Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Meeting the Reason I Came to China

I met up with my old friend John (Chinese name: Yang Yi) today. I originally met him while studying at Hull university. I had forgotten to pay my deposit to live in the halls of residence, and he was a latecomer to the university. This resulted in us both living together in the same house. I have mentioned this in an earlier post before, but if it wasn't for him I very much doubt I would be living and working in China now. I never would have met Kimi too. It was he who invited me to Beijing on holiday in 2004, in turn I invited my friend Richard -- who I knew would be interested in travelling there too. Richard fell in love with the place so much that he returned one year later for another holiday (I couldn't afford to go then), and after we graduated from university he went there to work. I worked in England for half a year (I talked about that here) and saved up to visit him in Hangzhou for two months. I enjoyed my holiday so much that I decided to return to live there too. In short, that is pretty much how I ended up living and working in China.

So today I met up with John for the first time since I left university, more than two and a half years ago. He is still studying at Hull where he is currently finishing a masters degree. At the moment he has so much free time that he decided to come to Manchester to see me. We didn't do much really as the weather wasn't up to much. Our first stop was China town. I was hungry so we went for something to eat there. We found the first adequate-looking Chinese restaurant and went in. I was surprised to find a couple of dishes that I recognised from China. With interest I ordered Mapo Tofu (I have mentioned this dish here), fried rice, and Sichuan style green beans. The beans at least looked the same as in China, but the taste was completely different, especially the tofu. Quite disappointing really, especially taking into account the price difference.

Gan bian si ji dou: looks the same as in China, tastes completely different

After lunch we walked around the city centre for a while. I love Manchester, it is a brilliant city. It is just a shame that a few of the people living there have to ruin it for everybody else. There seems to be a big population of uncivilized youths in the downtown areas. Because of this, Manchester and other similar cities have a bad reputation for street crime. Compared to Wenzhou, where I feel incredibly safe walking around at night on my own, I do not feel safe walking in Manchester. It is a problem that should be addressed, but how I do not know.

After having a coffee with John in Starbucks it was dark, raining, and time for him to go back home. I walked him to the station and said goodbye. I just hope it isn't another 2 and half years until I see him again.

Outside Selfridges: the big wheel in Manchester


Johnny Ding said...

Having a friend like John of yours is brilliant. Guess what, if I travel Manchester,you will be my main reason. I do admire that you have the courage do what yuou have done in China

大眼睛熊 said...

Thanks Yang Yi for bringing Christopher to china, brilliant job!! : )
There's a spoon in the Ganbian Sijidou! Why's there a spoon in the Ganbian Sijidou? : (

mabelp said...

Good! Meeting an old frined who have great time with u before is great. Life is busy and it's not easy to keep in touch with all friends, but we should try our best to keep contact with the good friends.

I still keep in touch with some of my old friends who I met in the kindergarten. I can't believe it, but it's real!

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a big population of uncivilized youths in the downtown areas. Because of this, Manchester and other similar cities have a bad reputation for street crime.

Oy! Leave us bolton and salford scallies alone!

We can't all afford to live in posh south manchester. Anyway, if your from Sale, your a cheshire cat or plastic scouser....joke:)

So, feck right off, as I walk away with a gallagher brothers swagger...

Just joshing boss! Must do a cold one when u get back...is there a decent bar in WZ?

Elwin said...

It must be the John that you mentioned couple of times in WEB classes. It's nice to meet classmates after graduation.

I've been visiting my friends at university too, it's good to see them again after such a long time, finding the changes that happened to them and reminiscing the crazy stupid thing we did. Sometimes it makes me feel old like a 60+ man telling his stories to his grandson, haha.