In October 2000, my wife and I traveled around Mainland China. Why did we go to China? Well, my wife, Sumi, had visited many places all over the globe but had never been to China. Mainland China has only been open to outsiders within the last 20 years (this relative isolation from the outside world over the centuries has produced a unique culture) and much of its most significant modern history has occurred during my lifetime. We also wanted to see the Yangtze River area before much of it is flooded by the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric construction project in the history of the world. The 800 mile journey down the Yangtze River was the highlight of our trip.
China is an exciting place to visit now. The state is encouraging private enterprise and experimenting with various economic scenarios associated with capitalistic societies. They are reforming their health care, real estate and insurance practices and entering into economic partnerships with many countries and corporations. In the cities we visited, buildings were under construction everywhere we looked and the bright glow of a welder's torch was visible late into the evening on many of these projects. The pace of development is truly stunning.
My most memorable impression of China was the sheer scope of everything I encountered; the cities, the rural areas, the rivers, the masses of peoplethey all exist on an enormous scale. Witnessing such an unusual landscape firsthand is one of the things that makes traveling so rewarding. I was able to glimpse only a small piece of this immense place in the short time I was there. It is hoped the photographs on the following pages have captured some of the excitement and wonder I experienced in China.