My adventure in China
It’s still true, I think, what Samuel Johnson said many years ago about traveling: “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.”
Shanghai, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
For instance you need to see firsthand, in modern China, the ear cleaners who go to teahouses in the People’s Park in Chengdu and offer ear cleaning services. Yes, this is exactly what is sounds like! People can get their ears cleaned (in public) while they enjoy afternoon tea!
Zhujiajaio, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
You might imagine a bustling, modern China with is myriad factories and populous cities. But what of the reality in the village of Fengdu where dental services are offered in the street?
Fengdu, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
The China I saw was admittedly only a small sliver of how things are. The reality I saw is what I was permitted and encouraged to see and experience.
Fengdu, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
The underpasses in major cities were pristine and planted with beautiful gardens. I didn’t see homeless living underneath them as I did in neighboring India. Is this because China has done such an amazing job at creating economic growth that there aren’t any homeless in cities whose populations surpass 20 million?
Fenggdu, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
The cities of Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, and Shanghai that I visited are thriving cosmopolitan centers. A friend put it best when she said they looked like “legos”. Each city center was chock-full of apartment buildings as far as you could see. One building, then another, and another. Each apartment building appearing like its neighbor with little outward individuality.
Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
Laundry adorned nearly every balcony of Shanghai’s modern apartment buildings like ornaments.
Rice Noodles, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty and now live in apartments in major cities. Children who earn enough money dutifully send it back to their parents who may still eke out a subsistence living in agricultural communities where the retirement age is mid-50’s. A small house in the historic, traditional, hutong district of Beijing might sell for $1 million. The family uses a public bathroom across the street, shared with many neighbors.
Along the Yangtze River, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
My visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian was a highlight of my visit. I was surprised to learn that it is still an active archaeological site and see the team of scientists at work in pits. I was amazed that over one thousand yeares ago an emperor was so concerned about his afterlife that he commissioned an army of 8,000+ soldiers to be built and buried across 30+ acres
Village life, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
It is true what they say, China is a land of contrast. I visited a city with more than 6 million vehicles; a bustling financial center in Shanghai; a village relocated due to the Three Gorges Dam; a hanging coffin along the Yangtze, centuries-old Terra Cotta warriors; and a traditional family home without running water and modern apartment buildings.
Parasols, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
I enjoyed wonderful food, including Peking duck in Beijing, noodles in Xian, and a traditional hot pot dinner in Chengdu.
Muslim Quarter, Xian, Copyright 2017 by Cindy A Stephens
I learn something on each of my world travels that informs my perspective and world outlook. On this journey I came away with the strong belief that there is more “gray” than “black and white” when examining different political and economic situations.
Millions of people are no longer living in poverty and help other generations. This progress has come at a price, though, as farmlands and the environment have been eradicated to make room for cities as they expand ever outward. And the constantly grey, polluted skies are a reminder of the many inherent trade offs of rapid economic development.
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I am a marketing professional and a fine art photographer. With more than 20 years of experience as a marketer and image maker during the digital technology revolution, I now educate creative professionals how to create their artistic presence in the changing art world.
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