So they do things big in China. Really big. It is a big country after all. It is with no surprise then that I learnt that in less than a decade, they built the largest network of high speed rail in the world, interconnecting the major cities, allowing for the free flow of business and tourists alike to discover and explore all of what China had to offer.
It was with great excitement that I boarded the bullet train.
With a top speed of over 400km/h, we cruised at a more moderate, but still stunning 304 km/h. Although designed for it, the top speed of 400km/h is rarely achieved, mainly due to the shortcuts that was taken during the construction of the railways.
As we sat down and started to enjoy our journey, the food service lady with the trolley came by, selling pre-packaged meals to the passengers. It was at this point that I realised how much I underestimated this trip. I had assumed, as a westerner would, that there would be a choice of meals offered that would appeal to the various customer segments. Boy I was wrong. The meal catered instead for the lowest common denominator. It was all pre-packaged Chinese food that looking nothing like the Chinese food I was accustomed to either in Australia, or even at the local places I have been to so far.
I resigned myself to surviving the 5 hours trip, which spanned over lunchtime, on just the chippies that I brought with me. At least, I thought, I would sip on a nice cold soft drink, so I walked down to the bar, and to my dismay, there were no soft drinks on sale there either. Chinese people do not, generally, drink cold drinks. Warm tea, on the other hand, was readily available. Even the free water dispenser on the train dispensed hot water, but not cold water.
At this point, I am reminded, yet again, how differently Chinese people think and operate, and how naïve I was to bring with me my western way of thinking and assuming things would work out. I made a mental note of that for my university project later on when I have to deal with clients.
And as that thought occurred to me, I looked outside the window. As if China was reading my mind, the scenery presented me with impressive wind towers spinning gracefully over the green landscape, as if, reminding me that soon enough, I will be working with the top wind tower manufacturer in all of China.