Jinan 济南

When people ask me for my origin – 老家 as where I’m from, I never hesitate in telling them that I’m from Beijing, period. How am I not? Both my parents were born and raised in the heart of the capital. However Beijing, like New York, a major metropolis that likes a bright beacon attracting talents as well as tardy characters. In short, it has been a melting pot for too long. So sometimes, few people, especially Chinese, 打破沙锅问到底 (insist on getting to the bottom of the matter), would want to know, where, really and exactly am I from. It depends on the circumstance and the inquirer. I may explain that really, I’m from Beijing. Or, might be not.

DSCN8390 the cleaner

After getting lost in Shanghai train station, one would appreciate the simplicity and the austerity the 济南 JiNan International Airport offers: one side of the simple building is tarmac and the other side is the car parking lot. Can’t and won’t get lost here.

reds
the hospitalityThe attentive hospitality, in front of the hotel
Out of the airport, we soon came to a toll booth. The collectors were all young girls dressed in crispy light blue uniform and even their hair were neatly combed into a bun resting above their neck in a fish-net, like a ballerina.

As we were approaching the city center, the traffic built up. There was this dude all dressed up in the orange suit, cleaning in the middle of a major thoroughfare! I first thought he was just crossing the street.

The Shandong Hotel 山东大厦, a 5-star hotel in downtown. It Raise the Red Lantern 大红灯笼高高挂 welcoming us: The Fifith Cooperation and Exchange Convention of Overseas Chinese Enterprises in Science & Technology Innovation 第五届华商企业科技创新合作交流会. The hotel is designed by John C. Portman, Jr., the American architect.

I wasn’t part of the Innovation. Because of a connection, the host invited me that initially I declined due to, well, I am not part of it. Then a friend of mine encouraged me to take the offer,
“Why do you care [all on government’s money], just go.”

club a cleaner near the Shandong Hotel

Near the hotel there is a California Club I didn’t get to go. The service attitude is good: I opened my room only to discover the unmade room. Within 2 seconds of call, someone was at the door. When I called for shampoo – yes, I do use hotel’s since I travel light, only a carry on – the maid was knocking on the door within 5 seconds, as if she’s waiting. Hmmmm … then why didn’t they make the room and stock the necessities in the first place? Who’s fault, the maid or the manager/inspector?

watering Paris Garden

This new development Paris Garden 巴黎花园 out side of the city center. The greens are being watered semi-manually. Jinan is definitely less flashy, almost dull, as if 30 years behind Qingdao. Is the inner land so slow to catch up with the coastal cities?

As for the record, my father’s family was from Shandong four generations back, JiNan three generations back. My mother’s family was from Anhui.

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