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June 14, 2007

China - A Country of Contrasts

 The world’s most populated country, but with families of only one child (a new law now allows two as long as the parents are from a family of one)

The world’s largest electrical generating project, nearing completion (the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River) and The Great Wall finally completed about 8 centuries ago (the only structure on earth that can be seen from outer space).

10,000,000 high school senior students who must write a marathon university entrance examination (several days), for only 5.5 million university spaces

More construction cranes than we have ever seen in one city, just blocks away from the Forbidden City and Mao’s tomb in Beijing, as the city gets ready to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Huge cities – Shanghai 17,000,000 / Beijing 12,000,000 – only a few miles from a family compound of about 24 on a local farm.

REAL Chinese food everywhere (who would have guessed) – next door to McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Mandarin, Cantonese and more than 40 other languages of Asian peoples who migrated to China centuries ago, plus ENGLISH.  Nearly everyone we met spoke a little English, which is taught in many schools – bilingual signs were everywhere.

Every guide we had, when asked if it was safe for us to go out at night, said “absolutely”.  Because family accommodation is so small, the streets are alive at night as friends and family meet.

Obese is not a word you hear much in China and south-east Asia.  Nobody is overweight.  Trim is apparently “in” in China.

Most of the big cities have highrise apartments like North America but their designs are far more creative than ours, as is their use of bright colour trim and neon lighting for wonderful nighttime effects (plain gray concrete was not much in evidence). 

Although nearly as large as Canada, China operates with only 1 time zone.  On part of our trip mornings came real early.


The most modern industrial complexes just a few miles from rice paddies being ploughed by water buffalo.  China is the #1 rice producing country in the world


Posted by Bernice at June 14, 2007 10:40 PM


Thank you for the information. I think my typical picture of China is more in the rural areas that we used to see but obviously the country is growing and expanding far beyond what many of us thought would ever happen. Actually, I believe the United States is in debt to China but not sure about that. Strange, huh?

Sincerely, Bette

Posted by: Bette Andrew at July 22, 2007 05:26 PM