Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

Going to Hangzhou

I’m in a cab stuck in traffic now. I’m headed for a nearby metro station and am now wishing I had chosen a different one not blocked by congestion as the starting point for my adventures today. I’m taking a bullet train to Hangzhou today. The public transit systems so far have seemed beautifully interwoven, and the idea that I could travel several hundred km in just a few hours and for the equivalent of $9 US just blows my mind as a native of Southeastern Michigan. For me to travel even to Detroit is very difficult via public transit. I think we could really learn a lot from the public transit here, but perhaps it is the population density here that makes this possible.

I feel guilty about this, but I’m excited to be traveling somewhere that I expect to see fewer Westerners. I enjoy meeting people, and that seems much easier when people are curious about me. In Shanghai, there are so many westerners that I rarely got a second look, let alone a smile for long enough for me to strike up a conversation. I hope my fortunes are better in Hangzhou and Suzhou.

I’m curious to see the interior of the train. I read a few reviews online and they were all very positive. The economy here is just bustling. I’m looking for a downside, I know there must be one, but so far I’m just seeing prosperity and growth. Maybe I’m just looking through rose-colored glasses, or Shanghai is some unique exception to the Chinese rule, but so far my overall impression is far more positive than the feeling I’ve gotten from any accounts I’ve heard. Maybe I’m just excited to be in a city—I felt similarly while in the Bay Area last week—and that’s what I’m actually enjoying.

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June 13, 2009 - Posted by | Personal | , , ,

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