This past week, a group of twenty individuals including myself had the opportunity to visit and spend the night on a secluded section of The Great Wall of China. Growing up, I was exposed to numerous photos of the wall in textbooks and images online, however, not a single photo compared to the actual experience of viewing the wall in person. Our tour guide Noodles, the individual responsible for leading us on this journey explained from his point of view what the wall meant to him. I was surprised when I heard this incredible masterpiece is viewed as some say, “a double edge sword.” For many, the wall is viewed as a display of strength and power of China. A feature incomparable. However, this feature comes with a cost. Millions of lives were lost to construct the wall. As citizens look in awe at the wall built to maintain independence from foreign parties, they also look in sadness and remorse knowing the cost it took to achieve this desire.
After navigating the streets of China and being surrounding in its culture, history and personality for nearly a week, I found this country to be similar in several aspects to America. Cell phones, subways, online shopping and social media are just as prominent here in China as in the United States. Additionally, with the tall skyscrapers in every direction, this city reminds me of New York; tall buildings and lots of people walking or traveling by subway. Overall, my initial impressions of China have been pleasant. The city is much larger than I originally anticipated. Individuals are more aggressive with their driving and place a large emphasis on saving face. My favorite part of this trip to date have been our hike to the Great Wall and visiting the Beihai park. I found both locations captivating, intriguing, and surrounded in an atmosphere of peace.
Questions I would like to inquire about:
- Do Chinese citizens prefer modern medicine over traditional medicine?
- Once an individual loses face, how does one go about recovering it?
- How come Chinese natives are shy and more reserved?