Tuesday, July 31, 2007
And I'm back. I highly recommend going to China - it's a nation undergoing vast changes and is on the brink of Superpower status... for the upteenth time in its history. But I can't really recommend taking a tour, although I don't think you could see three cities (Beijing, Xian and Shanghai) for such a cheap cost doing it on your own. That was worth it, but the massive quantities of wasted time in factory 'tours' was nearly unbearable. You see more with a tour, but in a way you definitely see less.
Almost every sign of any importance is in English as well as Mandarin, and there will always be someone speaking English in any of the heavily touristed areas. Really, I was stunned by this. It's not much different than visiting, say, Italy, from a purely tourist perspective. With enough preplanning and research you really could travel to China on your own and have a great vacation.
Plus you get to take every price and divide by 8 to get the cost in dollars. That is fun.