I was overseas a few weeks ago. From Europe to Asia I went around the world, and this is what I saw.
China is basically the United States now, especially in Shanghai. They have the same sort of movies we have. For instance, Lost in Thailand, China’s biggest hit ever, is a blatant ripoff of Hangover 2. They have the same franchise restaurants (KFC, DQ, BK, and McDonald’s), a New York style subway system, movie theaters, and the same large malls they have all over the world.
Most of the time I didn’t even remember I was in China. If you learn a few words in Mandarin you can get around, but most menus there were in English and there’s usually a person or two at restaurants that can speak English (not that I spoke that much, I wanted to practice mandarin).
I came to China for something foreign and different, and in some ways (armed police in the streets, everybody walking in formation, people smoking inside and spitting on the ground, quick goodbyes, peeing in the street, the toilets being holes in the ground) the cities in China are different, but a lot of the culture is the same as in the United States.
If you go, I could recommend going far outside the city to see the ‘real’ China, but I think that’s a lot like saying going to Nebraska is seeing the real America. It’s not, it’s seeing the uncivilized country part of America. The real America, and the real China, is located where people are running the country and driving the economy. It’s located where most people live. That’s what you’ll get from Beijing and Shanghai.
Visiting China isn’t about escape anymore, it’s about seeing a country on the brink of westernization. China is a country in flux, changing rapidly and forcing its citizens to adapt, and it’s awesome to see how they’re doing it.
But it’s over now. My world vacation is over and I’m glad. It’s time to start working and I’m ready to help grow somebody’s company, even though I know it’s going to be a lot harder than this was.
Let me know if you want any tips on cheap travel or anything, I bet you have enough money to go on a trip around the world even if you don’t think you do.
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