This June we took a break from the quiet little town of Sasebo, Japan- full of polite people and friendly faces, prompt transportation services, and clean air- and travelled about 1,800 miles to our nearby neighbor of China! In China, we travelled what is known as the “Golden Triangle”- through the cities of Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai.
China… a land where Facebook does not exist, where people bluntly and constantly stare, where toilet paper is something you must carry with you (it is rarely found in public bathrooms), where people are big on pushing and shoving, where families can- only recently- have only two children, where street vendors are always in your face and try to corner you to buy something (regardless if you say “no” or ignore them), where it is common for pregnant ladies to not leave the house during their pregnancy, where domestic planes rarely ever leave on time (international ones too for that matter), and a place where there is no order to driving and the honking is constant and never-ending!!
Now, not everyone may have these experiences while visiting or living in China, these are just a few points that happened everywhere we went. For me, it felt like a little bit of a culture shock changing from Japan to China. From our experiences, we feel that there is a night and day difference between these two Asian countries. Nevertheless, China is a wonderful country to explore with its overflowing history and rich cultural experiences!! Begin experiencing China with us, first by taking a look at the country itself and reading some interesting facts!
China, officially the People’s Republic of China, is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world’s most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. Bordering countries include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.
Population: 1.3 billion (not including Hong Kong and Macau which are done separately)
President: Xi Jinping
Currency: Renminbi (RMB)/yuan
Government: Communist state, Socialist state, Single-party state
Official language: Standard Chinese or Mandarin; however, dialects very in different regions: (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, and Hakka dialects, as well as minority languages.
Climate: Extremely diverse; tropical in the south to subarctic in the north.
Geography: Mountains, high plateaus, and deserts in the west; plains, deltas, and hills in the east. The highest mountain in China is the highest mountain in the world: Mount Qomolangma. The mountain towers above all others at 29,035 feet or 8,848 m.
Land size: China has a landmass of 9,600,000 sq km, and is the third-largest country in the world, next only to Russia and Canada.
- Animal:The giant panda is considered a Chinese national treasure. Just over 1,000 survive in the wild, most of them to be found in Sichuan Province.
- Flower:China does not have an “official” national flower, but the tree peony can be regarded as a national favorite.
- Bird:More bird species live in China than any other place in the world. Shaanxi Province’s red ibis is also a national treasure. Only some 1,500 of this highly endangered bird species exist. Other cranes found in China include the Siberian white, common, black-necked, sarus, hooded, white-naped, and demoiselle.
- Tree: The oldest tree in the world is China’s gingko, which first appeared during the Jurassic Age some 160 million years ago.
- The summit of Mt Everest marks the border between China and Nepal.
- The capital city is Beijing, while the most populated city is Shanghai. Other major cities include Chongqing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
- 47% of the population lives in urban areas.
- China experiences typhoons every year and also suffers from floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, and droughts.
- China has the fourth longest river in the world, the Yangtze River, which reaches 5,797km (3,602 miles) in length. It also has the sixth longest, the Yellow River, stretching 4,667km (2,900 miles).
- China is the second largest economy in the world, after the United States of America.
- In 2003, China became the third country to successfully send a person to space.
- The Great Wall of China is the largest man made structure in the world, stretching an incredible 8,850 km (5,500 miles).
- The famous Giant Panda is found near the Yangtze River in China.
- China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Did You Know?? 16 Interesting Facts You May Not Know About China:
- 100 million people in China live on less than US$1 per day.
- China executes more than four times as many convicts as the rest of the world combined.
- Fortune cookies are not a traditional Chinese custom. They were invented in early 1900 in San Francisco.
- China uses 45 billion chopsticks per year.
- Reincarnation is forbidden in China without government permission.
- The world’s biggest mall, located in China, is 99% empty.
- Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times have been blocked in China since 2009.
- The world’s first paper money was created in China 1,400 years ago.
- In China, over 35 million people still live in caves.
- Nearly 700 million Chinese people drink contaminated water.
- The sunrise in parts of China can be as late as 10am because the country joined its 5 time zones into a single one.
- Almost 1/3 of San Francisco’s air pollution comes from China.
- 78% of software installed in China in 2010 was pirated.
- There’s a bridge, between mainland China and Macau, where cars switch from left to right hand drive and vice versa. (In China, they drive on the right side of the road).
- Every 30 seconds a baby is born with a birth defect in China.
- 1 in every 3 socks you have were made in the district of Datang in Zhuji, China, now known as “Sock City.”
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!