Quintessential China

Trip Start Apr 30, 2006
Trip End Mar 25, 2007

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

The first month of traveling China is tough. The constant spitting, lack of apologies, invasion of personal space, stomach-turning cuisine and the immense language barrier are difficult things to get used to. The people: After traveling to Tibet, it was, at first, tough to respect the Chinese knowing that their government is alienating a culture. After Tibet, we would have cut the China portion of our trip short if D'Lynn's parents hadn't already booked a flight to Beijing. We are very glad they did and that we stayed for 2 and a half months.

We are now sad to leave China.

After 3 weeks in the red country, the hairball-hacking spit routines don't bother you; after 4 you realize space is not personal and in a country with of over 1 billion, apologies would lead to laryngitis; and after 5 weeks the cuisine is comical more than disgusting. You begin to learn the language and even are able to recognize some characters. You are able to speak with people on trains... enough to know how many siblings your neighbor has, where they are from and more or less, engage in the same "elevator talk" that you would do back home. This is rewarding.

As far as the people, you begin to realize their perspective. Similar to how Jane and John Doe from the U.S. aren't killing innocent Iraqis, Mr. and Ms. Chen aren't massacring Tibetans... they most likely have nothing to do with anything political. The Chinese have been through so much over the last 150 years, they simply want to give into propaganda. They went from 7,000 years of dynastic, emperor-ruled society to a tornado of horrible events: They were put through the colonization-grinder at the hands of the Portuguese, English and Japanese and came out horribly, finalized with the opium wars and attacks on Manchuria. They were massacred by the Japanese on numerous occasions and then acted as a communist laboratory... the domestic policies killed millions, disallowed free speech (free thought for that matter), and persecuted anyone against the communist manifesto. Religion was stomped out, among most milenia-old cultural norms with the elimination of the Mao coined "4 olds." Now, people just want a break. It's human nature to have blind faith in something. Regarding the Chinese, their faith now lies with their government. The life of the average Chinese is getting better and people just want to ride the capitalist wave, hoping it picks them up.

This travel log centers around the Chinese capital - Beijing, then has video stills of our time in China. D'Lynn's parents continued their 6 day journey and with us, strolled through the city and around its outskirts, visiting some of the important sights - most notably, The Great Wall. Anyway, if you want to relax, go to the Caribbean. If you're in for an adventure, go to China.

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