So what has changed and what is the same?

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
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Trip End Aug 31, 2011


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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Saturday, July 10, 2010

So far the reverse culture shock hasn't been that bad. I prepped coming home by watching some US tv shows and documentaries. The things that have confused me are really, really unexpected; the size of shopping carts, the beefiness of people, especially security guards (the Chinese ones are always tall, but really, really thin and unimposing), the amount of a/c used in buildings, the fact that dogs hate bikes and the ability to use a fork are not used to them are the top things I'm not used to still. The fork thing kind of makes sense, though, as I don't like forks anyway.

One thing that really has surprised me is the biking culture in the city. 5 years ago it was just becoming a bike friendly city. There were racks and lanes everywhere, but cars still hated bikes and most people still biked on the sidewalk (biking on the side walk is really dangerous because even the slowest bike goes the speed of an ok runner, and even runners can receive problems at crosswalks and driveways). These past few days very few people did buzz bys. Many people were respectful of the space bikes needed and had the driving skills and abilities to pass me. At one point I even had a driver apologize to me for getting in my way while he was in the bike path. My cousin, who never ever seemed to be pro-bike in any capacity agreed that bikes belong on the road and was happy the city enacted and enforced a law keeping bikes off the sidewalk.

In comparison to China, it's nice to be around people who know how to ride a bike. Yes, many people only transport by bike, but because they go so slow and pay so little attention very few people are capable of riding in a straight line. If one wanted to be an ass all you would need to do to make a Chinese person crash is bike a foot or less away from them. Here there was no such problem. Plus, bikes for the most part followed the traffic laws and the cars gave the right of way when the right of way was legally the bike's.

Anyway. My bike trip will begin tomorrow, so starting with subsequent post I'll have some pictures of the American countryside.
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