Rude Awakening

As most people may know already, when Americans travel to foreign countries, we must be wary of the food and water we consume because not everywhere puts as much chemicals into their water as we do. Unfortunately, something we ate gave 7 of us food poisoning. I ended up at the hospital around 1 am, and returned much later. The consensus of the group was that the sick would stay in Beijing to recover, while the rest carried on. Ironically it was 7 boys that got sick, and no girls did. There was nothing definitive that only the 7 of us did, so the source was never determined.  During the extra few days we stayed in Beijing we really did next to nothing except take antibiotics and try to hold down whatever minuscule amount of food we ate if any at all.

Rather than talk about food poisoning and hospitals, I’d like to take this blog to talk about some of the things I’ve noticed about China.

To start off, one of the first things I noticed when entering Beijing was the plants. Everywhere you look there is green. This is weird because everywhere you look, it is also clearly a city. That’s where they differ from the US. For example New York City has nearly no trees and bushes compared to Beijing.

Another thing I noticed was the traffic. It is understandable that there would be increased traffic in one of the most populous cities on the planet, but in Beijing it was just ridiculous. Traffic laws almost seemed optional. Another thing is that motor bikes aren’t considered vehicles. At least I don’t think they are because they ran rampant all over the sidewalks beeping at anyone in their way, snaking through crowds. This wasn’t a rare phenomenon either, there were at least 3 motor bikes on the sidewalk with me at all times.

A third difference is their use of bicycles. There are rentable bikes in US cities, but not to the scale there. Every which way there’s a stack of bikes just waiting to be used. With more condensed population brings more condensed everything else. So the use of bikes was extremely convenient for the people there.

Art and design are prevalent in the states, but everything in China seems to have some sort of connection to a spiritual purpose, and is designed to look as appealing as possible. For example the temple of heaven and forbidden city. Given they are the emperor’s property yes, but even still it is so detailed and everything seems to have a purpose in its making. Another example would be the 798 art zone that a handful of us visited. I can’t think of any large area around me in the states that is dedicated to just art. I could be mistaken, but there were many other places like that in China.

Overall, the Chinese culture is complex and interesting, and if you’ve never been there it is an excellent learning experience as well as a lot of fun!

(The picture is of the 7 sick bois and our two lovely guides that stayed in Beijing with us)

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