different area codes, II

Since my last trip to China I went to China again. I had a brief sojourn in Germany, which was my first time, and appropriately magical; but, then I returned for less than a week and headed out to Hong Kong…which, is strictly China but also decidedly not. I came to the conclusion, perhaps at least partly based on the sentiments in my last post, to take advantage of the fact that I was all the way out there, to travel somewhere else.

I tried to pull a solo trip to Bali together at the last moment, but there were literally no reasonable flights to be had…and I don’t even mean that from a cost perspective, I mean that there were literally no flights without multiple layovers and 12+ hour travel times (for a flight that should be ~3 hours). So, lesson learned, Bali is not a place that you go to on a whim.

I tried Cambodia and had similar results, and was at the point of resigning myself that this was going to be “just” another trip to Hong Kong for business and I would be heading home afterwards as per usual, when a work friend of mine suggested Beijing. My immediate reaction was inward and was mostly “but I wanted to lie on a beach, not go to China…AGAIN,” but this time did promise to be different.

Oh, I just remembered that I also tried Singapore and that didn’t work out, either…I digress.

This time I would be going to China as a tourist. I would see the Forbidden City. I would see the Great Wall. I would see the cafe on the 6th floor of a Beijing office park that was a recreation of the Central Perk cafe from Friends. And I did. I saw all of those things and more and so the question to myself is now: what do I think of when I think of China?

And the answer is, without drumroll or fanfare, still factories. (insert laughing emoticon). I suppose that should be understandable given how many times I’ve gone and spent my days in factories and how many times I’ll still do so in the future; but, I will say this: the Great Wall, in particular, touched my heart and mind and still lingers there. It’s touristy, yes, but that does not diminish how amazing it is or the sense of awe you get by visiting. So, China, to me you’re now factories and one hell of an amazing achievement.

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