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Expectations vs. Reality (Part 2) by JulesE

It was a very nice hotel, four stars and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Chinese version of four stars was almost equivalent to the American.  The bed was very hard however.  I learned later that all beds in Chinese hotels are hard.  I was tired, I didn’t care.  I was only staying one night anyway, I was on a mission.  After the shower I was a little to wound up for sleep, so I decided to go down to the lobby.  I noticed signs on the elevator walls advertising a floor devoted to relaxation.  There were pictures of foot massage and pretty women.  Of course this floor does not require any explanation.  When the elevator came to it, the door opened and two men entered with smiles on their faces and booze on their breath.  I realized that the Chinese relax just like all the rest of the world.

Once the private garden of Ming and Qing emperors, Beihai may be the most beautiful public park in China.

Beijing Old

Photo courtesy of

CCTV Head Office Building in Beijing

Beijing New

Photo courtesy of

The flight from Beijing to Guangzhou was my first experience on a Chinese airline.  I was impressed with the attendants and with the plane.  It was a brand new Boeing and was clean as a whistle.  The flight was non-eventful and I arrived to see another large city with similar highways and road signs in Chinese and English.  I thought I would only see the English in Beijing because of the Olympics, but I was wrong.  The tentacles of capitalism stretch even into the heart of communism.  The cab ride into Guangzhou was not as long as the Beijing ride and the cab was legit.  I gave the driver a nice tip and he was very grateful and even waved goodbye as I got my bag from his trunk.  I then realized that tipping was not the custom, but getting your own bag from the cabs trunk is.  This hotel was even nicer than the one in Beijing.

I was in the middle of Guangzhou and I must say it is huge and hot, very hot, even for June.  The humidity had to be 100% if it was anything.  I decided to take a walk after checking in and relaxing for a few minutes.  The heat was horrible.  It was the middle of the day and there was no breeze and the slight haze in the sky was no protection from the blistering sun.  I walked for about 30 minutes and I was soaked.  I am not exaggerating; even the top of my jeans was wet with sweat.  I am from the southern US, I grew up in New Orleans and Houston, I am used to hot weather, this was HOT and very humid.  I stayed in my room the rest of the day and rested.  I still had not recovered from the flight.  As I rested, I reflected on what I had seen so far.

Most of all I was amazed at the modern buildings and all the new construction.  I was also amazed at how western everything seemed.  The only thing that seemed Chinese was the people.  Every person I met was nice and polite, even the first cab driver who screwed me.  I thought to myself how I had experienced more culture shock when I moved from New Orleans to Houston than I experienced in China.  I had also noticed that I had been in two large cities and I had not seen or heard a police siren.  I had not seen any violence or even a traffic accident and the way those cabs drive there should have been many accidents.  I also had noticed that the clothing people wore was the same as in any western country, including all the tee shirts with American logos on them.  I was kind of disappointed, but I was on a mission.  I had yet another bit of travel to experience.  My first Chinese train ride.

Shenzhen is only an hour from Guangzhou.  Again I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy a comfortable seat on an air-conditioned train that only cost about ten dollars to ride.  No different from trains in Europe, including the little cart that sells drinks for four times more than they should cost.  I did notice that the train was constantly being swept and mopped.  It was very clean.  So much seemed familiar.  I recalled that even the limited amount of TV that I had experienced was similar.  There were Chinese soap operas, Chinese beauty products, weight loss scams, and infomercials and of course very patriotic programs about how wonderful the political system is and how it serves the people.  Just like our propaganda.  It was all too familiar.
Now I come to the part of my meeting the most wonderful woman in the world.

I have mentioned her before and I intentionally did not go into any real detail other than our first meeting.  That is all I am comfortable disclosing.  It would be unfair to her to say more without her input and it is much too personal.  We do intend to marry.  I have hired the Lawyer who advertises on the CLM web site and I am very satisfied with his services.  It is a long process and a difficult one.  It is not easy to meet someone, fall in love and then go back home to the other side of the planet and wait.  I will say this about my future wife; I have never known a woman like her.  I don’t think she is an example of the ordinary Chinese woman, if there is such a thing as an ordinary Chinese woman.  She really is exceptional and unlike anyone I have ever known before.  We chat daily and most of our chat is filled with laughter.  I actually like the communication problem, it makes for very interesting attempts at clarification.  I know we will continue to be happy and spend the rest of our life together.  I would like to say this to all the men out there.  They are worth it!!!  It is a long and somewhat expensive process, but, they are soooo worth it.

From: Original         Author: JulesE         Time: 3/5/2010 4:18:56 PM

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#2012-06-04 01:30:00 by Robert2001 @Robert2001
Reply Congratulations on your first trip to China. and certainly congratulations on finding your bride. Guangzhou is a beautiful and very western city and Shenzhen even more so. Shenzhen is more an extension of Hong Kong than it is a typical city of mainland China. In fact, people from the rest of the mainland are required to get a special permit to enter Shenzhen much less to live there. Beijing is a little more typically Chinese, but it is after all the capitol city and one of the show places of China.
I hope this will not be your last trip to China. For your next trip I would suggest to you that you explore more of the other side of China. Xian is a smaller but beautiful city with many things to see including the tomb of Whang Di and his Terra Cotta Warriors (my daughter called them the Terra Cotta Lawyers). No wonder Whang Di buried them ;)
I encourage you to take the train from Xian to Beijing. I sure it will be a different experience from the train you were on.
I have been visiting China since 1999 and have seen all the changes, the results of which you saw on your trip.
Scratch the surface and discover the real China. I think you will be as amazed and fascinated as I was and continue to be. I think I will never tire of exploring this rich and diverse land and its wonderful people.
#2013-06-06 06:43:00 by GLLK @GLLK
Reply Yes, China is a GREAT place to visit. Enjoy!!!
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