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Do keep in mind, China operates in it’s own. There are plenty of people who speak Chinese (There is no language called Chinese but for easy of use I’d call it Chinese hereon). They get what ever that is there in rest of the world made in their own country. They produce their own, they operate their own basically most of them do not see a reason to keep in touch with the outside of China. Does not mean that they are hostile to you, sort of most welcoming crowd of people I met. But that is a different story.

Cathey Airways said Ni hao and we stepped into Canton. It was pretty big and part of it was under construction. It was pretty busy. Both of us had little bit of Yuan in our hand. We needed some cash to get by. Well not at Canton but when we get into Xi’an (our destination). Alas they explained to us that they do NOT exchange travellers Cheques. The situation was kind of funny. When my colleague gave them the cheque they looked at her with curious eyes. Then said something that none of us understood. we looked at each other and gave the cheque again. Again the same results they hand it back to us this time laughing at us. Then they said “No no, only US dollar, US dollars” We knew that we are screwed. In a strange country without money. However we called our colleague at Xia’an, who gave us some relief by saying, at Xi’an airport we can get the cheque exchanged.

However that was nothing. We were told by the slightly English speaking airport staff that we must go to the terminal 117 (as i remember) to get the boarding pass and from their to the plane. So we were standing in a queue where plenty of Chinese (by plenty i mean hundreds of them clustered around) around us. Only to look at us and to laugh among themselves. It was kind of humiliating. All I can think was, may be our dark skin and big eyes looked hideous to them. Who knows? Then a lady who seems to be from the airport staff came to us and took our e-ticket then she said in CHINESE, something. Well it was not helpful because we didn’t understand. However she felt our uneasiness then looked around and spoke to another man in uniform who said that this was not the place that they issue boarding passes. Thanking them we turned back, looked for the counter, got the tickets and got into the plane.

It was a Chinese domestic plane. Looking outside the window it occurred to me, I am really going into a strangers’ land. Where I will have to master my sign language and read their minds in order to get by.

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Ni Hao

So I am back in Sri Lanka. With exams nearing and having to be a lazy head all this while now the exam fever really hicking I am really running out of time to write in here about my visit to China.

My stat shows that I am getting some readers who seems to be visiting the blog once every week. My apologies to you. I will write as soon as I finish my exams (which is in May). So sorry. Please bear with me for one more month.

I will right about China and how it went, really loads to tell.

By the way second thoughts about the blog title. No I am STILL a VEGETARIAN but China was not than food.

Till then Take care of yourselves and do visit my blog and write on “The Chinese Wall

Bai Bai

All set and am ready

So I am all set to go. Flight at night. Bags packed. Eh.. I think.

Wish me luck!!!

Looking forward to get my work done and have a good time.

Count down begins

8 more days and things are heating up. Sri Lanka is getting warmer each day. I am sort of looking forward to go to China. Heard the visa got through. Phew now that was a relieve.

This is my first time to China (Oh well that’s not new, hence the blog). So I learned that for a first time visitor from Sri Lanka, since we fall under a one perticuler category of countries, we are required to have an immigration letter, which is also known as the RED STAMP LETTER. This letter is issued by the immigration office in China addressing the Chinese embassy here in Sri Lanka. This letter has to be requested by the inviting party in China. Also an invitation letter, stating the reason to visit China is needed to process the visa.

The visa form was quite easy to fill. Only two pages. No brainer.

Today we sorted the itinerary.

We are planning to go to China on the Saturday and hope to get our official work done. Then once we are done with it, we are going to take the night train to Kunming,the Spring city. Yes people night train. I am really thrilled about this. I am going to stay up all night long and hopefully it’s going to be a starry night (please please please let it be starry).

If you didn’t know I LOVE THE TRAIN and the night train is a BONUS.

I really am very very very EXCITED !!!

It’s COOOOLD !!!

To discuss the matters regarding the event I called up our Chinese coordinator from Xi’an. After the official matters were cleared and sorted I asked him about the weather

Me: “eh..by the way how’s the weather in China these days?”
He: “emmm its COOOOOLD”
Me: “COLD? but its spring. how come?”
He: “Well its getting warmer, but still its very cold”

(I was speechless and thought to myself, damn they were right. They in the sense those who travelled before me)

Me:”meh?”
He: “Yes its cold. you will have to wear heavy coats”
Me: “heavy coats. But its spring? oh well you are the one living there. What can i say?”
He: “yup its cold”
Me: “in spring?”
He: “in spring too”

So my friends, apparently in mid March it is going to be cold. Which means I really do have to wear my heavy and thick layered coat. I mean it is damn heavy and I seriously will need to have strength the wear the thing. What am I going to do?

Will the Melons give me strength?

Will Buns satisfy my hunger?

Will it be unbearably cold and make me want to eat anything?

Above all will my “vegetarianism” survive?

Will I give it up for FOOD?

Keep visiting the blog let’s discover it together.

I am a vegetarian. No not a vegan. Hence I can still have milk products.

I am not a born vegetarian and in my family I am the only one who is. In 2007 January I suddenly felt that “Ah today is a good day to be a vegetarian” and with that thought I became one. No not really. The decision was sudden and so far I am sticking to it and I really don’t have a solid answer to give if someone ask me “why are you vegetarian?”.

Then this year January I got to know that I am in the organizing committee for an event in Xi’an, China which will be held in December . Xi’an is one of the historically valued cities in China. It is known for the almost lively looking Terra Cotta Worriers. Also the Da Ci’an temple with Buddhist pagoda’s Buddhist halls, bell tower, drum tower and many other attractions. I have read and reading about them. Quite excited they all sounds wonderful. The books and Wikipedia may have exaggerated. Therefore I have to see them myself.

So I need energy. Energy comes with food. And of cause those who have travelled previously did come with some useful tips. All amounting to one thing. In Chinese there is no one word for “Vegetarian”. Hence I will have to hunt for vegetables.

No I think I phrased it wrong. China does have vegetables but it comes with pork flakes. According to my friend, Xi’an has a high Muslim population. Still pork flakes? Like salt and pepper? Seriously what am I going to eat?

Few suggestions came from the same group. Take canned fruits and vegetables from home. Or eat buns and the only kind of readily available fruit in China, Melon. I love bun and don’t mind fruits. But I don’t think I want to carry food from home. It is added stress for me.

This is not a laughing matter. Serious crisis. I need food. I need food even when I go to China.

So this March I am going to Xi’an to check out the conference location and ext and to the beautiful Spring city, Kunming. Will be in Xi’an for three to four days and in Kunming two days. While my stay I am planing to walk around and find some spots for vegetarians. Somehow I sceptical about it. But sure is looking forward to do some serious site seeing.

As my Chinese friend said to me I am hoping to “rock in Xi’an”. Dead serious 🙂

Let’s keep the fingers crossed.