ardeleni” in Shanghai. In the romanian language , “ardeleni” is the word used to describe the people who live in Transylvania, well known as being clumsy and slow, and the subject of many jokes. And this is exactly what our trip was that day…a joke. We lost ourselves a dozen times, through all those hurried chinese, till we finally made it to the subway station. I used to think that using the subway would be a great idea, considering the fact that I often use this kind of transport back at home, in Bucharest, but it wasn’t. Chinese are nice people and wanted to help us, but they don’t really speak english…or any other language…except the body language (which is not that bad), so it was a real challenge to buy the tickets, to read the signs and get the right subway to our wanted destination: the Long Yang Railway Station.

Again, any comparison with the romanian railway stations is useless. I never imagined such a high tech railway. The Maglev, the chinese high speed train, travels with the unbelievable speed of 430 km/h. Traveling with this train was such an amazing experience! Even if I was expecting some adrenaline, it didn’t feel like a rollercoaster ride at all! The only clue that we have reached the maximum speed was the blurry outside view, which seemed that couldn’t keep up with us.

(ro)
Pentru ca primul „must” a fost bifat, am luat-o usor spre centrul orasului, spre urmatorul obiectiv: Turnul Perla Orientului. Turnul este situat in zona Pudong, la est de raul Huangpu. Avand o inaltime de 468 de metri, poate fi inclus cu usurinta in top 5 cele mai inalte constructii din lume.

Am ajuns seara, asa ca am avut noroc de un impresionant spectaol de lumini. Eram atat de incantati, ca nici nu ne-a mai pasat de ploaia de afara. Dupa o scurta plimbare printre zgarie-norii frumos luminati si pe pietonala suspendata, ne-am luat inima in dinti, ne-am invins frica de inaltime si am urcat in turn. Nu oricum, ci pe o platforma transparenta de sticla, undeva la 300 de metri deasupra orasului. Va spun un lucru: senzatia de a avea Shanghaiul la picioare e de nedescris! Dupa pozele de rigoare si inca vreo cateva sedinte foto cu fanii mei chinezi ( tre’ sa recunosc ca am avut mare succes pe acolo) ne-am relaxat la restaurantul din varful turnului si ne-am linistit stomacul cu mancare traditionala. Pana atunci nu eram eu mare fana de chinezesc, dar recunosc ca m-au convins.

(en)
Because the first “must” on our list was checked, we headed to the city centre, to the next landmark: The Oriental Pearl Tower. The tower is situated in the Pudong area, on the eastern side of the Huangpu river. Considering it’s height, 468 meters, it can easily be included in the top 5 tallest constructions in the world.

We arrived there in the evening, so we were lucky to witness the spectacular lights show. We were so excited, that we hardly noticed that it started to rain. After a short walk among the beautifully lit skyscrapers and the suspended pedestrian, we defied our fear of height and climbed onto the tower’s transparent glass platform, 300 meters above the city. Believe me: having the entire city of Shanghai at my feet was purely madness! After taking a lot of pictures with my chinese fans (I have no idea why, but they all seemed to adore me and ask for pictures, making me feel both like a Holywood star and a monkey at the circus), me and my friends headed to to the tower’s revolving restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious traditional buffet dinner. I must admit that I wasn’t a huge chinese food fan before this trip, because the romanian version of it is absolutely horrible, but that dinner won my heart.

(ro)
Asta a fost prima noastra zi pe taram chinezesc, dar nu o puteam incheia altfel decat in spiritul aventurier in care am inceput-o. Am fost atat de furati de peisaj si de lucrurile care ni se intamplau incat am pierdut notiunea timpului, asa ca pe cand ne-am gandit sa o luam spre hotel…surpriza! Era cam tarziu ca sa mai putem profita de mijloacele de transport in comun. Singura solutie ramasa? Taxiul.

Nu vedeti aventura in asta, nu? Credeti-ma, nu e chiar usor sa te intelegi cu un chinezoi batran, nevorbitor de nicio limba straina, sa te duca acasa. Si da-i si explica, in engleza, in germana, in franceza, prin semne. Nimic! Ca norocul ca ai nostri dragi chinezi inteleg romana. De ce radeti? Nu glumesc. Asta a fost salvarea noastra. Nu ma intrebati de ce sau cum, pur si simplu, cand i-am explicat in romana a inteles. Auzisem asta de la alti turisti romani, dar nu ma gandeam sa fie treaba serioasa. Concluzia zilei: cu romana te descurci oriunde, daca vorbesti putin mai tare!

(en)
That was all for that day, but if everything started as an adventure, how could it end differently? We enjoyed our evening so much, that we had lost track of time, and missed the last metro, so we had no choice, but to take taxi.

