Thoughts for Thursday (29) - A Recap of My Trip to China

Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

A Recap of My Trip to China

For those of you who don’t know, at the beginning of July I went to China for two weeks, specifically the Shanghai and Beijing area. This trip was an international immersion option for my MBA studies, which means that I attended lectures, visited business and toured cultural sights to get a well-rounded in-depth glimpse of China. I went on a similar trip back in December/January to Dubai, UAE and had such a great experience that I wanted to go on another one.

I admit that I knew next to nothing about China before I went. And I admit that I was a little apprehensive. I was told that it would be uncomfortably hot, polluted, and crowded and that I would starve to death (because I am a picky eater). But I wasn’t deterred. I don’t believe there is any such thing as a bad trip and that every new experience, either negative or positive, is worth it. And yes it was hot, but not as hot as it could have been. We really lucked out weather-wise. Yes it was polluted. The sun was pretty much covered by a constant gray haze. Some days were worse than others but fortunately the air quality never got TOO bad. Yes, it was crowded. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people in one place in my life. And yes, my diet consisted of granola bars, fruit snacks and whatever else I could scrounge up. To be completely honest, their food kind of terrified me. But I still had a great trip! Mostly thanks to the group of amazing people I went with. I am really glad that I went.

Here is what I took away from it....

  • Most of China’s growth happened in the past 3.5 decades, which I didn’t realize. The stimulus was government reforms and a more open trade policy.
  • China has its own set of problems that it must solve in order to sustain that growth – economic structure, macroeconomic stability, IP protection, labor laws, income disparities, demographic change, trade conflicts, environmental pollution, etc. Which I also didn’t realize the depths of.
  • Shanghai is like any major cosmopolitan city, whereas Beijing is more of a cultural center.
  •  There is no Facebook, Twitter, Google, Ebay, etc. in China. But they have their own versions of these sites.
  • Everyone was incredibly nice and helpful even when we couldn’t understand each other.
  • I have never been so scared to be on the road in my life. The driving there is worse than any place I have ever been to. Pedestrians do not have the right of way, even when the traffic light says so. And you have to watch out for scooters too. There is no mercy.
  • You have to be really aggressive in lines or you will get cut.
  • Personal space is nonexistent.
  • The Chinese are fascinated by foreigners. I felt like a celebrity over there. Our picture was taken constantly.
  • Cupping and scrubbing are examples of ancient Chinese medicine that sound really painful.
  • Karaoke in China is better than anywhere else. 
  • Baiju (grain alcohol) tastes terrible.
  • Belly shirts for men exist.
  • Little kids go the bathroom in the street (not only to pee).
  • The Chinese eat EVERYTHING. There was a night market in Beijing where you could buy scorpion, seahorse, snake, starfish, and lizard to eat. The scorpions were live until right before you eat them.
  • Chinese women wear heels everywhere! 
  • You can't drink the water there. So you can't have things iced. Beverages at local restaurants are often served room temperature. 
  • There are some beautiful areas in china – Zhujiajiao Ancient Town (which is coined “the Venice of China”), Hangzhou/West Lake, The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, The Great Wall of China, Houhai in Beijing
  • I had my feet eaten by fish (thanks Mel for the courage to do so) and it was really neat! And it worked!
  • Beer was super cheap. ~$0.60 and the bottles are bigger!

That's all I can think of right now. Time for pictures…

Copyright © 2014 The Quiet Concert
Template and Design by New Chapter Designs