My responses to
an email I received
with questions about traveling to China
Well, you've asked some tough questions, which is why
I've taken this long to get back to you. I wanted to be sure to
have time to answer your questions properly.
First off, thank-you for visiting my web site! I'm glad you
found it useful and informative. I wish I had you for a student
(I'm a German and theater teacher in Greeley, Colorado at a school
called Frontier Academy. I'm also the webmaster...
so as you can imagine, I'm quite busy. That's the other reason it's
taken a couple of days to get back to you.
At any rate, onto your tough, but good, questions.
1) What is the climate like...i will be
going from July 6- 22 ( not positively sure though on when we come
I'm not sure. I was there from June 23-July 4, 2002, and during
that time it was relatively foggy in the cities we were in.
However, there was one day when the sun came out and it was quite
hot. Remember that China is a huge country, and if you're traveling
from the north to South, it can be like the weather differences
between Montana and Florida. So, check the weather before you go...
but you can get an idea of what it's like by visiting
http://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm (Which is an official
weather site for Hong Kong. If it asks you to download Chinese
characters, just click cancel. The site shows up fine without
them) Another site to visit for general weather information about
2) Am i really prepared to see all their is
to see in this country? I know that it isnt exactly mansions...wel-
far from that.. but how far?
You can never be prepared to see everything you'll see when you
travel outside of your country. When I went to Italy, I was totally
amazed by how BIG the cathederals were, and in
Germany I was amazed
at how much destruction was caused during World War Two. In China,
I was amazed by how much power the emperors really had. So, are you
ready to see everything there is to see? No, I don't think so. But
I think that's an awesome thing. It all depends on your
perspective, and there are two answers to this question.
Americans live a life that is easy and filled with all kinds of
creature comforts. There are many parts of the world where they
don't have these comforts and get along just fine without them. I
read a statistic which said that 50% of the world's population has
never made a phone call, so don't be surprised if there are parts of
China which are very "underdeveloped" by American standards. Also,
the bathrooms are a bit different in China, and I can't exactly tell
you how, because it varies from place to place, but just be aware
that the bathrooms may be a bit different.
The other side of the answer to this question is that there are
parts of China where you feel like you've traveled at least 10 years
into the future. Downtown Shanghai looks like something out of a
movie about 2020 or something. It's incredible! And the facilities
there are also brand new in many parts of the city, so that's the
other extreme you get.
You'll get to see a lot by visiting both rurual areas and big
cities. My advice is to try and take off your "America glasses"
(i.e. don't try to analyze everything from your American
perspective), and really try to view the people for who they are and
how their life works for them.
3) Do you think i am too young to travel
overseas at age 14 w/out my parents into a country that is close
enough for war to break out with everything since 9-11 and the war
we are in now..?
This is a 2-part question also. Do I think you're too young to
travel overseas at age 14 w/out your parents? No. 14 is a great
age to go. I went to Italy when I was 13 (of course my grandma and
mom were on the trip--but I was on my own a lot because I went with
a group of 90 people), and the trip totally changed my life's
direction and helped me to gain a perspective of how small the world
really is and how much alike we really all are. It also provided
some incredible spiritual guidance, as I was raised Catholic, and
going to Italy, and namely the Vatican, really taught me a lot about
what I claimed to believe in.
As far as the war and the politics of the situation... I think
China is as safe a place as America when it comes to terrorism and a
war breaking out. (You are traveling with a Baptist group however,
and I'll provide my thoughts on that in a moment.) I tend to think
of the political situations in the world, and then recognize that
the only way we will ever end wars and all the political tension
between nations is if we come to realize that people are people, all
over the world, and the vast majority of people all want the same
things. We are much more alike than we are different, and if people
let international conflicts prevent them from making contacts
elsewhere in the world, then conflict will continue, because we'll
never just see people for who they are.
4) i know that the plane ride is hard..how
long will it take me to get back onto reg. eastern cost time in the
US? what is the time difference?
Ah yes, Jetlag. Not much to be said about Jetlag, except that it
can mess you up for a few days. I rarely have problems sleeping
when I travel to somewhere, because I'm normally so exhausted by the
time I get there, that when it is time to sleep, I have no problem
sleeping. Coming back is more difficult, and it's just best to stay
up the day you get back (assuming you get back in the morning) until
it's time to go to bed... 10:00-11:00 PM. That's about all I can
say about Jetlag. It's no fun, but totally worth it for the
experiences you'll have.
5) do you have any words of advice?
Take a voltage converter and adaptor plugs. You can read more
This is my travel to China advice page and will also provide
you with other basic information about traveling to China.
And now my thoughts on traveling with the Baptist Church:
So far, everything in my email has been positive, and my tone
might change a bit here, just to warn you. I noticed that your
email address was proudjesusfrk, so I hope you're not offended by
what I say here.
My personal experience with Baptists has been quite negative. I had
a friend go to a private Baptist college where she was constantly
told she was going to hell because she was a Christian Scientist.
Another experience was when I was at an amusement park in Denver a
few years ago, and three Baptist girls asked my brother and I if we
were Christians and believed in God. I said that I believed in God,
and my brother said that he didn't know and didn't care. My brother
is one of the nicest and most genuine people you will meet, and they
proceeded to tell him that he was going to hell because he didn't
believe in God. They then asked me if it made me sad that my
brother was going to hell. So, all that having been said, I do
realize that there are probably plenty of Baptists who don't try to
cram their belief systems onto other people, but that hasn't been my
My advice on traveling with a Baptist group is that if the group
is going with the intent of converting people to Christianity (which
some of the group probably is) then I would be cautious. I'm not
saying don't go, but just be aware that open preaching with the
intent to convert people is illegal in China. I don't know that
anything would happen to you if it was discovered that you were
preaching to people, but China has good reason to want to keep
Christianity subdued in their country. Look at the negatives of
what Christianity has meant for people throughout history (the Salem
Witch Trials, Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the slaughter of
thousands of Native Americans, partially responsible for segregation
in South Africa, the wars in England and Ireland, the list goes
on). In the larger cities in China, there are some Christian
churches which are well attended I believe, but the Chinese
government doesn't want
people, well-intended as they may be, coming in and doing to them what has happened to hundreds of
thousands of people throughout history. Also, they would like
to have people continue to believe in the power of the Communist
state of China. That is also understandable, if you look at
Communism in China in light of Chinese history.
My advice on missionary work is this: Missionary work is
awesome, and I think it's an awesome and noble goal for your life.
You must realize though that no matter where you are in the world,
you do missionary work by example. You must show your selfless
giving and not try to convert people to believe what you believe.
Rather, you walk your talk. Or better yet, just walk your walk.
Live a life of service. Help other people. Then let them come to
their own decisions about what your life of service means. And you
must be okay with it if they decide that your life of service
doesn't have anything to do with God, because in the end, some of
them will decide that your life of service doesn't have anything to
do with God. But you will still have done them the service that we
are all put here on earth to do, which is to love your neighbor as
yourself. I have many more thoughts on the subject, but I'll stop
here so I can move on to other things, and so that you can do the
In short, I would definitely say to go to China if you can make
it work financially.
I hope that I have offered you some insight into China!
Have a wonderful trip!