Into the mad melee

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Jun 04, 2006

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Flag of China  ,
Saturday, October 15, 2005

Getting off a bus in China is always a bit of pot luck as to exactly which bit of town this bus driver with this bus has decided to terminate his journey at. It's all part of the fun of arriving somewhere you've never been before, yet one thing you can say for towns in this part of the Pearl River Delta is that they're remarkably similar. It was all there in a full on assault of my nostrils, the home cooking, the dust, the factories, the humidity. There is a pungent aroma to this part of the World that makes it instantly recognisible, yet which I'd forgotten about so used to it had I become whilst I was living here. It was a bit like meeting an old friend.

For a few hours I had to entertain myself, try to get used to speaking Chinese again and tune the brain in to an old, new wavelength. Chang'an isn't so westernised as some places in the area and the ritual staring in astonishment at the sight of a foreigner was there for me to "enjoy" all over again. Similarly, there were crazy motorcyclists up and down the pavement, cyclists and tri-cyclists vacantly proceding across the flow of the traffic at a snails pace, honking air horns on lorries that look permanently set to collapse and the counterpoint of the sharp taxi drivers hooting as they tout for a fare.

Everything was happening so fast, it felt as if I wasn't there, yet I recognised all the sights and sounds and felt at home amongst them, albeit that this part of Southern China won't be winning any beauty pageants. I wasn't seeing things with the shock and surprise of a new visitor to this type of environment, yet it was passing me by even though I was quite happy to wander around in it. It was the reverse of the sensation I'd had when I'd returned to work in the UK after a year away which begs all sorts of questions about where I belong and feel at home. Now is not the time to contemplate all that though, first things first I've just got to tune in and then meet Joy.
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