China, an ancient land rapidly adapting to a modern way of doing things. That is the dichotomy that exists all over the most populous country in the world. On one corner you can find an ancient street with structures built a thousand years ago, and on the corner across the street you find a cutting-edge high-rise. At the foot of the new high-rise will be a traditional ceremony with fireworks and pomp that would be similar to what happened when the ancient street was first paved. This dichotomy is one of the most intriguing things about the Orient.
Many people don’t realize how big and diverse China really is. Area-wise it rivals the United States with just as disparate landscapes, climates and regional cultures as the U.S. There are 56 ethnic minorities, 1.357 billion people, 23 provinces, 4 municipalities (big metropolitan areas like Beijing and Shanghai), 5 autonomous regions (which include Tibet and Xinjiang), and two Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macau). It is considered the longest continuous culture in the world (at least by the Chinese) with historic sites that have been in use for thousands of years. China is amazing and astounding in so many ways.
I loved my time in China as a college teacher in Hefei, Anhui, and currently live in Beijing as an administrator for Amerlish, an English training school. Life is simpler while being more inspiring. My first round in China included highlights such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, ancient Buddhist grottoes, the scenic Li River, Gobi Desert and so much more. And, I’ve just scratched the surface. Here are a few of my favorite images from my Chinese adventures.