It’s been 5 years since I’ve been in China and things have changed. The cost of food and clothing is increased. You used to be able to buy a men’s suit at a great price…now it costs more than in the US. Construction of high rises is booming to accommodate all the people moving into major cities trying to find work.
If you think everyone in China rides bicycles you’re thinking of the Chairman Mao era. The previous time I was in China they were considering outlawing bicycle riding altogether in Shanghai. They didn’t. Now it’s 2010 and everyone wants a car. There are more automobiles complete with crazy driving. But most people cannot afford a car so the most popular mode of transportation is electric motor scooter. These are great because they don’t pollute the air or sound. Unlike the states where the upper middle class rides motorcycles/motor scooters for weekend recreation, in China you’ll frequently see dad, mom and kid all riding together on one motor scooter because that’s their main transportation.
I landed in Shanghai and the weather was sweltering…in the 90’s with high humidity. Shanghai is the New York City of China…very crowded with a fast pace of life. This was not my luxury tour. I have stayed in some fine hotels in previous trips to China but on this trip I chose to stay in apartments. Chinese either own or rent apartments. With so many people there is simply not enough room in major cities for everyone to have their own house. Apartments vary greatly from a cubicle with a “bathroom” the size of a closet that has only a shower and toilet to modern luxury apartments remodeled with ample space that would make a New Yorker envious. I had the distinction of sleeping on the hardest bed I ever slept on. (Oh course some Chinese complain about beds being too soft in the U.S.)
First stop was the World Expo. This was a great economic boom to Shanghai. Thousands thronged in everyday. The subway was packed everyday with Chinese from different parts of the country to see the Expo. The most popular exhibitions were China, US, India and Saudi Arabia with lines that took anywhere from 3-5 hours in the hot sun.
One of the best things about visiting China is some of the dining experiences. Some restaurants are the size of a department store with several floors and private dining rooms. The service is usually wonderful with 2- 3 people waiting on you.
Next I took a train to Changzhou. This used to take over 2 hours. Now with a new high speed train it takes less than an hour. The train was clean with very comfortable seats and a wide aisle much unlike the American Airlines flight from US to China. I wish they had one of these in Minneapolis.
The weather in Changzhou was cooler which was a welcome relief. The pace of life here is slower than in Shanghai. There is a lot of construction here too…more high end high rises. And they’re trying to make downtown Changzhou look more like Shanghai with very modern looking shopping centers and name brand stores.
They built a brand new modern TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) Hospital in Changzhou. This was good to see because the previous building was rather drafty in the winter. In the hospital they offer acupuncture, Chinese herbs and western medicine. You can get treated for everything from insomnia to weight loss.
Yunnan Baiyao Co. came out with some great band aids. These have Chinese herbs that help stop the bleeding and help heal cuts faster. Smart!
China has a great reality show called “Wushu Master.” They have real Shaoyin monks fight for a kung fu championship in front of a live audience. Between the matches they also have their senior instructor demonstrate kung fu moves in slow motion on one of the monks so you can see how they do it. One of the monks was only 17 years old. You really have to admire the skill and balance of these guys. It was all conducted with good sportsmanship. Zài jiàn!
For more than 24 years Steven Sonmore helped people transform health problems into solutions for attaining better health. Steven is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and a certified instructor by Health Preservation Association. He is licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter athttp://www.orientalmedcare.com .