Sunday, December 17, 2017

China in a nutshell

Developing at a rate unmatched by the rest of the world, the ever-expanding country’s dense population is almost unfathomable. Yet the modern skyscrapers sit alongside 10th Century architecture and it’s this contrast between tradition and transformation that makes modern China so intriguing.

Remnants of the Great Wall, water towns that time forgot, lush greenery a stone’s throw away from sweeping skyscrapers and Buddhist temples hidden amongst the mountains… it’ll be like exploring another galaxy, just be sure to pack a phrasebook.

Moving around the country has never been easier, but you’d be wrong to assume it’s plain sailing. Few people speak English, the writing system is unlike anything I have ever seen (so road signs are almost impossible) and foreigners are sometimes seen as exotic objects of deep curiosity - leading to often amusing scenarios where a line begins to form of locals wanting a photo with you (peace signs are optional).

In a world where people fill every inch of space, patience gets you nowhere. If you want to get from one side of the road to the other, you have no option but to push and I found myself unhesitatingly joining in. But despite holding a reputation for curtness, the locals are friendly and welcoming.

Here’s my take on the region.

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