5 Ways China Surprised Me

I was wrong in my expectations of China. These were the 5 biggest surprises:

1. I thought China would be dirty, I expected to see lots of litter and trash. It was actually very clean in the cities. The only thing that was dirty was the air, which brings me to…

2. I thought the air pollution would be bad in Beijing. The pollution was terrible everywhere I went. I am still shocked at what a huge area it covers. I never could’ve imagined it.

3. I expected the streets to be crowded. I expected the subways to be crowded. I expected everywhere to be crowded. In truth, it was much more peaceful to walk down the street in Beijing or Shanghai than it was in a lot of Southeast Asia. It wasn’t a hectic, crazy place to be.

4. I expected to see a growing, changing country but that is vastly understating it. I felt like what I saw in China was an extremely rapid evolution of the country’s lifestyle. I had never imagined so much building and cultural change so fast.

5. I expected China to be an interesting cultural experience but not somewhere I really enjoyed. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. Everywhere I went I felt I could’ve stayed longer. I would gladly go back to visit again. It changed my frame of reference on the world and showed me possibilities I didn’t know existed. I am so glad I went.