I had wanted to blog about my experiences while i was there, but a combination factors, namely i was having to much fun, stopped me from doing so.
My trip lasted 21 days, in that time my perspective and views on the world changed dramatically.
The motif i left China with was:
"Ignorance is dead, long live ignorance". I went to China thinking that i was a fairly open minded person, dismissing all but the most absurd things.
I should preface this by saying that i realise that the china i saw was the watered down westernized version. Any cultured battered by a foreign civilization(US/west) over several decades is going to experience some level of change.
China (mainland) is very different from anything i've experienced before. First people who call the country a developing nation/3rd world country are misled. Sure there are undeveloped parts of the country, they are called villages. The cities are bigger than anything the west has offer, and in some ways better.
China isn't a developing nation, its developed! It is the new superpower, financially, and strategically. I've admired how the government conducts itself outside of its borders. Slowly buying up resources around the world, in deals that could considered slightly unfair, but are deals not invasions (iraq) backed with questionable events(9/11). This is how the British empire started many moons ago. On the basis of (one-sided) trade, and a mighty navy to protect that trade. The US 'empire' also started like this, and guess who has the biggest naval fleet now?
Having read the above you might think i disagree with this practice. Not really, its the cycle of life, the strong prey on the weak ... The Eagle and the Mouse.
Thanks to china, a new mime emerged in my life, "noodle time". This is basically when my craving for noodles gets to much and i have to statisfy it, with ... Noodles!! Rice noodles, eggs noodles, whatever!
The food is amazing, i would marry a chinese woman, just to get that (the food) on a regular basis. One of my favourites is jian bing which is crepe made with eggs, fried dough (this is the magic), hot sauce, spring onions and some other magic. Best breakfast in the world.
Next up is stir fried noodles, simple, quick and very tasty. If i had to rate the rood, i would give it 10 stars out of 5, i ate like pig.
Ever heard of a factory direct store, think of china as one great big one. All of your favourite brands at one tenth of the price if not less. Sadly this doesn't extend to electronics. Well not if you want ones that work, more on that later.
Chinese people are really friendly and in general extremely welcoming to westerners. While i was there i was consantly being asked to take pictures with people, and i mean 'with' not 'of'.
i speak chinese right, so that means i should have had no problem communicating right? Not quite, it helped but at first it was awful. The problem with my chinese was that i had a decent vocaburary, but very poor pronouncation. The other problem was that my listening skills were poor, this was highlighted when i conversed with the locals, and they (assuming i was fluent) would reel off something at me! In the latter stages of my trip i could comprehend most of the nouns in the sentence, along with the odd adjective or verb and use common-sense to work out the meaning of the sentence.
The peak of my chinese came in yangshou, where i talked to a rickshaw driver about my iPod Touch, while playing Mahjong. Even got a discount fare out of him, other highlights where drunk bargining with the traders in yangshou and getting a certain polo shirt.
Absolutely awesome. I loved china, and can't wait to go back. God willing i will one day, how long for is just a question of how long they will give me a visa for!