J's views on our visit to China

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

For today's post I roped J into sharing his experience in China. Our summer trip was his first time in China (and Asia), so I thought it would be important to hear about China from someone who's not an old China hand. So, J take it away!

1) What did you expect? My expectations of cities were that it would be crowded, smoggy, an unbearable amount of traffic, to the point of claustrophobia, and delicious and spicy food vendors on every street corner. Viewing photos of forests and mountains on various sites and in magazines, I was expecting that beyond the cities would hold natural wonders of beauty, vast forests, snow capped mountains, and the glory that is the Great Wall of China.

2) What was unexpected? The unexpected overwhelming was just how many cars and people there actually are. It was a unique experience crossing the road and being a nuisance for the drivers. It was a game of Frogger. I was also overwhelmed with the smell of garbage, exhaust, cigarette smoke, and the miscellaneous smells that come with close living quarters and a lack of infrastructure. I was told that people would be curious by the way I look; being over six feet tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, and wide shoulders. I didn't expect to have my picture taken while on the bus, in the metro, eating a restaurant, walking the street, or standing in a line.

I knew how large the Great Wall of China was and I have seen many photos, but it doesn't compare to actually standing on it, in the mountains, looking at ingenuity and structure. It was impressive to be standing on the Wall, looking out as far as I could see, knowing that it continued on for thousands of more miles.

The Terra Cotta Warriors

3) What were your top five best parts of the trip? 1. the Great Wall of China, 2. mopeding around Lugu Lake, 3. Terra Cotta warriors, 4. Hutong cooking class, 5. Hot pot

Biking the Xi'an City Wall

4) What was your most uncomfortable experience? Riding in a bus over mountains with well over 1,000 foot drops, on dirt roads riddled with craters (not pot holes) barely large enough for a single truck, sitting next to people who get car sick sitting in traffic, not understanding why we had to switch buses three times, and doing this for 11 hours.

A cooking class at the Hutong in Beijing

5) Would you go again? If yes, what do you want to see next? I would go again, but would want to visit a more remote location. It would be nice to go along the Yangtze River or into the mountains and forests.

Motor biking around Lugu Lake

6) What couldn't you get used to? The smell, amount of people, and hygiene (peeing, pooping, blowing nose in public).

Hot Pot in Yunnan

7) What did you think of the food? What was your favorite dish? The food was delicious. I enjoy a good bowl of noodle soup.

Naxi women dancing

boating on Lugu Lake

Lion Mountain in Lugu Lake

Isn't J a great photographer? You can check out more of his photos here.

I'm linking up with Katie for Social Saturday.

Thanks J! What are your expectations for visiting China?


  1. I really enjoyed getting J's perspective! x

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Hopefully he'll write a few more posts!

  2. That is such a great idea for a post! And also it's fun to hear from a first timer in China - I feel that would be a better understanding that if I went myself what to expect. Very interesting, thanks for sharing his perspective!

    1. Thank you! I'm thinking of doing it again sometime!

  3. What a great post. His ideas of what he expected are similar to my own, and although I've never been, I plan on only visiting the remote parts of China in the future.

    It is incredible how different the culture really can be from our personal standards and I often think about the sheer volume of people in China, still a little hard to believe.

    Angie from reasons to dress

    1. I'm glad you want to go! There are some really wonderful parts of China and the history and culture is just fascinating to me. When you go give me a shout and I will give you any tips I have!

  4. yeah i am definitely not into the peeing and pooping and the general hygiene part. i also did not enjoy having a larvae come out of my food in beijing and i think i starved myself the rest of the trip. haha but isn't it funny that a lot of these people will come to the states and think we're totally absurd too. and i was overreacting in their eyes and they weren't reacting enough in mine! :) i find different cultures and how we all can have different world views so fascinating though.

    1. Ew! There were bugs in your food?! So gross. I mean I've eaten bugs there, but never seen them in food that isn't on purpose. Gross. Actually I'm not a huge fan of the fried larva, grasshoppers, or other insects either, though I guess I'll eat anything.