September 03, 2006

Getting away from work

Even for me (in a dead-end job) that doesn't seem to be possible.

When I took up the plan of coming here for my holiday, reactions varied from 'wow, great!' to 'omg, how could you even consider going there by yourself?! You're crazy!'. The first one is the right one of course.

However, I got the second one much much more than I expected. Especially at the office. Everyone there was shocked and couldn't believe I was actually really going to go off holidaying by myself. Surprising, I thought, because my colleagues are all foreigners who've left their own country in pursuit of a career somewhere else. Admittedly, moving to the Netherlands doesn't score very high on the adventure-ranking.

Anyway, a lot of people have been suitably impressed but have also urged me to give some sign of life while on the road to let them know I'm doing okay.

So, me being the good girl that I am, I just sent out a long email to a group of people there telling them what I've been up to (because giving them my blog-url is taking things a step too far!).


Jules said...

"Admittedly, moving to the Netherlands doesn't score very high on the adventure-ranking." hahahaha! that made me laugh!

Actually, even moving to the Netherlands does take bravey - I think that anyone who leaves their home country is rather brave.

I'm glad you went on this trip though - hope you've been taking lots of photos to share when you get back!!

cheruchan said...

Long email with more details? gimme gimme!! Good to see you are enjoying yourself, I don't know if I would dare to go to China on my own.. :) Goed hoor ;)xx

machiruda said...

Especially for cheru (it's got more of the proper touristy tales which I will bore you with when I get home ;):

"I'm at the end of my first week but so far it's been pretty amazing. It's actually very different from what I expected. I spent four days in Beijing but that city is so much poorer than what I was expecting. It being the capital, I somehow imagined it to be much more like Tokyo, or at least Hong Kong or Seoul. It's not at all. It's very smoggy and dirty, incredibly chaotic (and not in a good way), and apart from a small-ish business district the city looks very poor. It's interesting to see how the city is completely aimed at the 2008 Olympics. Everything has that as its motto and there's a huge amount of construction going on (making the city even dustier!). It will really be a different place in a few years. But I seriously doubt whether they can pull it off without any major adjustment problems!

That said, it's an impressive place. The Forbidden City is huge and you can just loose yourself wandering through all the buildings and corridors and alleyways. The Great Wall is even more impressive. I had planned to do a hike from one point to another but unfortunately I wasn't able to do that so I ended up at the most famous and touristy place at Badaling. Despite all the tourists there it is a gorgeous place. It really looks like the postcards: green mountains with the wall and it's watch towers snaking across them. Very very cool.

I'm now in Xi'an - another major city - where I'm staying with a friend. I've been shown around here by some of her students and it's been really interesting to talk to some local Chinese. Yesterday I visited the Terracotta Warriors - again, very impressive! The way there was quite something too. I ended up taking a local Chinese bus (I don't think I've ever been on a bus that shakes and rattles so much, but hey, I survived!) and got a quick look at the Chinese countryside. China is supposed to be the number two economy by now I think but that really is only statistics. Besides Hongkong and maybe Shanghai (where I'll be in two weeks) the rest of the country doesn't show any sign of having money and being so powerful. It really is a third world country and in a way that's very fascinating but also very confronting."