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Adrift In China [Secure eReader]
eBook by Simon Myers

eBook Category: Travel/History
eBook Description: This is not an objective account. How could it be, having consumed such a slice of my life? China is the third largest country in the world, holds nearly a quarter of the earth's population and claims a recorded history going back more than 3,000 years. Foreigners' reactions to China and its people veer from one extreme to the other, as if the gargantuan size of the place demands a sweeping response. This is understandable. Time is needed for such a big and complex country, and time is something that most travellers don't want to give. Simon Myers spent years in the Middle Kingdom trying to fathom maybe just an inkling of China. Firstly as a Western student, still preoccupied with searching for much-missed dairy products; then as a businessman selling the capitalist icon, Coca-Cola, inaugurated to Business Drinking and losing face; and finally, independence: on the road on a Chinese motorbike and sidecar. An informed, amusing and personal account, Simon Myers goes beyond the cliches and offers a different take on life in the world's most fascinating and frustrating country.

eBook Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd/Summersdale Travel, Published: 2004
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2005

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"Myers maintains a vivid prose that paints an amusing and informative portrait of a fascinating and vast country."--The Express

"A frank, funny acutely well-observed portrait of China, and a most engaging read."--China Review

Zhengzhou, Henan Province, 1998 I woke up sweating and feeling uncomfortable. My heart was beating at an alarming speed, breathing was difficult and my mouth was as dry as the desert. I lurched out of bed, across the small hotel room, to the bathroom. I hit my knee on the leg of the executive desk. Splashing water on my face to try to ward off a growing nausea, I looked around for the free bottles of mineral water that were fitfully placed in the rooms. Mei you. Nothing. I thought about drinking the tap water, but checked myself; I might have been technically drunk, but this was still one of the most polluted cities in the world. In the mirror I saw that I was still wearing my suit from the night before, and looking down I realised that my trousers were a darker and damper grey below the knees. Interesting. I stared at them until some explanation worked its way into my consciousness. Oh yes, I remembered now; the tasteful rock-pool in the middle of the lobby. Last night, I must have walked through it rather than around. Weaving back into the bedroom, I opened the unplugged mini-fridge and found a warm Coca-Cola. With nothing else to slake my thirst, I drank Atlanta's number one product in a long series of gulps. A brief belch and with it the strong odour of last night's Red Dragon Wine. The pungent taste of alcohol made me feel faint. Putting the can down, I shuffled to the window and pulled back the thin net curtains. Another day of hazy greyness. A dried-up concrete canal full of refuse ran behind the hotel while several bulbous pipelines careered alongside. On the far side of the canal there were dusty, dilapidated brick houses, small workshops, and beyond them, large factory-like structures. Visibility was limited and smog enveloped the city. It was probably better that way as the grey haze hid the scale of the corrosive conurbation that is Zhengzhou. A city of over ten million in the heart of China. Even after nearly a year to acclimatise, it was still a depressing sight. I gazed out while moving my tongue around a mouth made furry by the warm Coke. Just as I had suspected, the fizzy drink had provided only temporary satisfaction. It wasn't enough that I was selling the stuff; now I was drinking it before breakfast. Jesus. A headache that had earlier only threatened mild irritation was now in full progress, kicking at the back of my eyes. I stumbled into the shower. The lukewarm water had little rejuvenating effect and I felt listless and ill. How many mornings had I woken up in such a state? What was the acceptable alcoholic intake of the lone foreigner in China? At what point was one's health in danger? Whatever it was, I was convinced that the heavy drinking sessions were becoming life-threatening. I leant back on the damp tiles of the bathroom wall and let the water dribble over my head. This had to stop. It was time to leave the centre of the world.

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