On the Third Day of China: Backseat Observing

As mentioned in my last post, I chose to do a package tour for most of this trip, except the last three days that I added on at the end. I’m generally not a package tour person but as a solo traveler for this trip, I liked having some activities planned for me and the option to socialize when I wanted. The schedule was fairly open, so I had a fair amount of alone and free time as well. The other reason I chose a package tour for this specific trip was because I knew it would be freezing out and I didn’t want to be standing around waiting for public transportation. I also had absolutely no intention of trying to drive in China. The cities are massive and chaotic, and often times the signs are not translated into English and it’s not like you can sound out the words. I knew a car rental would have been a terrible idea. I just didn’t know how right I was.  Continue reading →

On the Second Day of China: A Break From My Life

A close friend of mine works for a multinational medical device company, and when her coworkers go to China, they bring special laptops with only what they need for that specific trip. Then those laptops get wiped when they come back. This is not a surprise given China’s reputation for having a complete lack of respect for intellectual property. Just look at the two “7-11s” I photographed. There were many, many more and real 7-11s too. Even though I’m a random nobody tourist, my friend’s stories and others I read on the internet about laptop confiscation and spyware made me decide to leave my laptop at home. Continue reading →

On the First Day of China: All the People

I love Boulder. But as I’ve mentioned before, Boulder is almost 90 percent white and, more importantly than skin color, fairly homogeneous in terms of interests and education level, especially in my group of friends. So, while I went to China to learn about the Chinese, I also talked to everyone I met on the various tours I took. People are endlessly fascinating if for no other reason than that their lives are nothing like mine. Among the tourists I spent time with were Continue reading →