It's been a fun trip, and a part of me, the part that doesn't worry about bills or money, wishes I could have stayed longer. I made lots of new friends, and bonded with the locals. I would have loved to have cultivated and developed the new friendships a little more. Perhaps there will be more chances for that in the future. In any case, this trip has been a blast, and will always occupy a great place in my heart and mind.
Beijing is a rapidly modernizing place. It's still a little behind Taipei, but not as far as it used to be. In the next 20 years, China will resume its "rightful" place among nations; I don't mean "rightful" as a place that China deserves because of its history or past glory, but "rightful" as a place that China and her people will have earned. Frictions with the West remain, and geopolitical interests can never be identical with any other nation, much less any particular Western nation; but for the most part, now that China is moving into the 21st Century, its overall interests are largely congruent with Western commercial nations.
We didn't see the countryside, really, so it's difficult to tell what things are like there. The rural population of China remains high; even though there are more people in China living in urban areas than there are people in the whole of the United States, there are still at least almost as many people in China's rural areas as there are people in the whole of India. Much of China's future stability relies on how her people transition from an agrarian culture to a commercial culture. As we in the States are reminded of every four years, it is folly to discount those that live in the heartland.
Finally, a few more pictures from Hong Kong International Airport, which is itself a veritable consumerist paradise, with at least one, maybe two Gucci stores, as well as a large space for Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
This is the plane that took us to Beijing.
The indoor flora added a humanizing, Zen-like effect to the huge, single-terminal airport.
Hong Kong International Airport also flaunts its distinct Chineseness with its assortment of choices for all kinds of food, as seen here at one end of the terminal.
This was the great metal bird that took us back to Los Angeles.
This concludes the Beijing Travelogue. Please help yourself to the other entries, and have fun exploring this blog!