the Park Of Space Flight Wonders

A great ball in China

It's the biggest nation on the planet and well worth dressing up for. Even with only four days to spare. Words: Phil Kay

I think of four days in China as a bonus. Infinitely more than no days in China. It is therefore enough to fully appraise the greatest.

most advanced. most productive. most ordered

and highly populated nation on the face of the


I am going for gigs at the British Chamber of Trade and Commerce in Guangzhou. old

Canton. I land in Hong Kong and stay in the

“at of the brother of the guy who is the head of

the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I lock us out so we go for a Thai meal on a steep hill and see the lights of the kowloon markets from the Star I‘erry. visit four bars an hour and end up sharing my paleness with tensa thousands

of young people with blood all over them. white faces and false teeth. an alarming

number of them dressed as eyeballs. Hallowe’en in lIong Kong is a bizarre backtwist of the Chinese imitating and

adopting a modern British rituo-consumerist

activity. Ilong confusey. I openly yell: ‘Stop. for it looks daft you lot abandoning your fabulous ways for our empty traditionisrnistics or shadows of tradition.‘

Is this taxi cheap? I am in the mode of

converting to see if it is cheap because if it is. then I feel great spending my money. This is

the crux. Cheap towns are always the most

expensive. they're so cheap you spend faster and wilder. Then you have no cash and it's ;

never cheaper than when you have nothing. Value and comparison fade into being

inappropriate when I am faced with a plate of

124 THE UST 30 Nov—t4 Dec 2000

ducks' feet. It‘s half two. I'm keeping my poor

eyes up. I am unusually at peace with my

ducks‘ feet alter they arrive and there is web and whole feet among the camouflaged

vegetable strips. You can use ducks‘ feet as the

utensils for themselves. Pull the tendon to grip.

I have nothing to compare it to even when I

do convert. What is a decent price for ducks‘ feet at Safeway anyway? And are these good webs or a bit chewy? I don‘t know. they might have given me last week‘s old feet and I would

not have known. They are not too good and I don’t think they will become world wide.


I am here now in Guangzhou. Canton. It

is totally China and totally modern. Millions of people making all the ‘Made in China‘ labels for the whole world. and everything they get sewn. stamped. stitched or stencilled onto in every shop in all the world. It hits me then: it is not like the people of all over China love to make a trainer and have passed down the secret from generation to generation. Things ‘Made In China’ are not all Chinese things.

I go to the wet market and see the ducks

and the puppies. all doomed. Men are gathered around the back of a lorry bringing in a‘ consignment of moving sacks. sacks wriggling

full of turtles and looking like a mass midget-

kidnapping gone wrong. There are cats in

cages with that look of educated fear and rabbits and bear paws and skinned dogs and people sifting through great dishes of miniature


A (ountry as vast as C hrna has a wealth to offer, from the hustlrng metropolrses ol BerJrng, Shanghai and Hong Kong to hrstorrral srghts su< h as the Great Wall, Forhrdden C rty and Terrarotta Warriors lt's rmpossrhle to sum up but detarled below are some prar Il(dl hrnts


Several operators offer drrert llrghts from London, many others offer flrghts (hangrng III Europe Prrres start at around MOO

Air China 0207 630 091‘) (drrert to Berjrng)

British Airways 0345 222111 (drrert to Hong Kong and Berrrng)

Cathay Pacific 0207 77/17 8888 (direct to Hong Kong)

Virgin Atlantic 01293 74774/ (drrert to Hong Kong and Shanghar)


Travel agents worth vrsltrng rn( lude STA Travel (0207 361 6144), USIT Campus Travel (0870 240 1010) and Trarlfrnders (0141 353 2224)

If you’d rather travel as part of an organrsed tour, the China Travel Service (0207 836 991 Hotters budget packages, Kuoni Worldwide (01306 740500) can tarlor-make