Home > Cities traveled > Day 40: Thoughts on China

Day 40: Thoughts on China

May 24th, 2011

I started composing this post while sitting on the Vostok train, heading back to Russia. I found myself refreshed to see the open countryside in Russia – without people, without construction, without roads, without trash. I realize that China is a huge and diverse country, geographically and anthropologically, and that I have only seen a minute sample of what it has to offer. I’m pretty sure I will go back one day and I will visit the south and west more, as I’ve been told enumerable times by strangers and friends alike that it is beautiful and I must visit it. But for now, I’m glad to be back in Mother Russia. This picture of the China-Russia border crossing at Manzhouli/Zabaikalsk sums up my feeling between the difference I felt leaving China and entering Russia.

The train passed through these gates. The Russian gate is the one in the foreground that has a beige post with three white stripes on it. The Chinese gate is the monstrous construction in the background.

My last few days in China were spent in Harbin. I spent most of my time just walking around the central city area and up and down the Songhua River. I ate Chinese-style shawerma (which was excellent!) and saw KFC (and the Chinese equivalent) everywhere. (Brad, Chinese seem to _love_ KFC.) I saw middle-aged and older people exercising and dancing in the parks, even in the rain. I even went to KTV (huge karaoke chain) – ack!

And a plug for Couchsurfing – if you have ever even considered it, then don’t delay and just sign up. I have met the most awesome people on my trip and have forged new friendships which I hope to keep long past our few days together. It’s like having local friends everywhere you go and it enriches the experience of that city immensely. Do it!

Now on to Siberia and western Russia…

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  1. from SD
    May 25th, 2011 at 07:50 | #1

    Sandy, did you get a hair cut? You look nice!
    It is very interesting to know the difference between the Russian gate side and the Chinese gate side.
    I love the sculpture of the dragon which seems like it’s chasing a big drum.
    The Chinese are so creative and artistic. I also love their beautiful architecture.

  2. Sam
    May 25th, 2011 at 12:06 | #2

    Chinese shawarma?? MMMMmmm. I want some!

  3. jason
    May 26th, 2011 at 21:14 | #3

    Just thinking of shawerma, Chinese or not, makes my mouth water. :) Yum!

  4. May 26th, 2011 at 22:31 | #4

    a.) That’s great about the couchsurfers — I am glad that has been a really positive aspect of your trip.

    b.) In the pictures, there’s a picture of a biology text book cover — I am almost positive that is the textbook I used in my 10th grade biology class. Weird.

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