|Our visit to The Great Wall of China was definitely the standout day|
of our marvelous trip
China was utterly amazing, and Mike and I are forever changed by having visited this beautiful, mesmerizing, overwhelming and complicated country. We now better understand what living alongside 1.4 billion people is like. It means you are virtually never alone anywhere, it means there are tremendous demands for food and energy production, it means constant and severe air pollution as the government struggles to move away from coal as the primary form of energy, it means massive traffic jams, and it means monolithic structures going up everywhere as people relocate from the country to the city to take part in China's surging economy.
But in spite of all of these challenges, the people we met couldn't have been more gracious or welcoming. We sensed tremendous pride about China's rising economy and place in the world, and delight that people from the West were pouring into China in increasing numbers to enjoy it's historic treasures and culture. Everywhere we went people greeted us with smiles and waves, said "Hello" to us in English (possibly the only English word many of them knew, which made it all the sweeter) and invited us to share their lives.
On our first night in the country, in Shanghai, we were walking along the river and encountered a group of people ballroom dancing to Chinese popular music. We asked permission to join them for a waltz and a rumba, which we were quickly and smilingly given. When we were done and ready to move on, we were applauded and asked to please come back tomorrow to dance again. Our hearts melted.
In short, we ended up falling utterly in love with the people of China. My hope going forward, is that Mike and I can exhibit the same level of graciousness to foreign visitors we meet here in the USA.
Here are just a few photos from our trip:
|A young Chinese Communist Party soldier on guard at Tiananmen Square in Beijing|
|A beautiful lion on guard outside of The Forbidden City in Beijing|
|The outer most courtyard of The Forbidden City|
|Beautiful building paintings were everywhere. The gold leafing in this one, from The Forbidden City, is most definitely real.|
|We were greeted with a light dusting of snow in Beijing, but it made our pedicab ride through the narrow alleys of Hutong all the more enchanting.|
|The Terra Cotta Warriers in Xian, now considered the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World|
|Street food in Xian - note the tofu skewers in the lower right. With so many to feed, and limited usable land, soy, and soy products, are a protein staple here.|
|Dates and other luscious dried fruits abounded in fertile China|
|Sesame flatbread displayed outside a shop in the Muslim corridor of Xian.|
|Beautiful display of rice variety found in China|
|The ship we sailed on for four days up the Yangtze River|
|How we felt the entire trip - happy and excited.|
|The beautiful Yu Gardens in Shanghai|