This is my last post from China, so I’ll list the things which I think will stay longest in my memory.
Selfies is definitely the highest on the list. Interestingly, while youngsters take selfies left, right, and on a stick, somewhat older people don’t. I saw a young couple at the Summer Palace in Beijing taking photos of each other. When I offered to take their photo as a couple on one of their phones, they seemed very happy. They never thought of taking a selfie with both.
Enjoy Dental Clinic may be the next on the list. We saw this from a taxi stuck on Beijing’s 4th ring road. I thought I would go back to take a photo, but agreed with The Family when she said there was no reason to believe that we would get stuck in traffic right there again.
Couples with matched T-shirts are smile inducing always, but especially when they wear a pair of well-designed black heart on off-white with her heart saying "No", and his saying "Yes". Closely related to this are families in matched clothes: papa, mama and pre-teen daughter wearing white trousers and fluorescent green shirts with grey trim, for example.
Architectural marvels which stay in my memory are not only the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, but also the experience in Shanghai of standing near the top of one of the tallest buildings on earth and looking at several others among the ten tallest.
The crowds at Badaling on the Great Wall and in the Forbidden City gave us a sense of how many people there are in China. When you are in India, you get this sense only in railway stations. In China the railway stations are relatively more quiet, at least in May.
The variety of food was something we both expected and didn’t. Chinese food is not unfamiliar anywhere in the world, but eating it in China is an experience. I’ve never sought out vegetables so willingly before. There was only one road in Beijing which served insects and snakes for dinner, so that seems pretty exotic also for the Chinese.
But most of all, the overwhelming helpfulness. The Family and I remember the worst day of our trip, caught in a thunderstorm in West Lake in Hangzhou, totally drenched, unable to find a taxi, not knowing which bus to take, since we had not planned to take one, and without a single useful word of Putonghua. A completely unknown young couple shared their taxi with us, and directed the taxi driver to our hotel after dropping off enroute. On another occassion I asked a security guard to help me with something, a passing student stopped to translate, and then took the guard’s place so that he could come with me. The most populous country in the world, and so many kind and helpful people!