My travel to China in over 300 pictures and stories!

View picture, photo, and story highlights from

Pictures of China, Picture 1 Beijing
Beijing
Photos of China, Photo 2 Suzhou
Suzhou
Pictures of China, Photos 3 Shanghai
Shanghai
View pictures of the trip by day

Photos from June
24   25    26     27
28    29    30

Photos from July
1    2    3   4

TRAVELING TO CHINA ADVICE PAGE!

Products from China

China Web Sites
 

 

Travel to China travel guide
Fodor's China:
The Guide for All...
 

 

 

Travel to Shanghai, China travel guide
Fodor's Shanghai:
The All-In-One Guide...

 

 

Travel to Beijing, China travel guide
Fodor's Beijing:
The All-In-One Guide to...

 

My responses to an email I received
with questions about traveling to China

Hi!

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... www.frontieracademy.net) 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 home)

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 China is http://www.asia-hotels.com/weather/china.asp 

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 at  http://www.strive4impact.com/china/traveling_to_china_advice.html#NEED%20TO%20HAVE
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 personal experience.

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 same. 

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!

Jonathan