Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Contrast.

I was lucky enough to go to 2 of the most famous cities in China. Shanghai and Beijing. What I noticed was how different they are. They are literally the complete opposites. I felt this the most the day I left Shanghai and arrived in Beijing.

So, ok, we're on our way to the domestic airport in Shanghai. It's on the other side of town and halfway there I'm like... oh shit, do I need my passport? Now, don't ask me why I didn't bring it. Idk... it just didn't occur to me, ok? We're traveling within the same country! I already feel dumb. But anyway, I mention this to my mom and she kind of smirks and is like uh... duh... guess you can't go!!... and then we keep heading towards the airport. I'm sitting there, like, what? maybe she's just exaggerating. So we get there and I'm like ok maybe I should mention something to my dad because we definitely need to move fast if I need it... so I say, " Daddy.... I forgot my passport ...." ... and he explodes with anger. He unleashes the dragon. Ok. So they exchange our tickets for a later date. I'm bawling, feeling so stupid... climbing into the taxi with my dad to take the hour trip back to the apartment to get my passport. I think the ride back was enough punishment. I probably felt like I was going to die every 30 seconds. Shanghai taxi drivers drive as if there are no traffic rules. As if there are no lanes. As if their cars can fit in spaces they can't fit. As if people are transparent. BUT. They never get into accidents. EVER. (I could elaborate on this... I have a theory this is why so many asians are bad drivers because they come from the mainland and think that driving like this is normal everywhere. wrong.) Anyway. we finally get it. and I am like oh shit, now another hour BACK. Sigh. Eventually, we make it to Beijing. Ok.

the great wall of china.

So, the minute I step into the airport... omg spotless. Everyone thinks China is dirty. Well, in some places it is. The cities are fucking huge, what do you expect? But this was ridiculous. It was SPOTLESS. And we get into the taxi and the taxis are all nice and new and clean with new linens... what is this?! And the roads have no trash. And there is barely any traffic at all. Everybody stays in their lane. The driver tells us they've cleaned up a lot because of the Olympics. I believe it. For sure. But at the same time, you could just tell they were a much more reserved and disciplined population. Beijing had police and government officials everywhere. The city looked so old-fashioned and ... old. The buildings are nothing in comparison to the skyscrapers that are everywhere in Shanghai. It's more of a city full of history. The streets aren't as crowded. The food isn't as good, sorry. The weather is SO much better, though. It was just interesting. It was like old vs. new.

little man at heaven's temple

I'm just surprised Shanghai isn't more polluted than Beijing. Why IS Beijing so polluted anyway? Shanghai is so much more congested... in every way. Maybe cuz it's by the water, who knows?


All I know is, it was an interesting experience. I just saw the opening ceremony for the Olympics on the TV. I got goosebumps... it was so amazing. So many people don't understand our culture. I don't even really, but at least I don't feel as estranged. I think it will be hard to underestimate us now.

Anyhow, pictures should be on flickr soon.

<3 Frances

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