I read a book about travel in U.S. I learnt some new ideas, like the Amtrak in America that connects all major cities. I was quite excited to find out another way besides air travel in U.S. If you ask me to list some cities I think are most important in U.S, I will give the following list
- Washington D.C.
- New York
- San Francisco
They are just the names pop up in my brain when I listed them, in no particular order. I can draw a relative location map for these cities, but sometimes, I still make mistakes. I made bet with a friend on where Detroit is. I insisted that it is in South Texas. It turned out, without doubt, that I lost the bet. I was talking about Huston, TX….
China v.s. U.S.: Unbalanced Level of Understanding
This experience helped me get an idea of the situation first time visitors China is facing. Where is Guangzhou? Where is Hangzhou? Is Hangzhou nearer to Guangzhou or Shanghai? These simple questions may not be easy for foreigners.
I remember one question the student in Beijing asked President Clinton when he visited Beijing was: “The young generation in China knows about America much better than those in America do about China. Do you have any plan for that?”
The situation is very true. I guess many people in China at least know New York is on the east coast and San Francisco is on the west but not many people in U.S know where exactly China is.
So here is a brief introduction about important cities in China.
Beijing is on the north, near the sea, but not a port. It is in the north area, a location similiar with Philadelphia.
Shanghai is in the east of China.
Guangzhou is on the south, near Hong Kong.
The distance between Beijing and Shanghai, Shanghai and Guangzhou are almost the same (Guangzhou-Shanghai distance is longer).
Chengdu is in the south-west.
Hangzhou, Suzhou is very near Shanghai – they almost merge with each other. The distance is 2 hour and 1 hour train’s ride.
Travel between Beijing and Guangzhou? Only Air. Train is too tiring.
Travel between Guangzhou and Shanghai? Air preferred.
From Shanghai to Chengdu? Air – definitely air. Don’t try train since it is among the most crowded train lines in China. Don’t take taxi. I got an email this morning, asking me how much it costs to take a taxi from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Chengdu. It is the third email on the same question since I started this site. Well. My answer is, I don’t suggest anyone to take taxi to Chengdu. It is 1600 KM away from Shanghai. If you do want to have a try, I guess it costs at least 5000 RMB and three days (if the car does not break down in the middle way)… This is also a trigger for me to write this elementary level China Geographic Knowledge Book.