#458
China Debriefing

Hey there readers. For the 4 or so of you still visiting my page, welcome. As a few of you know, through twitter, Facebook, or just general contact, I have recently returned from a trip with my immediate family to eastern China. I visited five wonderful cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi An, Guilin, and Shou Zhou, each incredibly different, and all relatively large.

I've been staying away from the details of exactly what we did, mainly because it's pretty detailed. But I'll give you guys a little run down of the trip. We landed in Beijing, and i got food poisoning from the buffet dinner we had at the Hotel. While my parents and brother spent the next day touring the Forbidden Palace, Temple of Heaven, and Tienanmen Square, I got used to pucking ever half hour. The next day we hit up the Great Wall of China and some tombs. And the next day we visited the Summer Palace and took a plane to Xi An.

I learned a lot in Beijing as it was my first time in any Eastern country, let alone any country that truly was a developing nation. Call me sheltered if you like but the trip was definitely a wake up call. Never before did I so carefully think about how things were prepare, think about not eating the ice cubes or drinking the tap water. But while this all made me think a little, I also grew great respect for the Chinese people. The majority of work was done by hand and many crafts that have long been lost in western countries were still being refined. Plus the majority of road work was and construction was done and they were still faster than CalTrans. The sheer amount of people that could be put towards a task was amazing.

As I said, from Beijing we visited Xi An (pronounced She On... I think), which was one of the prettier cities and more interesting places we visited. Deeply different from Beijing, the city was only eight million compared to Beijing's sixteen and had so many more young people walking around. Plus the ghetto of the town(which has to be driven through when coming from the airport) looks like a communist block, which was interesting to say the least. Xi An is home to various temples, universities, and tombs, plus the Terra-Cotta Warriors. It has a beautiful city wall and very nice people, plus a large Muslim community.

After two nights in Xi An we flew over to Guilin. Guilin was the smallest town we visited, nearing 600,000 people. It had many pretty hills, which weren't really hills, more of limestone tower, but tomato, tomata, right? We took a cruise down the Li River which showcased all of these hills, as did a car ride through some of the smaller surrounding farming communities.

The limestone towers also create beautiful caverns, and we visited one of them. We also took part in various tours of areas around the city, each with it's own charm. After two nights in Guilin we took a 9 pm flight to Shanghai.

Shanghai is the New York of the Orient. Incredibly westernized it contains buildings from every part of the world. All I can say is that you should visit the Bong, a large promenade on each side of the city, and you should leave yourself a day to walk around. It's amazing. Also, see the acrobats.

Finally we took a train to Shou Zhou. Another eight million person city. On this day we relaxed, enjoying the city filled with gardens. Sadly here we had our worst lunch, but everything else was so nice it didn't matter. I feel that this is probably a good time to mention how badly they drive in china. The only two laws that drivers follow in China is the sped limit and stop at stop lights, but even those are broken very commonly. Traffic lanes, right of way, and general courteousness when driving is all ignored. How so few people die i do not know, but i was scarred for my life every time i crossed the street, let alone get into a car.

But overall I did have a great trip. I tasted many exotic foods(avoided the roasted bulls penis though), explored many ancient buildings and had a lot of fun. The 11 hour flight was totally worth it, plus I technically lived the 30th twice, so it was all good.

Have a good night people,

/Nat

p.s. you can view my photos from the trip on flickr, and my families photos are available too.

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