Back from the Middle Kingdom

I wanted to post sooner, but it took me some time to wrap my head around such an enormous and complex country like China. Our tour was a great introduction to the big cities on the East Coast but it left me with more questions than answers. A lot of people asked me why I was going to China in the first place; It’s not known for being romantic, scenic, or easy for tourists. But it’s a country that is so entwined in our economy that one day it will be hard to distinguish what’s American and what’s Chinese. Anything China does affects us – so I wanted to see what it was like firsthand.

I’ll start my travel narrative in the Summer Palace.

There were two massive dragons guarding the summer palace

The lake and mountain are man-made and based on Hangzhou:

A pagoda on top of the man-made hill

As soon as we entered the palace we saw groups of seniors practicing tai chi in the inner courtyard. We could also hear ethereal chanting coming from some distant location. We followed the pleasant sound up a hill and found hundreds of senior citizens singing in an outdoor pavilion.

Hundreds of Senior citizens come every day to sing

This was up a steep rocky hill that was hard for me to climb, and these seniors walk up it every day. I don’t know if the sense of community, the singing, or the exercise is what’s keeping them so young. Exercise is a huge part of the culture there. You’ll see people stop what they’re doing to do some stretches.

A quiet moment of reflection

The enthusiastic conductor

I had a fan on the mountain. He told Mike that a pretty wife will make him happy every day. He didn’t let a few missing teeth ruin his smile:

A shameless flirt

Stay tuned for more stories from China.

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