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The hanging monastery looks like it's glued to the side of a sheer cliff.

Sadness of the Hanging Monastery

The hanging monastery outside of Datong, China, a UNESCO world heritage site, is breathtakingly beautiful, yet also in a way, sad. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one and spend money, I will get a small cut of what you spend. It will not affect your price. The monastery was built…

Fatalism

As we left Yangshuo (fantastical landforms, bamboo rafts on rivers, lovely ecolodge, Chinese cooking class) on our way to Guilin to catch the night train for Guangzhou so we could catch the ferry the next day to Hong Kong, I realized that China has, at least temporarily, affected my general tolerance for risk. This occurred…

Chinese Tourists

Everywhere we’ve gone so far, there have been very few foreign tourists like us. Most of the tourists — and in some places all of the tourists — are Chinese. Sometimes they’re in pairs or families, sometimes in groups. When they’re in a group, even if it’s just 5 or 6 people, they hire a…

Toilets in China: On cleanliness and filth

Note added in December 2019: I wrote the following article years ago in Hancheng, China, and I see now how terribly judgemental I was about toilets in China. I’ve added some tips and comments to update it a bit. My message now is: be aware of how you communicate and behave around the issue of…

Intercultural Understanding and Chinese Beds

When I started teaching a class in intercultural communication this past year at the teacher training college, I didn’t actually know anything about it. Or rather, I didn’t know any of the theory, but I’d had a whole lot of practice. I had plenty of anecdotes to share, for example, about differences in expectations and…

Conspicuous Consumption

In my last entry, I mentioned how it seemed to me that the Chinese have wholeheartedly embraced conspicuous consumption. Visiting the Forbidden City the other day emphasized that for me. You could say that the emperors of pre-revolutionary China were the originators of the concept for this part of the world. They represent the ultimate…