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Musing upon the number 1.3 billion

CHINA | Tuesday, 24 September 2002 | Views [529]

Beijing to Hong Kong:

Yay! Wendy feels better today!  I still feel a little warm and I'm not moving too fast, but at least I can move.  We are flying to Hong Kong today and so far, this airport business is pretty rediculous.  I will restate my creed that I don't like groups bigger than two.  Everybody is pretty stressed, understandably considering we can't read anything or understand the announcements.  But I actually like airports, so once we found our gate, I just took a nap while they figured everything out.  Too many cooks burn the soup I say :)

One our way to get our boarding passes, we met a group of Americans who had flown from the states to adopt 14 little Chinese girls!  They all looked so sweet and all the new parents looked so ecstatic.  There was one baby girl in her new daddy's backpack baby carrier and she was just giggling away.  Who knows what was so funny, but it was just the sweetest thing.

Later: I am now on the airplane flying to Hong Kong.  This whole thing feels so strange!  There's absolutely no time to absorb everything we've seen since we were dumped off way back in Kobe.  So far, my impressions of China are quite varied.  It is the most crowded place I have ever been and I know I could never survive here.  I'm already tired of people and crowds and I'm really needing some peace and quiet away from loud people.  I'm such a country girl at heart :)  And I would never survive driving here either!  Lane lines are merely suggestions - they just push their way into the lanes, cutting people off and coming so close to hitting each other, and they use their horns ALL THE TIME.  And to make it worse, most of the Chinese have bicycles rather than cars, so there are people on bikes everywhere in the streets too.

Beijing has over 3 million people living in the city.  I can't even imagine that many people in one place, but I guess New York is that size (?)  There might be more people in this city than in the whole state of Iowa.  The Chinese people really are nice though.  Our tour guide, Nancy, was the greatest.  She was always so cute - "Follow Nancy!" "Nancy's group, follow Nancy!"  We never did figure out why she always used the third person, but I guess it was easier to know where she was than trying to figure out which "follow me" to follow. 

I honestly can't say that I want to come back to China to visit, at least not soon.  Maybe it was just too much of a culture shock, maybe getting sick put a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended).  Maybe I'll go back later in life, but for now I can't say that I'm sad to leave, but I can't say that I'm glad either.  But for sure I'll be glad to get back to the ship tonight, eat some safe food, and find someplace quiet.

I'm beginning to realize how lucky I am to have been born and raised where and how I was.  I got an idea of it all during my summers in Maryland and Kentucky, but this is making it all shockingly real.  I grew up in Iowa in a town of 6,000 people, nice, clean, quiet, and safe.  I got a very good education and my parents did all they could do to help me make the best of myself in the world.  I have freedom to travel where I want, when I want, and I, myself, even as a poor college student, am probably more wealthy than most in these poor countries we will visit.  As crazy as this whole experience has been thus far, things are beginning to come into perspective, and I think I will be returning home with more appreciation for the US of A, the cornfields of Iowa, and my close-knit family.

Tags: china, culture, musings

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