I haven't really done much to prepare for this trip to be honest, so my understanding of China is somewhat limited. I'm not quite expecting a Team America style China square with all of the landmarks in one spot, but I'm only slightly better than that. So, I will write down my thoughts here, which are heavily supplemented by friends who have been to China already, without whom, this would become a very embarrassing document.
First of all, I expect to be gawked at. From what I've heard, a tallish white man stands out quite a bit in China. While buying clothes for the trip, I had the thought "I don't want to look like a tourist," which was quickly followed by "too bad idiot, you couldn't look more touristy if you were wearing zinc on your nose and a fanny pack." I may have dumb thoughts once in a while, but I usually follow them up with sharp, withering rebukes.
I expect there to be a smell. I'm not going to specify good or bad, just different (I hope.) I have been told that it will hit me when I get off the plane. I'm not really looking forward to this after 18 hours of travel, but I don't think it's up to me.
I expect to be jostled often. Coming from a country where every man, woman and child basically gets their own province of empty land, this is something I'm both looking forward to and nervous about. It will definitely be a challenge for me. I love crowds and seeing huge throngs of people, but I definitely am too quick to take offence with pushing and rudeness in them. It will be a good test of my patience I think, and I'm going to practice my zen mindset.
I expect to see something new and wild every day. At the very least, hopefully this blog can be a good log for some crazy, funny, amazing stories. I figure, if I see one new, hilarious thing a week at the YMCA by my house in Toronto, China's crazy thing quotient will be exponential (can one of you smart readers please tell me if mathematically a quotient can be exponential? I'm probably talking out of my ass here.)
Finally, I expect to be blown away. Blown away by the food, the people, the sights, the density, the bullet train. I expect to come back with new ideas to bore you all with as well as idealized views on city building and density zzzzzzz. Sorry, I won't keep going with that tangent.