My first contact with China was in 1987. I was travelling on the Tanzania Railway. The railway was built by the Chinese in the 70ties and still runs 1800 km from Dar es Salaam into the middle of Zambia. Chinese tracks, bridges, locomotives, coaches and stations in pale mint green were constructed, build and dotted across the African landscape. “The road to freedom” enabling Tanzania and Zambia to export their goods via the ports of Dar es Salaam. Distinctly I remember the soft bronze bell chimes echoing gently in the station waiting halls, these tender chimes so remarkably Chinese I could almost catch the musky odour of China float in the air. When I boarded the train, it came to me that all the operating signs, such as opening and closing of windows, operating the fans or light or toilets, were in Chinese. So prevailing were the images and icons of China that I closed my eyes to the sounds of the wheels hitting the spaces in-between the lengths of the railway track.
cluck-clung clunk- clung.
and I imagined myself to be in China.