外文标题：Exploring Taizhou With Tina………Part 2
We walked around in the park for some time. It was a huge park, absolutely quiet. Unlike Indian parks teeming with people, basking in the sun, lying down prone and supine, sunning their fronts and rears, playing cards, picnicking, children frolicking around, dogs, urchins and beggars all making hay, here you find only a few people in the parks during working hours.
It being Chinese new year there were almost no people there because Chinese celebrate the new year visiting relatives and friends and having meals, playing cards and bursting crackers together.
I do not know if any religious rituals, poojas (worship) or practices form a part of occasion or not. I have seen some rituals being performed when someone dies and from the sound of bursting of crackers sometimes at very early hours, I believe the Chinese ask the priests about the auspicious hour before starting an important work or a new business venture. In the marriages that I have attended I have not seen any rituals being performed.
In many homes there are statuettes of some deities with electric lights, lamps and burning incense sticks adorning the sanctum but modern generation doesn’t know much about religion. I have read that during Chinese cultural revolution practicing of religion suffered a serious blow as religious practices were likened to paganism and were severely curbed.
Modern day children have little knowledge of the religion their grandparents or parent practiced. Here I have never seen any religious processions or festivity but when I go to the temples I see people praying fervently and seemingly with much more belief than what I see and sense in the actions and activities of the fellow Indians, when I go to the temples in India.
Even though both me and my wife were brought up by the parents who had strong leanings on religion, we could give little of it to our children and I believe many rituals and religious practices and preachings of the religion are being lost to the modern generations even in environments where practicing of religion has constitutional freedom.
In India on holidays and weekends the parks are all the more crowded and at the entry to the park there are stalls and vends selling from food items to toys, fake jewelry, clothes and anything imaginable with litters of garbage, paper cups, candy sticks to everything unimaginable except for good, well maintained toilets.
Here in China no matter where you are, you will find a toilet within hundred meters. With signs showing the directions and depicting their locations everywhere you will find them easy to locate. In public places or in the places not so frequented by the people, you will always find toilets and unlike the pocket pinching European toilets, they are free. In Shanghai there are toilets at every platform level (at each end) at underground Metro stations.
Considering that almost 90% of Shanghai’s Metro network is underground, at places even three levels below the ground, you can imagine the amount of infrastructure required for pumping, handling sewage and this becomes all the more remarkable because of efficient running of exhaust fans ensuring no foul smell anytime anywhere (except at a station that comes one or two stations before Pudong international airport terminal… Hahaha).
All this cannot be achieved without guaranteed twenty four hours power and water supply. Some time ago I read about women in China voicing about inadequate toilet facilities and felt bad for the hardships our women have to undergo and a mere thought of pathetic condition of the public toilets in India turns my mood a darker shade of grey.
We had a light lunch at KFC and walked up to the nearest bus stop. Since we didn’t know where to go, we boarded the first bus that came our way. The bus ride was free on the occasion of New Year.
The bus terminated at a place that looked like an old city. We had landed at the gates of an ancient town of a dynastic ruler. It had a beautiful garden running along the length of a river. A fair was being held there. The place was bustling with festivity. The entry to the park was free that day because of the New Year. There were many people in the park because entry on other days costs 40 RMB per person and Chinese like us won’t mind spending 40 bucks on travel for getting a free entry.
I am not sure if videos can be uploaded in travel blogs. At present even posting the pictures here is quite a job. In any case I don’t have an access to youtube here…….. More in next blog.
Navneetji, you have captured the Chinese life in pictures like how Pearl Buck captured the life in words in her famous novel “The Good Earth”. The availability of public toilets is heartening. That is something missing in India, amongst lots of other things.
【三泰虎注：赛珍珠，直译珀尔·巴克，美国作家。1932年借其小说《大地》（The Good Earth），获得普利策小说奖；1938年获诺贝尔文学奖。她也是唯一同时获得普利策奖和诺贝尔奖的女作家，作品流传语种最多的美国作家。现在中国江苏镇江、安徽宿州、南京大学鼓楼校区等地保留有赛珍珠故居。
赛珍珠，本名珀尔·布克Pearl Sydenstricker Buck，是以中文为母语之一的著名美国作家。赛珍珠以中文姓氏为姓（其父即名赛兆祥），取pearl中文意思珍珠，合成自己的姓氏。赛珍珠出生于弗吉尼亚州西部，4个月后，随传教士父母赛兆祥和卡洛琳来到中国。先后在淮安（清江浦）、镇江、宿州、南京、庐山等地生活和工作了近40年，其中在镇江生活了18年，她在镇江经历了她人生的早期岁月，因此她称镇江是她的“中国故乡”。她童年的大部分时光都在那里度过，首先学会了汉语和习惯了中国风俗，然后她母亲才教她英语。值得一提的是，从幼年起，她就在鼓励声中开始写作——摘自百度百科】
She had written that book a very long time ago and it dealt with poverty and misery in China while I am trying to present the changed face of China through my blogs.I possibly can’t write as well as she did so, I supplement my mediocre writing with some good pictures.
The administration seems to really care for the people unlike here. I am sure the public there also helps keep the toilets clean.
Nice pics Navneet. I enjoy reading your posts on China.
Yes Soumya you are right. Administration cares a lot for the people and there is a lot of accountability and fear of punishment because justice system is efficient and quick.
I first saw your blog being translated on a Chinese website and it eventually leads me here. I love your travel blog, especially the way you express what you saw. And also, as a Chinese, it is interesting for me to know what China looks like from a foreigner’s perspective of view. I hope there will be more people like you, who could serve as a bridge to connect peoples from India and China. Both our countries are great nations with long history, only by understanding each other can we better work together.
As now you’re famous among several Chinese websites, there might be peoples come here to see your blog and give comments (like me :D). I believe most comments will be friendly, some, however, might not. But no matter how people may comment, I hope you can still show a real China, no matter good or bad, to your audience through camera. Looking forward to your upcoming blogs, and wish you a happy life in China.
I must congratulate you for beautifully expressing your thoughts in words. I believe you too write or suggest you should if still you don’t. Like you many people have indeed visited this site to appreciate my work and express there pleasure. I really want to see more of China and write truthfully all that I see and I think with the appreciation and encouragement that I am getting from the people, I will be able to fulfill my desire. Although we are neighbours we don’t know much about each other and the hatred if you can call it so is born out of lack of communication. I knew little about China when I came here and so did the people back home. I hope my little effort will help us to understand each other better.