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IS THE MANEKI NEKO BECKONING YOU?

Saturday, December 13, 2008 by Rachel Farris

Ni Hao brave traveller! Whether youre moving to China for work or to facilitate a change in lifestyle, you are sure to receive a culture shock even more earth shattering then the jet lag toll on arrival at Beijing airport.

Being one of the earliest centres of human civilization has led to China having one of the most beautiful and colourful cultures in the world. Being the first country in the world to issue paper money and one of the few to develop writing independently; China has good cause to be proud of its heritage.

With dynasties rising and falling like a street performers Diablo, the collection of walls known as the Great Wall of China is still the only man made structure viewable from space by the naked eye. For an edifice that entered construction in the 5th Centaury BC that is a quite an achievement.

We can be pretty sure that today there are no hide clad MongolҒs running around China inventing less creative uses for the wonderfully colorful fireworks of the Jin Dynasty; but it is important to get a grasp on the political situation in any country you intend to emigrate to.

Believe it or not, China is currently in the midst of a civil war. Following victory and the surrender of Japan, resulting from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear road tests, in 1947 the uncomfortably allied Nationalist and Communist parties split asunder. In a naming convention that will get a chortle from any Monty Python fan; the nationalist Republic of China was ushered off of the main land to Taiwan by the communist Peoples Republic of China, who took up claim as a successor state 1949. This war has never technically ceased and both parties still lay claim to the others territory.

For a country that houses a quarter of the worlds population, healthcare should be a major concern for the dominant Peoples Republic. A large proportion of the countryҒs population (some 1.3 billion) live in the major cities such as Shanghi and Beijing. These large cities are well equipped to deal with most medical conditions however hospitals in the desperately poor rural areas of the country are not as frequent or equipped with the modern equipment you would expect. The advice for most western travellers would be to have your jabs and stay close to the major settlements.

There is plenty to see and do in China. If you survive your travels in the notorious Beijing taxis you will be able to sample the great Chinese delicacies in the renowned Beijing restaurants or maybe enjoy a glitzy night out on the Saniltun bar strip, a favourite for most expats. For those adventurous Saturdays, visits can be made to any of the old dynasty forts and Confucian monasteries (such as the Wenamio temple) that litter the country. You could even take an inspirational hike into the beautiful and mystical mountainous terrain that gave birth to Taoism.

As for your own personal Maneki Neko (lucky cat or beckoning cat said to bring good fortune or money) things look quite good in the home of sweet and sour. Once you have your residence permit you will need to provide quarantine officials with a vaccination certificate and a health certificate. Cat owners are expected to provide certificates for Feline Panleucopania and Feline Respiratory Disease after their cat travel. The cost to import a cat or small dog is around $70 with a moderate increase for larger animals. Following arriving in China your fuzzy trusty friend will need to be kept in quarantine for 30 days. Fortunately this can be done at your new home with regular visits from officials, so your travelling companion will also be able to use this time to get used to their new surroundings after their pet travel.

So with the Olympics rising up over the horizon you better get your bags packed and your plane booked. You are undoubtedly going to find you have more friends back home then you thought when 2008 comes screeching around the corner...

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