You can’t notice the adventure? Well, trust me, it’s nearly impossible to make an old “chinese only” taxi driver understand what you want from him. I’ve tried english, german, spanish, italian… even body language! It was all in vain. When I almost lost my faith, and started thinking about taking another taxi, I decided to play my last card: romanian. Shock shock shock! It worked! Even today I can’t explain how and why, but it seems that those myths about the chinese people who understand you when you talk your native language are perfectly true.

(ro)
A doua zi am luat-o de la capat. Ne-am intors in Pudong, sa luam pulsul orasului si ziua. Cand ajungi intr-un oras cu o populatie de 24 de milioane de locuitori, cu vreo 2 milioane mai mare decat a Romaniei, te astepti sa nu ai loc sa mergi pe strada, sa te bati de cineva la fiecare pas, sa te simti ca intr-o sardina.

Dar cum va spuneam, China e tara in care toate asteptarile iti sunt date peste cap. La ora 12, in centrul Pudongului, plimbandu-se printre zgarie nori vedeai doar 4 ardeleni si inca o mana de turisti rataciti. Prima intrebare care mi-a trecut prin minte: unde naiba sunt chinezii? Simplu, la munca. Uitandu-ma in jur la cladirile de birouri ce se pierdeau in inaltul cerului m-am intrebat: cam cati „corporatristi” ar incapea in turnurile din Shanghai? Ei bine, toti!
In asteptarea grupului plecat sa viziteze turnul pe care noi il vazusem cu o zi inainte, ne-am gandit, ca tot romanul, care se stie ca e mare amator de shopping, sa dam o tura pe la mall-ul din centrul Shanghaiului. Am intrat intr-un mic orasel, cam cat Afi, Baneasa si Promenada la un loc. In cautarea sfintei Zara, nu am reusit sa dam decat de Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Fendi si alte firme fistichii, cu preturi de iti inmoaie genunchii. Comunisti zici? Se pare ca vremurile cozilor la paine si la oua sunt de mult apuse in Republica Socialista China.

Intr-un final ne reunim cu grupul si ghidul nostru, Felix ( fara legatura cu al nostru Felix Motanul). Chinez de treaba domnul Felix, chiar daca de la un moment dat l-am suspectat ca ar fi vorbitor secret de limba romana si securist. Ca o fi fost adevarat, sau pura paranoia romaneasca, nu cred ca vom sti vreodata. In fine, am lasat in urma zgarie norii si am plecat sa vizitam o parte mai traditionala a Chinei: Templul lui Buddha din Jad si Gradinile Yu. Abia acum incepea sa semene cu ceea ce imi inchipuisem eu.

(en)
On our second day in Shanghai we returned to Pudong, just to visit the city during daytime. When you get to visit a city with a 24 millions population (2 millions more than my entire country) you expect to face crazy crowded streets, noise and agitation. But as I said, China’s full of surprises. In the middle of the day, around 12Am, in the centre of Pudong, there was no one in the streets…no one! Just us, the fantastic four, and a small bunch of tourists. Where did all the chinese people disappear? That was my one and only question. But considering that there was no one around to answer, I just looked at all those shiny skyscrapers and instantly got it: they are all working!

While waiting for the rest of our romanian group to visit the tower we had seen the day before, I thought, as a great amateur of shopping, that it would be a very nice idea to take a tour at the mall, situated downtown Shanghai. But in search of the holy Zara, I only managed to find Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Fendi and other fancy shops, with prices that made my knees melt. Communists you said? It seems that the times of queues for bread and eggs are long gone in the Socialist Republic of China.

Finally, we reunited with our group and our guide, Felix. A very nice guy, this Mr. Felix, even if at some point I suspected him to be a secret Romanian speaker and a secret Chinese security agent. If it was true, or pure Romanian paranoia, I do not think we will ever know. But finally, we left behind all those skyscrapers and headed to a more traditional part of China: The Jade Buddha Temple and the Yu Gardens. Only now, what I seen started to resemble what I had imagined.

(ro)
Templul, vechi de 100 si ceva de ani este ascuns printre cladirile moderne, contrastul asta dintre vechi si nou dandu-i un suflu aparte. Ne-am plimbat printre pagode, pe coridoare inguste, ornate cu felinare rosii si statuete reprezentand personaje sfinte si ne-am imbatat de mirosul betigaselor parfumate. Intr-un final, ajungem la marea atractie, statuia lui Buddha din jad, o imensitate de vreo 300 de kg din piatra alba care, oricat de aproape sau departe ai fi de cele sfinte, iti cam taie rasuflarea.

