China: Chaotic Culture Clash

A photo-reportage by Lauren Jane Berger

If you’re looking to step outside the Western world, go to China. While laboring over my visa application to visit China a few months ago, I wondered what it would be like, envisioning blocks of bland communist housing and imagining how different it would be to live in country of over a billion people. Turns out it’s very, very different– for starters, it’s cheap. Like, really cheap. A big plate of stir-fried tofu or chicken in a restaurant costs around $1.40, and you’re not likely to find any vegetarian (or non-Chinese) food.

And it’s poor. It is very common to see babies with large slits in their pants… diapers are too expensive for many, leading parents and grandparents to hold their small child by the legs as he shits in the street, then proceed to scoop and trash it as you would for a dog. Welcome to Beijing.

Check out this old dude– love his style.

I didn’t know pollution could be worse than it gets in LA but the air over Beijing looks positively THICK with exhaust.

The forbidden city: Beijing is home to the few remaining examples of pre-Mao architecture. Most older buildings and temples in China were destroyed or converted to factories during the revolution.

This Shanghai temple was converted to a plastics factory during the 1960s and is now restored and surrounded by skyscrapers.

A peek at Beijing’s contemporary art scene…

Great wall authenticity at Jinshanling, where we hiked 10 miles of crumbling steps, forever followed by peasant farmers touting bottled water for 12 cents.


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