If you’ve followed me on social media, you know that my day job has me engaged in developing and commercializing clean-energy technology, primarily hydrogen and fuel cells. This work brings me to Asia every 2 months or so, as that region of the world is investing heavily in clean-energy products. One of the benefits of international travel is the opportunity to experience other cultures, and engage in conversation about international issues. Another benefit is that all that time on airplanes, waiting in airports, and sitting in solitude in hotel rooms is wonderful time to write my next thriller.
I want to share some photos taken in Eastern China on recent trips. Since I don’t speak or read Mandarin or any of the many dialects, there are still many mysteries to me as I travel around the
country. A good example is this photo taken in a gargantuan shopping mall in Shanghai (first two photos). I watched people enter and leave these colorful booths. Inside is a video screen, and the booth is large enough to accommodate two persons, who don a set of headphones upon entering. As near as I can decipher, these appear to be karaoke booths. There were at least a dozen in two rows at this mall.
One widely acknowledged challenge in China is air pollution. One significant contributor is vehicles, especially diesel engines. The government has implemented measures to ban diesel engines in heavy vehicles within a handful of years. As this photo shows, traffic can be gnarly. This picture was taken along a major highway travelling south toward Dongguan.
China is so incredibly rich in history and culture, that it can be hard to understand and fully appreciate. The iconic Great Wall, was built relatively late in the history of China. This photo is of yours truly and my good friend (and interpreter, historian, and culture buff) David Lim. The section of Wall that I was fortunate enough to walk is just outside of Beijing, and probably the same section walked by Nixon and later US Presidents (including Obama). Beijing is a city I definitely want to visit as a tourist. My brief exposure to the Opera House and the Olympic Village was immensely enjoyable, but there is so much more to see.
Traveling south again to Shanghai and the surrounding area, I had the opportunity to visit
Jiaxing—a relatively small city of only 5 million inhabitants. This last photo was taken in a historic district, and provides a glimpse of what the city was like a few hundred years ago.
My travels have taught me that people are fundamentally the same around the world. Sure, we do not always agree, that’s true even within the US. But we all share the same needs and desires. I respect my friends and colleagues in China, but do not agree with all of their government policies. Expect to see China and US-Sino politics featured prominently in the next Peter Savage novel—Guarding Savage. It is based on my experiences with the people who call this fascinating country home.