China

The China I knew in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s left an indelibly traumatic imprint on my psyche. I was in 4th grade at the time, and involuntarily dragged into a tour through Beijing [北京], Wuhan [武漢], Shanghai [上海], Hanzhou [杭州], and a couple other smaller cities I’m struggling to recall at the moment. Traveler’s diarrhea, hunger (vegetarian food was a rarity back then), pollution, heat, and humidity–the whole shebang. I could not have left the country with more passionate dislike and such relief as I did.

But again and again, I grudgingly joined my mom on trips to Dalian [大連] every 2-3 years after that first and very unfortunate orientation. And…slowly…maybe…China was okay? Perhaps even fun. I guess the food was good?? There was a nice Hilton (torn down since) that made the abso-lu-tute-ly most amazing, fantastic, wonderful, mantou [饅頭], or steamed buns. You could paint a color wheel with the flavors of mantou they had. Little clouds plucked from the sky and dipped in sweetened condensed milk…mmm.

I digress. After spending a week or two in Dalian every few summers throughout the years, I decided that there was a possibility China and I could start anew. We shook on it and began a beautiful partnership; albeit, the traveler’s diarrhea issue is still a huge source of conflict between us. In any case, I hope you’re able to find your own China and that my posts can form some part of that experience! It truly is a kingdom of stunning beauty you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

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