Culture Impressions

Like the experience I had in China and many others that I will later post about, there has been a common denominator. It is the undeniable fact, that one takes a certain kind of viewpoint into something about what is the general meaning of culture in that place. It’s just a first time impression and a good one at that. But only one stays somewhere for a longer time, the impression starts to change and you understand that differences within one concept of culture. It’s a vast thing to even think about. But then, we have the other side of things.

Like in Rome, where I have lived most of my life, the effect has been almost opposite. Because I lived there for so long, I stopped seeing what was right in front of me. All the differences was just one big porridge of culture. It had lost it’s meaning. So there must be balance in everything. But surely, time is the most important. After having lived in Rome, leaving and coming back several times I have a much bigger advantage and a possibility of understanding new things.

But this should be my goal wherever I go. And that is the reason, why I have to go back to China one day! Perhaps after spending some months there, I can say that I can connect with Chinese culture. But so far, the impression has been very good and rewarding!!

Back in Rome,
Walter Basile

A presto!

The Other Side of the Show World in China

In my previous post I talked about the road that had led me out of the country, and my precious city of Rome. And how it just made me appriciate my origins even more, even up to the extent that it made me want to learn more about my historical background.

But what happened me in these foreign countries that made me think in this way, was something wonderful too. A learning experience of something unimaginable at times. I think the basis of such insight, is in meeting people.

Many of you probably know, that Italians are pretty famous for talking a lot. For example, a good Chinese friend of mine came to visit and even for him, he thought that I was fighting with my own mother. When actually we were just having a normal conversation.

But once I travelled to China myself, to where my good friend lives in Xiamen. Well, there they talk very loudly too, but I guess it’s different somehow. Because when I was there, I was the one thinking that people are fighting. But they smile a lot, and when you see the smile you can be sure that everything is ok. There is no fake people, like in Rome where people tend to think about their appearance more in my experience.

China was a wonderful time for me. Not just Xian but I went all around the country, checking places that were beyond my wildest imaginations. From pristine countryside, some of the most beautiful places like The Yellow Mountains and Li River. I think I need to do a separate post on those, later on. And one very funny experience was at the Circus World Shanghai, where I got to witness probably the best “show spectacle” that I had ever seen. Indeed this was no ordinary show, it was extraordinary acrobatics by most probably one of the best troupes. This was not the classic “Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe”, but a new and fresh act. And I am all about supporting new and innovative creations.

Let me give you some pictures from the acrobatic show to tell you what I am talking about:

Shanghai Acrobatic Show Circus Shanghai Acrobatic Show Troupe Shanghai Acrobatic Show World Shanghai Acrobatic Show

I had been to some performances in the past, but the Circus World was just something of it’s own league. I wanted to see more.. but my time was very limited in China. And I ended up spending most of my time in the South.

But this created an interesting contract. How different Shanghai and Xiamen was. It’s like in Italy how the South is completely different from the North. Rome, is in the South of Italy so the mentality is more relaxed, however being a capital it has it’s edge too. I wouldn’t say that I like Shanghai or Xiamen more, because of their differences. But for a big city feeling, Shanghai was just so much more like the Nanjing Road, which is simply packed with culture, people and everything that can be considered fun.

I guess I became very interested in how they managed to be so happy, be it in the big cities, smaller places in the South or for example the Circus Worls staff who are working endlessly to please tourists with taking daily risks with their show. How can they do that, what is their secret?! This was one of the biggest questions in my mind.

I guess it finally started to open for me, when I visited the wonderful city of Xian. Not Xiamen, but Xian which is the oldest city in the whole of China and where the silk road starts from. Quite far in the North/Middle, and something that is becoming quite famous now amongst tourists. It’s like the wholly triangle of “Shanghai, Beijing, Xian”. But I started from the very South which is not that usual.

