Me-go: Around-the-World

Big Trouble in Big China


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China?s not working out real well for me so far. My first full day here was spent at the Temple of Heaven Park where I tried to understand why Coke ?light? costs more than Coke. I drew a bit and met a nice older German couple who invited me to visit them in Hamburg. I decided to go to a western-style mall for dinner because it has a large food hall that?s clean and easy to use. Unfortunately, my chicken fried rice didn?t stay with me for long. After only three meals in China I am throwing up and completely miserable. At this point it?s been going on for two days so I?ve decided to break out the antibiotics. I wanted my body to fight it on its own and build resistance but I couldn?t even leave the hostel today.

I think most people know China is different than Japan but I can?t begin to explain just **how** different it is. Tokyo is to Beijing like Paris is to Budapest. It?s loud, disorderly and dirty. People shout, spit and cough, there are very few street signs, nothing has a fixed price and the air is filled with cigarette smoke and pollution. There?s a lot of talk about the Olympics in 2008. I know I said the same thing about Athens, but I don?t know how the city will be ready. The government appears to be placing large billboards around all of the shanty towns so they aren?t visible from the road. It?s a shame that more permanent clean up couldn?t take place but that would also require a total change of lifestyle for the Chinese people.