Linda and I went to China in November 2019. Our first trip to China and we got to see quite a bit…from Beijing to the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors, Yangtze River, Panda Bears, Shanghai…several plane rides and a multi day cruise on the river. The size and scale of the country is amazing. It is organized, growing like crazy, modern with great protection of the ancient sites, clean, busy and beautiful. We were there when the smog was not…the skies were blue and the temperatures were cool, but not cold. We loved our trip and felt safe at all times…even thought we were not!
One highlight was a short trip from downtown Shanghai to the airport via a bullet train. It travelled at nearly 270 miles an hour in complete comfort. We loved it. That was bullet number one for us.
Bullet number two we never saw coming. Our itinerary said we would leave the Yangtze River cruise on November 13 and visit the city of Wuhan. The night before we were offered a trip into the wet market…which we, thankfully, declined. On the 13th, with no mention made, our plans were changed to take us to an airport more than 100 miles from Wuhan where we would then fly to Shanghai. At the airport we noticed a large machine that we had to pass under…a machine we could see was reading our body temperatures. To the side, a doctor and nurse in protective clothing ready to pull those not passing the test to a room for further testing.
Given that the Chinese government told the world in December 2019 that they had identified the Covid 19 virus in Wuhan, we feel very fortunate to have just missed being exposed. Our travel agency or the Chinese government and/or God or just plain good luck kept us out of the most dangerous health spot on earth at the most dangerous time. Whatever the combination of good fortune, we are quite thankful.
And we are thankful we visited China. In a world filled with problems, they have found many innovative solutions to resolve some important issues…while still struggling to address others. We found China to be much more than we expected, flawed in ways that Americans would not like…such as censorship and one party control…and powerful beyond belief. They are a force to be reckoned with today and tomorrow.