Chinese Smile with No Birds
30 September, 2013
Chinese Smile with No Birds
I was in China. I can hardly believe it while I am typing this article. Changchun was my first city of introduction. Wow! I could only dream of this city. Pourqoui pas? I thought of being in a dream even when I was there.
Ok. Let’s start from the very beginning. The trip was too long, no shorter than the journey to America. However, we had a nice opportunity to rest in Turkey as the waiting time permitted us to
do it and we had a nice trip to the Bosporus Strait. Hagia (Aya) Sophia was closed and therefore, in the aftermath, we amended our touristic itinerary by setting off to the blue mosque, which is gorgeous on its own, though I had seen it before. However, Istanbul is my favorite city and Turkey – my first foreign country, therefore, I have special feelings towards this country.
Then was another, huge Beijing airport and at last, in the midnight, we found ourselves in the province of Jilin, Northern Chinese town of Changchun with two local guys waving cardboards with my and my friend’s names . “At least, we are home”, I thought. However, my female friend’s nostalgia began almost immediately. Maybe, it’s because she is married. I had a chance to take my friend with me and on her behalf I also thank the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China because it was a wonderful opportunity for us both. Here, if you smile, somebody may take you for a dupe or at least a flirt. How different we are! This diversity is amazing. However, I believe that smile makes things easier. One more big and funny diversity is that we say in Georgian: “smile and a bird will fly out”, which means that your picture will be taken by a camera. Here everybody smiles but there are no birds flying. Isn’t it strange?
There are no stray dogs and cats. It’s a big contrast compared with Georgia and Turkey. What has really astonished us were three-wheeled cars, which we saw only in this town, so small, so different, once again accentuating their peculiarity. Among the initial impressions was the collapse of the myth of Chinese people being very short – in Changchun in particular, which is the Northern part close to Mongolia, the average height of a person equals almost that of a Georgian. There are tall people as well. I myself saw few girls of nearly my size (I am 177 centimeters). I didn’t see any fat men. I think this has to do with their proper lifestyle. They eat at regular hours, do not like pastry and sweets and do physical exercise. Most importantly, they are not lazy bones and get up early, are full of energy and aim-oriented.
What else? Changchun is the university town. There are a lot of students. When we were visiting the campus, a lot of them surrounded us asking us the permission to take photos with us. They are very modest and humble by nature. Although, the religion came from India to China and is not strongly rooted in their culture, they are all very kind; they believe in beauty and peace.
Changchun is a province but it exceeds the entire Georgia with its population of 7 million people. It is well tended and green. All cities of China have wonderful flower culture. It is also the place where Waltz Wagons are made. Here people get married as we do – on Saturdays and Sundays. The average temperature in fall is 13-16 degrees Celsius. The town has a wonderful history museum, which displays specimens of endemic animals that look as real and alive. Beginning from the fearful wild predators and ending with most beautiful butterflies’ collection, it is a nice place, where you feel authentic atmosphere. And you feel safe and happy that Nobody is gonna eat you up after all! It’s gorgeous!
What about the cuisine? Everybody knows Chinese cooking. Of course, it is great; it has its own original flavors, sauces, different technique of preparing meat. If you are a female (since in Georgia it is mostly women who cook), you are naturally interested to observe and see how the dishes are prepared. However, one of the main oriental mysteries is hidden here. I think they will not teach you how to cook and it is not a very polite way to ask either. However, the variety of white and yellow rice (myself giving a preference to the second one), as well as lamp with cumin and ink-fish are my Chinese favorites, as well as spinach. One of the main mysteries that is clearly visible is that they use a lot of oil, while they do not eat bread and cheese, which radically differs from ours. One more detail: after each and every meal Chinese drink a glass of boiled water.
In the next issues I will tell you about picturesque Shanghai and Beijing, as well as some other secrets of Chinese happiness. So, I hope you enjoyed this journey with me and are looking forward to the next ones. Yours truly...
Millions of thank you to the Chinese Embassy and its Economic Department for its invitation and support, as well as to our Chinese hosts, who received us so cordially in the P1eople’s Republic of China.

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