While Jinna and I traveled in China between January 1 and January 18, several observations struck me about this other side of my world. Cultural differences are remarkable, if for no other reason than my life as I lived it is immersed in gradual, glacial change. What is happening in China is no glacial drift; rather, change comes to China in swift bursting trends, the effect of which is transforming life quicker than I assimilated these same changes.
On January 15, 2015 I created the following list in my journal:
- China has a love affair with cars similar to the US during the 1960s
- There are nearly equal numbers of cars and motorcycles on the streets, and almost no more bicycles
- Most of the cars are sparkling clean; but, I didn’t see even one formal car wash business
- Everywhere I turned in Fuzhou, hundreds of buildings are under construction
- About half of the large buildings under construction appear to have had no activity for several months or more
- Everywhere I turned in Guilin, dozens of roads are under construction
- Although Guilin appears cleaner than Fuzhou, in general, Chinese cities are dirtier than US cities
- Crazy as Chinese driving appears, with horns blaring and little heed to traffic lights and pedestrians, I saw only one accident and did not see more than a couple cars with appreciable damage
- Where I went there were few foreigners; but, most Chinese noticed me, and older, white American with a felt fedora and many greeted me with English, Hello!
- Although, most places I traveled were dusty, I had no problems breathing easily and did not notice appreciable smog and pollution.
All in all, this trip was eye opening and I want to return to China around Thanksgiving this year.
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