This is the metaphor for China.
Physically with roads, metros, flats, offices and hotels.
Culturally. No longer cheap factory labour, a love of bling and western brands, especially Burberry scarves we were told, younger people are not the same as their parents and what they want from life is very different. Apple iPhones and Samsung and all the western consumerism of their age range in the UK or USA.
Environmentally they are changing too, trees are being planted everywhere and electric power is being used by many bikes and scooters, but still there is a lot of pollution in the cities which are still growing at a phenomenal rate.
Philosophically, they have to work it out. Everything is changing as the country opens itself up to other countries. The new leaders have much to control.
Now back we are still pondering what we learnt about China. We met two young people and spent a lot of time with one, both of whom had studied with our uni in London, so not quite typical but still. There is a great desire for Western education still but it is expensive and we got several offers from the Chinese universities to go and stay and teach on site with free flights and flats as incentives. Obviously, Chinese universities are snapping western lecturers as fast as they can so the students stay in the country. The best students that is.
When you walk around the cities you could be in any city that has been largely constructed since the 1970s. Little remains of the old buildings except for those which were considered culturally important such as Temples. A building constructed in 1970 is now considered old and are now being re-built and updated.
The roads are busy and Beijing is a jam all day long despite the many highways. It does have a metro system but it has long outgrown it – new lines are being constructed but… housing in tall blocks of flats are going up rapidly and some of the office buildings are very architecturally exciting – sometime using foreign architects. The flats for a 4 person family in most towns exceed 1300 sq foot so not small but Shanghai and Beijing are as expensive as Zone 2 in London per square foot so are largely inhabited by the newly rich.
I will tell you more later as I have lots to share and lots of wonderful garden photos. But jet-lag and time lag getting to me now, and I need to eat more and maybe sleep. What time is it anyway?