Is China as “bad” as some say?
Watching islands flit past on a high-speed catamaran across the South China Sea, I sit painfully excited, wondering what our new life would be like in Zhuhai, China.
Fresh off the Boat
Breezing through customs in about one minute flat, we walk out into 90 percent humidity, with some intense sun rays, to boot. While swimming in a pool of my own sweat, and being accosted by a particularly pushy unaffiliated driver, we find a real, green taxi.
Getting in, the door handle is so loose it spins around like the blades of a toy helicopter, with the seat belts also missing, jammed behind the back seat. I cling onto the door, as the barely functioning taxi flies us across town.
But where are we? Where are the small, dirty streets crammed full of people, bicycles and cars? The fly-ridden street food? People machine-gun spitting everywhere?
I had heard some pretty blunt and abysmal reviews about life on the mainland from friends and acquaintances who had lived in China for a stint, spanning from a few months to even a few years.
Unfortunately, most people I spoke to had come away severely vexed by a list of “bad experiences” ranging from line-cutting, garbage, pollution, spitting, negotiations gone wrong, and crummy food.
It was now clear that this second hand information I had heard back home was all Chinese whispers.
At least for this part of China.
Oh my, Zhuhai
Zhuhai is often described as being like the French Rivera of China (but with a lot less people sun-baking).
A city in the tropics, for me, Zhuhai is like the remote city of Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia. (Where I also lived for a few years and still believe it is one of the most beautiful places on earth).
Both are intensely humid, thanks to their tropical climates, and are surrounded by gorgeous green lush mountains by the sea.
For all those playing at home, Zhuhai is located in the Guangdong Provence and is just a 40 minute boat ride from Hong Kong. Although, the government are now building a bridge between the two cities, if you can believe it.
The green costal city is surrounded by 146 islands and is highly popular among Chinese tourists and expats for its better air quality and more relaxed, luxurious even, lifestyle.
Towering residential and commercial skyscrapers stand high like giants blades of grass, against a backdrop of huge mountains, speckled with antennas.
Although only being in Zhuhai a short time, I know now to listen to myself, and not whispers.