I didn’t expect this trip. The opportunity came unsolicited from the Hunan Provincial Department of Education and one of the local universities. But I’ve learned that when the Universe says “Would you like to?”, the right answer is usually “Yes!”
And so it was this time. It was an extraordinary trip to a beautiful country. I was continually surprised, amazed, and impressed by all that I saw. And if China occasionally makes different choices than the USA — such as not wearing helmets on motorscooters — well, I’m flexible enough to admit that we’re not always right, and they’re not always wrong.
The Chinese people I came into contact with were universally delightful. Whether through a formal interaction or just through sitting next to each other on a bus, they seemed genuinely pleased that this bulky sweaty Westerner had chosen to visit their country… and, even with my pathetic inability to speak more than the basic phrases, they jumped through hoops to make sure my visit was memorable.
I’ve thanked some of the individuals responsible by email, but I’d like to add my public thanks here. And if any of my readers have a chance to go — whether to China in general, or Hunan province specifically — I strongly recommend a visit. But, if you go in August, pack spare shirts!