Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beijing Wrap Up

We are leaving Beijing and heading to Xi'an on a high speed bullet train.  The trip that would normally take around 18 hours on a regular train will only take us 5 1/2 hours on the faster train.

From my one week stay in China there seems to be an overarching theme of contagions.  I encounter them everywhere.  From the way the anicent and modern commingle in the subtleties of fashion, food, attitudes and more to the more obvious juxtaposition of the ancient buildings being enveloped by the swarms of looming skyscrapers in the urbanization of China.  This theme keeps coming up.  Many of the Chinese people seem to live two lives: a public life that is full of publicly acceptable comments, religious choices and feelings about the growing concern of human rights here and then a private life that they only feel truly comfortable talking about within the confines of their own homes or behind closed doors.  Also, environmental concerns and the issues surrounding global warming are apparent to all (no deniers here), yet the haze from the pollution is so strong you can't even see the sky most days.

Chinese culture is a complicated one to put it simply and obviously one that an American like me will never fully grasp with such a short history back home.  It is a true testament to the benefits of travel as opposed to just "reading about things in books" though, because I already feel Im have a much greater appreciation and understanding of Chinese people and their rich cultural heritage.

Here is a photo summary of my favorite pictures from Beijing...

animals representing the Chinese zodiac line the rooftops of a building while Chiristmas trees hover in the background.

I don't even know...

McDonald's has banana pies!

Fashion is everywhere...these shorts have mushroom characters with multiple eyes.

Bikes crowd the streets.  Perhaps because Beijng has become so populated that the government has had to regulate which days people can drive their cars based on the numbers on your car tag???and there is a waiting list you go on to get approval to even purchase a car (one woman said her friend applied to get permission to buy a car over two years ago and is still waiting).

A student mural at a middle school depicts the Earth as a sad melting ice cream cone.

Adorable children, enough said!

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