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title icon Leaving China

11/3/2008

Our final two days were spent in none other than one of my two favorite cities, Shanghai. Do I need to tell you how we spent our final hours there? At this point, I shouldn’t think so. What I will share with you is a few qualities or items about China that has been overlooked so far.

Traveling on the highways: It is an absolute madhouse with no violations for passing on the shoulder of the road, passing on double yellow lines or cutting off vehicles that have the right-of-way. There are speed limits but they are not enforced. We saw several accidents on the major highways; I am sure, a result of the No Violations policy that each driver lives by.

City traffic: Like any large city, there are too many cars to accommodate the traffic flow. There are also a vast number of bicycles and small motored mopeds that effect inner city traffic movement. It is just the way of life and everyone accepts it.

Smog: Yes, there is a great deal of smog in the big cities. When there is a strong breeze blowing, you begin to see the blue skies and the dark brown, yellow haze begins to burn off. It also affects your breathing when you take long walks in the cities, close to all the traffic flow.

Safety: It is very normal to see young women 18-30 years of age, walking the streets at 1-2 am in the morning; going about their business, be it as vendors, shoppers or just the enjoyment of walking late at night. You will also see many elders walking their dogs late into the night; a very common sight.

Crosswalks: They have signs just like basketball shotclocks which allows you to know how many seconds you have to cross the street before the light changes. It is a very resourceful tool.

Taxis: Six to eight miles in the city will cost you $1.50 per ride, with as many people you can load into the car.

The Land Terrain: China is very diverse like the US. We traveled through the green rolling hills similar to Wisconsin; the Delta looks similar to southern Arkansas and Mississippi; the mountains of California; the barren flatlands of North and South Dakota.

There is still much land that we did not see by bus or train but China holds many of the same land similarities as the US.

FINAL COMMENTS: We experienced a magnificent 25 days in a beautiful country with respectful, courteous and gracious people. Our journey went far beyond the moments on the basketball court. It is about building relationships and friendships. That, I believe, was truly accomplished!

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