Aici am aflat si informatii de baza despre religia buddhista, despre care, spre rusinea mea, nu stiam prea multe. Am aflat cu stupoare ca Buddha poate fi orice persoana ce ajunge la un anumit stadiu de dezvoltare personala si isi descopera iluminarea, chiar daca denumirea este folosita in general pentru a-l desemna pe fondatorul budismului, Siddhartha Gautama. Fascinant! Desi, un Dumnezeu atat de „accesibil”, ar putea parea, pentru un crestin de rand, putin blasfemic. Religia asta ce se invarte in jurul Kharmei si a vietii de dupa moarte nu are cum sa nu-ti trezeasa dorinta de a aprofunda si de a afla mai multe.

Dupa turul de rigoare, am avut putin timp si pentru meditatie, dar cum sa meditezi cand calugarii din templu, in ale lor halate portocalii, ne dadeau tarcoale, incercand sa se hotarasca carei gagici din grup sa-i zambeasca mai dragut. Adevarul e ca ne-am amuzat si, pe langa asta, am inteles ca vorba aia cu‚ fa ce zice popa, nu ce face popa’, se aplica indiferent de religie.

(en)
The 100 years old temple was hidden among modern buildings, so that the contrast between old and new, gave it very special vibe. Guided by the scent of the wooden fragrant sticks, we walked along the pagodas, through narrow corridors, decorated with red lanterns and statuettes representing Chinese holy characters, till we finally arrived to the great attraction: the Jade Buddha statue. Made of 300 kilograms of white stone, it was absolutely breathtaking!

Here we were also presented some very basic information about the Buddhist religion, about which, to my shame, I did not know much. I have been astonished that the Buddha can be any person who reaches a certain stage of personal development and discovers enlightenment, even if the name is generally used to designate the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama. Even if for a Christian, such an “accessible” God may seem a little blasphemous, i found this so fascinating! This awakened my desire to deepen and learn more about this religion that revolves around the Kharma and the afterlife.

After the tour was finished, we also had a little time for meditation. But how could we meditate when some of the temple monks, dressed in their orange robes, were smiling and giggling to every girl of the group. The truth is that they were so cute and amusing, and besides that, they made us understand that the old Romanian saying “do what the pope says, not what the pop does” should apply regardless of religion.

(ro)
Lasam templul in urma si ne indreptam spre Gradinile Yu. Atmosfera de pe stradutele inghesuite si colorate ce duc spre gradini, chinezariile vandute la colt de strada, felinarele rosii, fast-food-urile ambulante cu mancare chinezeasca, toate ma fac sa zambesc. Asta-i China pe care am asteptat-o!

Gradinile Yu, ce se intind pe o suprafata de 6 hectare au fost construite in timpul dinastiei Ming, operatiunea durand vreo 20 de ani. Un sfert de viata de om, dar zic ca a meritat. Ele au fost mai apoi distruse partial in timpul razboiului Opiumului, a rebeliunii Taiping si a invaziei japoneze din 1942 si reconstruite 20 de ani mai tarziu.

Nu sunt o mare fana a gradinilor, dar locul asta m-a dat pe spate! Unde te uiti, numai case cu acoperisuri construite in stil chinezesc, fantani, podete, lacuri cu pesti si o vegetatie crescuta parca la intamplare, dar totusi intr-un mod foarte bine pus la punct. Pentru prima oara in viata mea am inteles care-i treaba cu feng shui-ul.

Si pentru ca nici prea multa relaxare nu face bine, am lasat gradinile in urma si am plecat in croaziera pe raul Huangpu, unde, la granita dintre Bund si Pudong, ne-am putut bucura de o panorama superba a orasului.
Ne-am debarcat pe malul inca nevizitat, in Bund, intampinati de o arhitectura mai putin futurista si mai apropiata de cea europeana (din cate am inteles, un vecin ungur este „vinovat” de aspectul cladirilor vechilor banci chinezesti, imi pare rau ca nu-mi amintesc numele).

Incetisor, incetisor, am ajuns si in French Concession, o zona cocheta si plina de terase, ce aduce mai degraba a Paris, decat a China, un fel de Dorobanti sau Decebal al lor. Dupa cafeluta si croissantul de rigoare ( a fost sushi si bere da nu se pupa cu frantuzismul situatiei) am zis sa ne avantam si la putin entertainment. Recomandarea zilei: spectacolul de acrobatie.
Am fost putin reticenta, trebuie sa recunosc, dar mi-am zis ce naiba, o data am ocazia asta. Nu va mint, dar mi s-au umflat palmele de la atatea aplauze. A fost ceva senzational. Emotie, suspans, forta, echilibru, dans, altfel spus, spectacol! Am avut senzatia ca toate Nadiile planetei erau stranse acolo, in seara respectiva, ca sa ne impresioneze.

