Last page! Page 10 - are you tired of China, yet? There were so many
more pictures I could have put up!
In Shanghai, we went to see the Shanghai acrobats (had seen the Peking
Opera in Beijing - a real experience because of the acrobatic moves,
the elaborate costumes and what, to our ears, sounded like a lot of
screeching - there were English translations of the plot flashed on an
electric sign to the right of the stage - the translations were
occasionally hysterical, but we loved the opera).
These are typical Chinese apartments in a city. Each set of windows is
one apartment. To our mind, they are very small and crowded. There is
very little storage space (hence the daily marketing). People who can,
often build "porches" onto the front of their apartment where they
store and dry clothes. If they cannot do this, they will hang clothes
on what look like flag poles coming out of their windows, or on the
railings of bridges.It was very odd to see quilts, coats, dresses, and
pants hung out to
dry on the hand rails and along the bridges in Shanghai. I kept
wondering if the clothes were safe from theft. I guess they were
because we didn't see any naked people running around.
You often see meats and poultry hanging out in small stalls in the open
air. You can also go to an "exotic animal" market to buy snakes (whose
blood is considered fortifying) or civet cats or other "exotic" beasts
which are considered delicacies, especially in Southern China.
Some of the powdered or dried animal parts are used in traditional
Despite all the modernization going on - skyscrapers being built, roads
being paved - China is still very rural and dependent on people-power.
There are a number of minority groups in China, altho 85% of the
population is Han. Despite what is given "lip-service," minorities are
somehow regarded as "less than Han."
During this trip, we saw many changes in China. The people looked
happier and healthier than before. There seemed to be a greater
"openess" in terms of talking about the Government, its policies, and
directions. China knows it has work ahead of it to ceome a real global
power. Its economy is booming. It wants to reunify Taiwan (and get back
the treasures that migrated there during the Cultural Revolution),
incorporate Tibet (because they believe that historically, Tibet was
Chinese), and modernize Mongolia (a difficult task because of the
nomads). It wants its people to learn new agricultural methods (they
are still called "peasants"), to control its population growth, and
improve its medical delivery system.
China has a huge supply of coal, used to power railroads and factories.
The quality of air in the cities can be awful. Much of the traveling
done by the Chinese is by railroad. Only the wealthier can afford cars.
Even if you can buy a car, there is no guarantee you will be able to
get a license for it. Licenses are renewed yearly through a lottery
Tourists are limited in many ways: they must stay in approved tourist
hotels (truly gorgeous), they are attended and watched by national and
local guides, their interaction with the locals is strictly controlled.
It used to be that tourists were only allowed to buy things using
"special" money at Friendship stores. Now, however, you can still buy
at Friendship stores, but you can use regular yuen. You can also buy
from street vendors, but this is discouraged because there is a grave
fear that tourists will be ripped off, complain, and the Chinese will
It was a great trip! We saw so many things (wonders, really), and
cannot wait to explore more of this huge country. There's Xi'an with
the thousands of terra cotta warriers in an Emperor's tomb; there's
Tibet; there's the Yangtze River cruise past the dam and the hanging
caskets of the mysterious Ba people, so, once we save up enough money
to afford, it - China here we come (again)!