China was not a place on my bucket list. I have been to numerous countries in Asia and with the exception of Singapore, I have found them busy, dirty, a little frightening on the roads and not places that I choose to rush back to. Our trip to China, therefore was made on price alone. We had a trip for a little more than two weeks that cost us less than $AU600 (currently US$411. This included tours everyday, top class accomodation, all breakfasts. Only our main meal and a couple of lunches were left for us to provide.
We arrived in Spring to find the blossoms in full bloom. Because they come out earlier in China than Japan many Japanese tourists come to see the cherry blossoms here. I was surprised at how clean it was and water was present everywhere.
Everything looked clean and bright and the overcrowding that I was expecting was non-existent. The roads were civilised. Traffic moved at an orderly pace, obeying road rules – in fact I felt that I could easily hire a car and drive there.
The buildings were tall and modern. For a girl from the sticks it was a beautiful sight skyscrapers of glass and shapes fantastic. Having flown from Sydney that has been having a light rail construction disrupting the CBD for the last three or four years Beijing looked first world and Sydney the third world.
The people were as you would expect – no different to you and I. They were friendly and always very helpful and they loved their dogs as much as I do.
Some places reminded me of Europe.
I doubt that we would have such a colourful entrance to a fair ground.
But as the sun set over the rollercoaster ride I could have been anywhere else in the world. Would Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City bring a different China?