China 2014 Epilogue

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August 2nd 2014
Published: August 5th 2014
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One night here in Guiyang before flying for a quick overnight back in Wuhan for my flight back to SFO. Stopped here for a night on my way to Zhenyuan as well.

Had tried to avoid returning to this gritty, crowded city that provides little reason for a tourist to stop save for the fact that it is the capital of Guizhou province and, thus, the transportation hub. Had a flight booked from Guiyang to Wuhan, but considered taking a train directly from Kaili, a short bus ride from Xijiang, to Wuhan instead just to avoid Guiyang. Unfortunately, sleepers were already sold out by the time I thought about this option and a sleeper was the only option in view of the minimum 14-hour trip.

Ending up in this city again is wearing on me, especially after the crowds I ran into in what I thought would be the escapes of Zhenyuan and Xijiang. I chose Guizhou province for my travels this year expecting to be able to relax in small towns. Because so many Chinese travelers seemed to have the same idea, neither stop was restful. Domestic tourism is growing fast. From 2010 to 2020, it's conservatively projected that Chinese domestic trips will increase by over 300% (from 280 to almost 900 million trips a year) as the Chinese middle class grows at an astounding pace. While this is well below the number of domestic trips Americans take a year, this increase is making major changes to popular destinations.

If I return to China, I'll do a few things differently in view of the changing tourism patterns here:

• Avoid heavy domestic tourism times of late July-August; early October.
• Leave myself plenty of time to be able to get off the beaten path.
• Don't book return flight to US to give me maximum flexibility, not so much for timing as for departure city and routing.
• Have a phone with app to translate English to Mandarin.

Have an early evening flight out to Wuhan. Killed the day by walking near my hotel, including a stop in one of the largest urban parks in China.

After an overnight near the Wuhan airport, flying to SFO early the next day. While the 5 weeks away have been great, I'm looking forward to getting back to cooler, relatively quiet and uncrowded SF.

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