After spending a total of 4 weeks in China, there were several things that struck me. First off, it was an amazing and challenging cultural experience. It was hard to be away from the family for so long, and an unforgettable experience.
My colleague and I had the chance to sight see over the weekends and made it to four of China's capital cities: Beijing (current capital), Nanjing (previous south capital), Xi'an (ancient capital), and Shanghai (financial capital). If I could do it all over again - I would do it exactly the same.
Second, the smells of China are indescribable. The best summary I can come up with is that it is a combination of 4 smells: Ginger, Smoke, Sewer, and Moth Balls. Basically differing levels of gross.
Third, the pollution and smog is simply shocking. At one point, we were travelling on a high speed train. We looked out the window and literally thought we were in a tunnel, but it turns out that it was only smog. I was careful not to post photos while in China - we had heard reports of people being thrown in jail for 3 years for posting "propaganda" about the smog. This is a water truck that acts as a wet-scrubber to knock down the smog in busy intersections. Some people believe that they intentionally park these trucks in areas close to monitoring points to artificially show lower smog results.
The sun set at about 4:30pm - approximately 1.5hrs before true sunset (due to the smog).
A view out the train window. It was the same view for 2hrs (at 300 km/hr).
Fourth, the cultural experiences were interesting. I don't speak mandarin, but was able to sense quite a bit of what was happening based on tone and body language. Anytime we got them excited, they would stand up out of their chairs.
They also offered incredible hospitality by taking us to dinner most evenings. It was common to have a family style dinner with a lazy susan in the middle of the table to rotate dishes around:
Fifth, there is no way to describe the traffic. Scary and ridiculous. There are scooters everywhere. Most are overloaded, several have small children on them, and no one wears a helmet. If they actually followed a traffic rule, it might be ok. In reality, not so much.
Finally, the size. I couldn't believe the size of cities and the population. At one point, we rode in a car for an hour, and the only thing to see was high rises as far as you could see. Nanjing has over 7 million people in the metro area, Xi'an similar, and Shanghai has more people than the state of Texas! The size of buildings was amazing. This is the Shanghai Tower and is the world's 2nd highest building. The second is a view of the world's 6th tallest building from the world's highest observation deck. Incredible:
A view of the world's 2nd tallest building (Shanghai Tower in the middle). It has the world's tallest observation deck and the world's fastest elevator at over 40mph!
This a skyline view of Shanghai from the Vue Bar:
Here's my selfie boarding the ferry across the Huangpu River in Shanghai:
Since our last post, we've been busy with lots of activities!
Jeryn's been hard at it with gymnastics. She's had 5 competitions, and been progressively more consistent and stable - making steady progress on the beam and floor.
We have been fortunate to have lots of family time with Auntie J, Auntie Kirk, and Grandma - all were able to join us for Thanksgiving.
I've been to China for a two-week work trip. It was a long stretch, but super interesting. I was fortunate enough to make the most of it with a weekend trip to the Great Wall of China, and Beijing. I found it interesting that people would stare regularly at me, and often approach to have our picture taken.
We capped it all with a 3-day trip to New York City. Neither Christina nor I have ever been, so it was a great opportunity to explore. We made the most of the experience with ice skating at Rockafeller Plaza, a day at the Statue of Liberty, loads of window display viewing, and the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
Hope all is well where you are. Thanks for staying up on what's new with the excitement at the Anderson's. We're blessed and fortunate, and hoping to talk or see many of you soon!