I was aware that China has made significant modernization
in the last few decades, but I was not prepared for the
shock and awe of the development that has occurred.|
High rise buildings everywhere, and under construction everywhere, including along the Silk Road through the Gobi desert.
Broad streets with service roads and wide sidewalks, separated by flowers, trees or shrubs.
Highways everywhere - e.g. a 4 lane divided highway from Shanghai to Kazakhstan via the Gobi desert, with feeder highways along the way. Most highways toll, collected manually - no camera capture that we saw.
Millions of cars, trucks, buses, etc., all modern. We were on at least 25 different buses and every one was modern, clean, comfortable, air conditioned.
Huge modern air conditioned airports everywhere we flew. Amazing compared to Beijing's crowded facility that we used in 1996, with blackboards to show flight departures.
All tourist locations modern and well laid out, with secure stairways and pathways. One caveat is that washroom facilities are not a priority in many locations and restaurants.
Weather hot! Daytime temperature mid thirties everywhere except Tianchi. Dry in the northwest, but still felt hot. Humid along the Yangtze, quite debillitating.
Our Mini Three Gorges local guide was drowned out by the Chinese groups. He mentioned that June, July and August they see mostly Chinese, very few foreign tourists.
Apparently April, May, September and October are more comfortable, but winter can be cold - about freezing and damp in Shanghai, minus forty in the northwest.
Air pollution not so bad. We anticipated bad air pollution, but it was generally not really noticeable, although along the Yangtze and in Shanghai the visibility was not great.
By way of comparison, I took the two photos below from our Toronto balcony about noon July 4 (a couple of weeks after our trip). In clear weather we can see the Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario, but smog often obscures them.
Toronto smog competes well with the China we saw.
Many people! 2012 population 1.34 billion, density about 40 times Canada's 34 million in almost the same land area.
But the population density is still relatively low. For example, Singapore's density is about 52 times China's (and 2100 times Canada's).
Xi'an, Terra Cotta Warriors
The New Orient Express
Jiayuguan & Jiuquan
Fengdu Ghost Town
Lesser Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam, Disembark
Ode to Leo Liu