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 .