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谢迈克在中国 » Blog Archive » A radical decision

谢迈克在中国

Mike Shecket Goes To China!

A radical decision

July 31st, 2008

He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man.

Mao Zedong

I’m coming pretty close to deciding to skip the Great Wall.  I have a number of good reasons to not go, and a few bad reasons to go.  First off, who is Mao to tell me whether or not I’m a man?  He’s dead, among other things.  Next, it’s at least an hour and a half on the bus each way, depending which section to go to.  My general rule of thumb is that I want to spend at least as long at the place I’m going as it takes to get there and back.  And what am I going to do at the Great Wall for three hours with all the heat and humidity?

Next up, I’m not really into old stuff.  There’s a lot of relatively old stuff in the US that I could have seen.  There’s stuff from native cultures too that’s even older.  But it’s just not what I’m into.  I like new stuff…contemporary culture, art, music, architecture, technology.  If I’m just going to go somewhere and see something just because it’s famous, the sort of place that keeps coming to mind for me that I’d want to see would be Abbey Road Studios in London.  Go back fifty years and it basically has little or no significance, but it’s enormously significant in modern culture.

Probably the biggest thing is that I feel like from Mao to the guidebooks, I’m being pressured to do something that I might not otherwise want to do.  To be told it’s a “must see”, or that going there determines my worth as a human being, kind of inspries a kind of “Oh yeah?! See if I care!” attitude.  It almost seems like an opportunity to assert my uniqueness.

Lastly, I imagine that when I tell people that I went to China, they’ll always ask if I went to the Great Wall, and I’ll have to explain why I didn’t.  But I’m going to have to explain to people why I was in Beijing in the summer of 2008 and didn’t stay for the Olympics.  Not to mention why I decided to uproot myself from the US and live here almost a whole year.  So if people want an explanation, who cares?  I can give them one or not.  It’s not, in itself, worth the time, expense and inconvenience to do something that might not even be fun.

I came to China to get to know the language and the people, and I’ve done that.  I didn’t really come here to look at walls.

One Response to “A radical decision”

  1. Xan

    i respect this decision. i imagine too that it is crawling with tourists which would make me want to go even less.

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