It goes without saying that with more than 1/5th of the world’s population China will be at the top of many lists. As the world’s #2 economy it is just a matter of time (some say by 2025) before China has the world’s #1 economy. The Chinese are pushing forward all the time which is in concert with the way the people are moving from place to place.
I’ve spent nearly the past two weeks traveling around the Middle Kingdom. I have traveled to seven cities in eleven days. Whether it be planes, trains, buses, cars, (no boats this time but on other trips), if you want to get around in China it does one no good to be meek. This is was bit alarming at first as since I am a New Yorker born and bred and New Yorkers have quite the reputation for being rude. When it comes to traveling in China you had better be willing to push through – literally – or be left behind.
The Chinese do not appear to have a culture of deferral. People cut right in front of you, elbow past you if you hesitate, and are generally most interested in getting where they are going as quickly as possible. However on the few occasions when I looked lost or out of sorts there was always a Chinese person willing to help – sometimes going out of their way in a manner that would probably never occur in the U.S.
Driving is harrowing and being a passenger even more so. I assume there are some traffic laws in China but they appear to be suggestions more than laws. I’ve seen things, eye and hair-raising things from the passenger seat. There were a few instances in which I actually closed my eyes, but alas nothing untoward occurred. One cannot be a deferrer when operating a motor vehicle as you will be cut-off and immobilized. And the Chinese LOVE to use their car horns. Keep in mind that for many Chinese, cars were scarce ten years ago and they did not start driving until they were adults in their thirties or older. China is learning how to drive all at once.
If you are shaking your head and thinking you’d rather not experience China for yourself you could not be more wrong. China is an amazing place and getting more so all the time. The new Central government is soon to be in place and there is much trepidation on how the new Central Government will behave. Like the U.S. and other western countries China has its own problems and challenges to face in the near future. But the Chinese are positive about what they can do and be and pushing hard to make it happen.
I am eager to get back even though I haven’t quite left yet.
How about you? Have you been or are you interested in going to China?