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Local tourists return from Forbidden City

2009年12月28日 15:36:56 sz12 Tours

Cathy and Steve Mazur took a tour of several points of interest in China and found it to be intriguing, but quite a cultural shock. They visited Beijing and toured the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, as well as seeing Tiananmen Square.

Cathy described Beijing as being a city of 17 million people, including at any given time, four million transient workers and tourists. She was quite taken by all the hustle and bustle construction taking place on multi-dozens of skyscrapers and apartment complexes.

Cathy was fascinated by the bamboo scaffolding, which was quickly, but expertly laced together. However, she there were no tunnels or shields to protect the pedestrians walking below, and she felt the need to watch for falling bricks and tools! She also said the streets were filled with cars, all new cars, with the operators driving like wild people, adding that there was only one person per zipping car! This cavalier attitude extended to the two-wheeled traffic as well.

Williams Lake residents Cathy and Steve Mazur recently returned from a twelve-day tour of China. Pictured here in front of Beijing’s Forbidden City, they said the streets were kept clean, but the air quality was very poor.

“I saw a guy on a bicycle squeezing between two moving busses,” stated Cathy. “All either bus would’ve had to do would be to move over a few inches and he’d have been squashed.”
Even with all these millions of people, she said the streets are kept very clean. However, she didn’t have anything good to say about the air quality.

“The air is disgusting,” she stated. “The 2008 Summer Olympic athletes are not going to be able to perform to their fullest.”
Cathy and Steve Mazur also passed by the site of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, named the Bird’s Nest, as that is what the style architecture appears to be. She was not impressed by the aggressive street merchants selling everything from postcards, to purses, watches, and a cheap rollerblade skate. Nor did she care for the diet comprised mainly of stir-fried vegetables, occasionally with a little bit of fish or some small cubes of a questionable Spam-like pork product.

“Gucci, Gucci, they would yell as they tried to peel the money out of your pocket,” added Cathy.

It was doubtful the knock-off purses were from the House of Gucci, but Cathy did buy three “Rolex” watches for ten dollars!
“You have to bargain and barter for everything, even a bottle of water,” explained Cathy. “If not, you’ll pay ten times the going rate!”
One of her tour guides explained the changes after the Cultural Revolution. Formerly, there were ten classes of people, with the government officials on the top, bureaucrats were next, followed by Buddhist Monks, then Taoist Priests.

Doctors were fifth on this pecking order, with engineers and artisans holding the next two spots. Prostitutes were in eighth place, with scholars or intellectuals who were termed “stinky” holding ninth place, and lowly beggars were tenth!
Outside of the tourist areas, she said the locals were very friendly and welcoming. In Xian, a city of seven million, the public works people wash the streets twice per day.

Cathy stated that public sanitation is not keeping up with the growth in population, and that public plumbing is nowhere near western standards. She stated that several of her group of tourists suffered from dehydration, because they didn’t drink enough water, dreading having to use the public facilities to relieve themselves. Paradoxically, all the road network the Mazur’s travelled upon was new and in tip-top condition.

The Mazur’s found this Asian trip to be very interesting. Cathy is retired, and Steve works for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

(By Ernie Engemoen, The Cariboo Advisor, November 14, 2007)


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