Chinese woman publishes first-ever travelogue on India

A brush with Bollwood stars, encounters with Maoists besides exposure to election campaigning enlivens the narrative of a rare backpack Chinese woman's transformative journey to the nooks and corners of India.

Beijing: A brush with Bollwood stars, encounters with Maoists besides exposure to election campaigning enlivens the narrative of a rare backpack Chinese woman's transformative journey to the nooks and corners of India.

Hong Mei, 34, who travelled India for several months in 2009 along with her American husband, Tom Carter released her travelogue book in Chinese language titled "The further I walk, the closer I get to me", stated to be the first such account by a contemporary Chinese about India.

In many ways it is a transformative journey about India's rich and diverse culture, she told PTI.

During the visit, she participated in festivals and events like Kumbh Mela, Pushkar Camel Fair, Holi besides the General Elections campaigning in 2009.

Pushed by Tom, who had done a pictorial book along with her on all the 33 provinces of China highlighting its diversity, Hong had relatively comfortable travel in India as he was mostly mistaken as someone from India's North-East provinces or from Japan.

Hailing from a small village in China's Jiangsu Province, strangely India was her first trip abroad.

In her nearly one year travel made in the gaps of few as she was granted only three months visas, she and Tom covered most of part of India except the North East where Chinese have no access as most of it bordered along China.

Travelling with a budget of about USD 20 a day, the two, however, had a good exposure to Indian way of life in the North, South and Western regions.

Perhaps the height of their Indian exposure was when touts approached them to act as extras in Shahid Kapoor's Bollywood movie Dil Bole Hadippa in which Tom was chosen as 10th batsman in the cricket match scene.

Hong and Tom also had an oppurtunity to appear in a commercial advertisement with Aamir Khan.