I saw a news clip the other night about mainland Chinese workers going home for Chinese Lunar New Year.
In a way, we live on this side of the pond are no different from those who live over the other side. We all yearn to be with our families in festival times. It is just that they have 1.3 billion people over there, and we only have 25 millions or so in Canada.
Our national peak travelling periods are not near as dramatic as theirs.
Someone in Canada even went over to China and made a documentary movie about it, it is named, “The last train home!” I reserved a rental copy from my local library. Found out I was the twenty ninth person in line to view that copy. It will take perhaps a month to be my turn, but what the heck; I put my name in the hat anyways.
One added variety of transportation means is private automobiles these days, this latest addition will surely easy the pressure on the demand of public transports like trains and buses, of course the newly minted rich will surely opt for travelling by air.
While travelling within China, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the sophistication that some of my fellow Chinese travelers displayed. However a couple of times I was quite taken aback by the blatant disregard for their fellow passengers of some people’s behaviors – like a four some of smokers lighted up in front of the men’s room at the far corner of a corridor.
Of course, being a thick skull out of Towner, I raised my concern to the bathroom attendant, all he could do that day to pacify me was mumble something to the effect that they will soon finish their smokes, then the air (we all breathed) would be alright again.
Then I saw this harried father who needed to bring his baby to the bath room, because he had luggage with him, and Chinese travelers in public places rarely make eye contact with you nor ask a favor if you would look after their bags for a minute this post. He just simply lift up his little baby, aimed his ass onto the planter close up, and the kid just blasted away!
One positive sign though, I observed no body spit on the grand looking marble floor, even if one had the urge to clear their throat and spit, they will find a waste basket and spit in it.
Here you have it; they called that airport an international airport, because it does have connecting flight to Taiwan and Hong Kong. Yet that is the way it is, I guess, we all have growing pain in all corners of the world.
I have a most unnerving experience in a train station in Canton; it must be round 1997, October 1st. All I could see was a sea of black hair; they all wanted to buy a ticket to go home. All looked anxious and tired; all have packages and parcels under or around their arms. Me and my brother, two obvious light travelers, and obviously out of place, we felt very uncomfortable being there.
We got out of there fast, got a cab, turned around, and went to the long distance bus depot that provide cross border bus services to Hong Kong, so much of our good intension – to see our ancestral home land through train trips, but it was ill prepared on our part.
To travel peak season in China by trains or buses, besides the fare money, you still need the nerve of steel, not to be ashamed of elbowing some men or women who tried to get past you from behind the queue, you also need the language skill to get out of trouble in case the person wanted to get ahead felt slighted, and initiated a colorful verbal dialogue with you.
Our Chinese Lunar New Year of the Dragon will begin in two days; the whole 1.3 billion of my Chinese brothers and sisters will temporarily put their daily work behind them for a few days or so, go home to be with their families. Just like we do in Christmas.
Happy New Year!