On the Twelfth Day of China: Not Just Cold, China Cold

Holy moly was China ever cold. So, so cold. My first day there, my tour guide looked at what I was wearing and said she didn’t think I’d be warm enough. I was wearing all the usual winter clothes: knit hat, scarf, gloves, boots, and heavy wool coat. I laughed it off. I was born … Continue reading On the Twelfth Day of China: Not Just Cold, China Cold

On the Eleventh Day of China: Who Speaks Chinglish?

I'm going to start this post by saying that I was blown away by all my tour guides' English abilities. Seriously blown away. As tour guides, I expected their English to be good, but they all had vocabularies far beyond what I expected. They understood everything I and the other guests asked, they understood all … Continue reading On the Eleventh Day of China: Who Speaks Chinglish?

On the Tenth Day of China: History’s History

One thing I noticed fairly early on in my trip is that the Chinese use the word "new" to talk about anything from the Qing dynasty onward. The Qing dynasty started in 1636, just moments after the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. The thousands of years of dynasties before that are the real history to … Continue reading On the Tenth Day of China: History’s History

On the Ninth Day of China: Safety First

When I lived in Russia, I felt incredibly safe as an average citizen (that is, someone not involved in politics or oil or big business or journalism). The sheer volume of people in places I lived and the large police presence made me feel more secure than I generally do in cities in the United … Continue reading On the Ninth Day of China: Safety First

On the Eighth Day of China: What Am I Eating?

Prior to my trip, I learned a bit of Mandarin, including the essentials like basic food and drink. So I knew how to read and say different kinds of meat, noodles, water, beer, and a few other key words. But what I didn't know were the words for the hundreds of different types of vegetables … Continue reading On the Eighth Day of China: What Am I Eating?

On the Seventh Day of China: Move It, People!

With 1.4 billion people and 15 cities with over 10 million people each, transportation in China needs to be a well-oiled machine. And it is! All those people are on the move every day with bicycles, scooters (many of them electric), cars (many of them also electric because China has understood that you have to … Continue reading On the Seventh Day of China: Move It, People!

On the Sixth Day of China: A Job for Everyone

Anyone who has been to China for more than one day would find it difficult to classify China as a communist country. Hell, you don't even need to go to China to know that it's not. Just look at all the billionaires buying up all the property in the United States and Canada. You didn't … Continue reading On the Sixth Day of China: A Job for Everyone

On the Fifth Day of China: Gasping for Air

My weather app indicated full sun the day I flew to Xi'an, and plenty of sun was to be had from 36,000 feet on my flight in, but on the ground, as the photo on the left below demonstrates, no sun was visible. China's air quality issue is well known but until you are in it, you … Continue reading On the Fifth Day of China: Gasping for Air

On the Fourth Day of China: You Can’t Escape Christmas

This was my fifth Christmas spent out of the United States, and my second in a country that does not celebrate Christmas. Supposedly. It turns out that the Chinese love Christmas! On Christmas day, I went out in Xi'an for an amazing dumpling feast. The town was pulsating with energy. People, including cops, were everywhere. … Continue reading On the Fourth Day of China: You Can’t Escape Christmas

On the Third Day of China: Backseat Observing

As mentioned in my last post, I chose to do a package tour for most of this trip, except the last three days that I added on at the end. I'm generally not a package tour person but as a solo traveler for this trip, I liked having some activities planned for me and the … Continue reading On the Third Day of China: Backseat Observing