“Holiday” is probably the best word on every student’s lips. And I already started mine which was going to be one I had never experienced. Being an alien to China, I was surprised as the stores slowly began to close and the streets which formerly expressed China’s numbers now reflected their traditional beliefs. I did not know what to do but stock up on food that would be more than sufficient till this period was over.
A week went by and all I did daily was sleep, eat, watch movies, and read comics; a life I imagined was ideal a week ago but was now monotonous and tiresome. Then, a friend –Baolin- whom I made just before the semester invited me to his city. Those words instigated my first adventure and the next day I went with a friend to book the next available train tickets for the train leaving three days later. Those days flew by and in no time, I was in Jinhua with Baolin and two of her other friends –Xinyi and Xinyu welcoming me. The bus ride to the hotel was quiet because they were rather uncomfortable and so was I after all I couldn’t help my poor Chinese but this silence let me see the interesting difference between this city and Wenzhou. After checking in, some more of Baolin friend’s showed up namely Lai and Xin.
The first place we went to was the museum after we had our fill of hot pot. We first tried out the culture section of the city which had a lot of write ups of the ancient city and pictures of past people. One of the write ups which Baolin could translate talked about the selling of brown sugar to foreigners at Yiwu which is a part of this city, another spoke of a famous painter from Jinhua. That section also had a model of the city as well as a model of the kiln they used. One of the most impressive things I saw was the holographic representation of the court system of ancient Jinhua. After that, we headed to the dinosaur section which had various soil samples and impressive dinosaur bones, fossils and exact scale sized model of dinosaurs. This area of the museum was particularly designed to resemble a cave in the Mesolithic period. Finally, we went to see the old court of Jinhua which was a part of the city that was preserved to look exactly how it was hundreds of years ago. Although I wanted to take some photos, pictures weren’t allowed in that area.
The next day I had arranged with Baolin to go to the Zhejiang Normal University, but she was busy so I went with my other friend Shirley and we took a walk around while she gave me a tour of the school. We went past their sports complexes and lake but there wasn’t really much to see other than the million dollar sculpture of pink, wavy poles which in my opinion greatly resembled flamingoes. As a result, the tour was really short, and since we had some more time, we took a bus to the city’s center where we took a couple of selfies. To my amazement there was a large shopping mall complex with hordes of people in every corner and stall but, Shirley being unsure of where we wanted to go decided that we walked around. While walking around, we saw a market which sold some food items particular to the Spring festival and went to taste test some biscuits; then we went around and saw the night market which ran all through the night and that ended my adventure for the night.
As the next day ushered in, my time in JInhua was coming to an end but I had a few hours to see a few more sites. So, we visited the Rainbow Bridge, Twin Dragon Bridge, and the Opera theatre which had beautiful architectural features from outside, before I took a train to Huzhou for one more round of sightseeing.
The next morning in Huzhou Lyn – a friend of mine, came with a couple of her friends one of which was Shu. Shu’s english made communication a bit easier between us and we headed out to first see YIshang Street which greatly resembled Food Street at Wenzhou. Next, we went to visit a church and as a Christian, it was great seeing Chinese Christians. Finally, we went to the city’s centre which was also a mall which got me wondering if all Chinese cities followed this trend. At the end of the day I got on a train and returned to Wenzhou.
Though this trip was short it showed me a lot about the Chinese I never got to see like their history, gave me better understanding of their cultures and their openness towards visitors. While China might be growing it certainly is a place dotted with modern beauty intertwined with its past legacy. And though our cultures might be different there’s still room friendship.