CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Beijing | TravelDecember 31, 2011

Go East!

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My love affair with China started about 30 years ago well before the movies,  Indohine and L'Amant  mirrors  a romantic exoticism and  elegant  aesthetics I was thrived to absorb.

Although both movies took place in Vietnam, my Eastern reverie called upon daring to  explore  distant  myths , some of which  I instinctively  knew,  would decline to be slowly extinguished in time.

20 hours later , in 1980, I land in Peking  in the midst, of  Mao Tse-tung  Cultural Revolution  at a time where the now deceased leader decides to open China frontiers for tourists from around the world , like me.

 There I was among those first  on line at the customs with tons Western food hid in the  luggage ,  my blue eyes and  thriving  to check in person the myth or apparent reality of a cultural and political society I  not familiar at all.

Among  many of  my travel experiences,  the Pre-Coke - People's Republic of China - the most populous state in the world , is one I will never forget . Preciously kept like the privileged secret  within the 'great walls' of my  heart, I waited many years to reveal  and share it until I felt it made some sense, and now the time has come.

- ' Miss Maslaton? Pleasure to talk to you !' says Selina Liu, assistant the Manhattan Sales department of China Eastern. " We will be happy to assist  you with out China Eastern Premium MU unit in the

JFK- Shanghai-JFK   first class  December 30 booking. " Enjoy our country and Happy New Year".

Far from the past experience, I am  now indulging a luxurious way to fly starting with the comfortable  Star Alliance lounge at Kennedy airport a recent  CE achievement . Loaded with magazines, travel guides, camera equipment and  a large  Gucci snakeskin purse,  at last I take my shoes off  with the help of a pretty short haired   flight attendant who hands me  the most comfortable slipper, a mint leader toiletry case signed Bulgari and a dark bleu pajama China- Revolution -Style  looking exactly like the uniforms I saw on Beijingers  30 years ago.

The well-appointed  lounge leather upholstered seat of the  spacious cabin offer extra privacy and room to stretch out. The proper turn-down service with fine wines and personalized cuisine are a safe and  a pampering platform for my inner past time travel.

In the last-generation noise -reduction headphones, I now listen to Chinese pop tunes; all Western melodies that vary from soul and break dance to ballads a la  Michael Frank  and 5 Cents but sang in Chinese with English titles for easy recognition.  Relaxed, I can't help memorize those cute children dressed in bright colors opposed to the rigueur and homogeneity  of their parent's appearance in the realms  of the Forbidden City emperor's chambers.

On last- generation noise- canceling headphones, I select Chinese pop albums whose tunes are a mix of Western melodies are a mix from souls to ballades Ballade a la James Taylor  and 5Cents passing through break dance,  but totally  sang in Chinese with English titles for easy recognition.

The flat bed is set with tailored-down service  by miss Wang Yungi the cabin manager  over fresh bed linens and a down-filled duvet are  tailored turn-down service,  warm terry- cloth socks, I can now  can sget some deserved rest in world-class luxury making most of my precious time in the sky.

But before I sleep, my last thought goes to  those children immortalized on my vintage pictures in this  post . They must be today about 35 and probably never made the blue uniform transition of their parents and grand parents. They are possibly the young parents of a promising generation , once more 30 years later,  I have come to check in person. New secrets will be unveiled , this time to stay.

I have  now arrived fresh and rested at the ultra modern Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The journey of about 4 weeks in mainland China's most renowned cities is about to start .

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