As I was already pretty mesmerised with all the acrobatics I had seen, I figured that I wanted to experience something more, something different again. And I found something wonderful that I would also highly recommend to anyone visiting China. It was a Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show which depicts the ancient dynasty, it’s history as well as ancient performing/entertainment arts. It was a huge melting pot of rich Chinese culture, made into the form of a huge show. Not to mention, that it was accompanied with a huge, delicious dinner that I enjoyed so much.

Let me show you some pictures from there as well, and hopefully it will explain it a bit about what kind of a show it was!

Tang Dynasty Show Dinner Tang Dynasty Show Performance Tang Dynasty Show Xian Tang Dynasty Show

The Tang Dynasty Show was filled with colour, beauty and absolutely mind blowing traditional Chinese music. It almost made me cry, as the elegant performances left the stage for the last time. It was an experience that I would never forget. Later on, I found the CD made by the live orchestra that was playing there. Whenever I miss China, I listen to that Cd and instantly warp back to the ancient and magical world of Xian!

This was the last part of my journey, and a surprising one at that. Perhaps later, I will explain about some of the other destinations I went to. There were so many things I did, that it will take some time for me to absorb. But the beauty of Xian is in my mind always, and the happy smiles of the people in Xiamen.. as well as the memory of the smart and ambitious people in Shanghai. Beijing well, that’s another story to be told some other day.

My trip was not just about going to shows and performances, it was being inside the performance 24h a day. At least that’s what it felt like. And going back to Rome, was actually something that I enjoyed. Because I knew, that there was something else wonderful in the world and it’s not just because China is better than Italy or something silly like that. It’s because, I went there and found it!

Just the same way, I could do the same in Rome. I just had forgotten about it. Everything is an adventure, waiting to happen if you let it happen!!

Warmest regards,
Walter Basile

A presto!

Italian Culture VS The Rest of The World

I can start by explaining what I think is the truth. Italian history is vast, culture is deep and  national pride is high. Yet, the culture has been able to stay strong. Or has it? Well, the country is also full of immigrants. They come from all walks of life. Africans, Chinese, Romanian, you name it. Italy is full of people from different backgrounds, religions and customs. Yet, being Italian feels so Italian.

I think the culture has been mixed in a big way. The only things that keeps the culture so nationally proud, is racism and politics. Oh and almost forgot, money. Nationality is not a proud game and I think Italy should wake up to the many realities that live and breed within the country itself. Well, of course many people have because it is something that you cannot run away from. But I feel that the powers that be, are trying to manipulate and take the situation to their advantage. And for their own selfish purposes, mainly that of control.

But sometimes, you just need to ignore that. Mix in and experience your own country. Then sometimes you need to go out of the country, or island as it feels. By distancing yourself with all the chaos that is going on, you can find another way to look at this in an objective way. That method was what started me on this journey.

The road that first led me out of Rome, actually led me back to experience it again in a totally new way. This, is much what my site is about. Even though sometimes, it’s difficult to express in words.

Take care everyone,
Walter

Everything is or Should be a Presto

So, you might be wondering what “a presto” means if you don’t speak Italian. It’s my mother language so I should know, but it can be surprising how many people know little about their own language. When people are so used to just saying things, they forget what it really means to say what they say. Do you know what i mean.

That’s one of the things I love about travel, and taking road once in a while outside of Rome. Because by taking distance, and looking back from a new perspective you start to see things in different light. Often, when you meat foreigners you start talking about your own countries, and their differences and such. That’s the time when you have to reflect, and admit to yourself that you don’t know as much as you would like to know.

So ever since, I’ve been kind of fixing this cap I have with Italian culture. And try to think things out, and not just accept everything as blatant “as it is” kind of a phenomenon.

As for a presto, it’s one of those things that Italians say all the time. It means, “see you soon”. And basically you see everything soon, or at least that’s what they say. And it’s a great saying, because it feels people close, into unity. Feeling that everyone is near, and accessible, hopefully, at best.. soon!

A presto my dear blog readers!

Walter