Friday 4 April 2008

Impressions of China

China was much as how I expected it from what reading I had done.

My biggest impression was the dreadful air pollution. I've never seen anything like it except maybe L.A. in summer. There's also the legendary booming economy that's evident around the cities. There's plenty of well off people and plenty of poor. All true.

Spitting? Yep. Smoking? Everywhere. Dreadful toilets? Absolutely! Communist? No way. This is capitalism in overdrive.

I also found myself constantly getting stares. Now I know what it might be like to be beautiful! So I felt free to stare right back. It's a bit weird. My daughter attracted plenty of attention. Mixed marriages are very rare in China so they were very curious when they realised Jenny and I were married and our children mixed. Overall we found the Chinese people gregarious, loud and friendly. We never suffered huge hassles. Of course, we have been overcharged on occasions but there's nothing personal about it.

China faces huge challenges. Inflation is running high. The one child policy is going to have a huge impact as that generation ages. There's a huge disparity between city life and country life. The environment is facing disaster. Many laws don't get adequately enforced. I would hate to be trying to steer this juggernaut!

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