O seara reusita, ce mai! Dar era ultima in Shanghai si un singur obiectiv era neindeplinit: Nanjing Road. Asta este principala artera de shopping din Shanghai si pun pariu ca macar o data ati gasit pe net o poza cu ea si cu sutele de reclame luminoase. Aveam imaginea ei fixata pe retina inca de cand eram in tara.
Eram rupti de oboseala, dar nu aveam de ales… morti-copti, trebuia sa ajungem acolo! Ne-am urcat intr-un taxi, ca deja aveam experienta, si am pornit la drum. Cand am ajuns acolo, ce sa vezi? Era ora 23 si se stie ca localnicii tin la somnul de frumusete, prin urmare nici urma de lumina, totul era inchis, doar un KFC mai intretinea atmosfera la colt de strada. Oarecum dezamagiti, am luat-o spre casa, nu inainte insa de a da o tura cu ricsa, cel mai ‚la moda’ mijloc de transport de acolo. Costa doar un euro si distractia e garantata.

V-am povestit atat si parca nici nu-mi vine sa cred ca e doar inceputul. Sper ca v-a placut si ca v-am trezit apetitul de China. Va las sa digerati si promit sa revin cat de curand cu restul povestii. Va pregatesc peisaje din Avatar, soldati de teracota, Marele Zid….o nebunie, ce mai:D
PS: Cand rascolesti prin amintiri, ti se umple sufletul de fluturi. Pacat ca nu-mi puteti vedea zambetul de pe fata.

(en)
Leaving the temple and the cute monks behind, we head for the Yu Gardens. The atmosphere of the crowded and colorful streets that led to the gardens, the Chinese street-venders, the red lanterns, the Chinese food, all these make me smile. This is China that I’ve been waiting for!

The Yu gardens, which stretch over an area of 6 hectares, were built during the Ming Dynasty and the operation took about 20 years. A quarter of a man’s life, but I think it’s worth it. They were later destroyed during the Opium war, the Taiping rebellion and the Japanese invasion of 1942 and rebuilt 20 years later.

Usually, I’m not very into gardens, but this place is was lit! All around you could see traditional buildings, amazing fountains, wood sculpted bridges, fish ponds, and a vegetation that seemed so wild, but at the same time so on point. For the first time in my life, I understood what that feng shui thing really is.

And because even when it comes to relaxation, no excess is recommended, we left the gardens behind and went on a cruise on the Huangpu River where, on the border between Bund and Pudong, we could admire a beautiful city landscape.
After that, we disembarked on the unexplored shore, in Bund, where we were welcomed by a less futuristic architecture, closer to the European one (as I understood, one of our Hungarian neighbors is “guilty” of the old Chinese banks’ architecture… too bad I can’t remember his name).

Soon, we arrived in the French Concession, a cozy and cosmopolitan area that felt more like Paris rather than China. After the mandatory “coffee and croissant” (as a matter of fact, it was sushi and beer, but these wouldn’t match the French vibe of my story) we thought that it was time for a little entertainment. Our guide’s recommendation: the Chinese acrobatic show.

I have to admit that I was not so excited about that because I thought that it will be just a big touristic bullshit, but then I told myself what the hell, let’s try this too! And it was the best decision ever! Believe me, I was so amazed and applauded so hard, that my hands were swallowed at the end of the show. It was sensational! Emotion, suspense, strength, balance, dance, in other words, show! I had the feeling that all the Nadias (Nadia Comaneci) of the world gathered there that evening to impress us.

What an evening! But it was the last one in Shanghai and one of my tourist goals was still unfulfilled: Nanjing Road. This is the main shopping artery of Shanghai and I bet that, at least once, you’ve seen a picture of its hundreds and hundreds of lights and bright billboards on the internet. I had this image in my mind ever since I started dreaming about China and getting there was a must do for me.
We were tired so so tired, but we didn’t have a choice … dead or alive, we had to get there! We got into a taxi, as we already had experience, and we headed to Nanjing Road. But when we got there…surprise! It was 11PM and all the locals were already enjoying their beauty sleep, so that there was no trace of lights or billboards…everything was closed! Only a lonely KFC was “heating” the atmosphere, at the corner of the street. Somewhat disappointed, we returned back home, but not before a late rickshaw ride. This is the most popular mean of transport in China, it costs just one euro and the fun is guaranteed.

(to be continued)

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7 comments

  1. Wow! Cititnd cele de mai sus, reinvie toate sentimentele pe care le-am avut vizitand locurile descrise de tine, in “drumetia” mea in China (mai putin experienta “taxi”, pe care nu am avut-o). Multumesc! Urmeaza sa dau o “raita” in albumul de poze 🙂 Si – pe bune, scrii minunat!

    Like

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