Saturday, April 4, 2009

Last Post --I've been Shanghaied

This will be the last post for Transitions.  On Friday, I leave for Shanghai where I will be visiting for a few months on an extended business trip.   From what I understand, Blogger (the application I have been using for this blog and the previous one, Chennai Journal)  is blocked in China, so I am in the process of seeking out alternative arrangements for a new blog, yet to be named. Unfortunately, my first choice, Chabuduo, a quintessential Chinese word I learned years ago, was already taken.  Chabuduo, as explained to me, means "almost" or "nearly", but often in a kind of puckish way---as in  "the car almost runs."  The characters (which I haven't figured out how to import to Blogger) are identical to the Japanese meaning, although this is not a word that I've seen in that language.  Well, maybe using this as a name isn't such a good omen, after all, and a better one awaits--though Shanghai Journal was also not available.  

My first trip to China was almost exactly 25 years ago, in  1984.  I made two that year--one just about this time of year, to Beijing and Chengdu, deep in the Chinese interior in Sichuan Province (home of the famous panda bears), and the second a couple of months later.  Neither airport was yet modernized, and in Beijing we stayed in a hotel that was under construction--in fact, as I recall, pretty much everything was under construction.  I don't remember much about Beijing itself, other than going to Tiananmen Square (this was five years before the massacre) and then later to the Great Wall, but on the first trip we took a flight to Chengdu on an old Russian plane.  It was packed, and none of the overhead compartment doors  closed, mainly because they were overstuffed and/or broken from previous overstuffing.  All kinds of baggage, clothing, and produce was hanging out of them, and went flying as the plane took off.  The plane had not a single empty seat, so the stewardesses had to stand the whole time, including during takeoff.  It was nervewracking but we got there, and back.    

I have been back a few times since, most recently  a few years ago when I visited Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.  The change was amazing, at least in the infrastructure, and from what I understand every month  brings more.  Yet, despite the surface change, many things about China hadn't seemed to alter---which isn't at all surprising given what a blip in time 20 years is in the course of Chinese history.   It will be interesting to be on the ground for a little while and dig into things more, as well as to contrast China to my recent time in India.  Marty is also looking forward to visiting--fortunately, he likes Chinese food a lot better than he did south Indian. 


1 comment:

Danie said...

I have blog readers in China. They access my blog by going to then typing in the address. Try it to blog.

Also, you can email your blog posts to Blogger.

Have a great trip!