I traveled in China from 12/28/2014 to 1/6/2015. With Yvonne and my parents, we went on a barnstorming tour through Longman Grottoes, Xi’an, Fu Zhou, Beijing and Tianjin. Highlights include: the headless, defaced stone statues at Longman; the Terracotta warriors that for all its glory are only guarding the most periphery of the emperor’s tomb; the amazingly preserved city wall of Xi’an; the Forbidden Palace, which is somehow completely different from my memory; the Muslim district in Xi’an and its amazing street food.
A few other observations:
1. Smart phones everywhere. There are more people using it than in the U.S. and they seemed to be of high quality too! In stark contrast with the slow and sparse internet connections for desktops.
2. Amazing transportation infrastructure: shiny new train stations, airports, highways and high-speed rail that shrinks the country.
3. Over-construction. This is especially severe in middle level cities like Fu Zhou and smaller country sides, where colonies of tall, clonal apartment complexes sprouted in the midst of farmland and deserted country-side.