What you first notice if you're in America after six month in Indonesia.Well, those were James Fallows' words, not mine (for 'Indonesia', substitute 'China'). The Atlantic Monthly journalist and national editor who has been residing in and reporting about China since last year reflects on how things are different between the two nations.
It is obvious, but: The wealth. The things. The overall abundance. (And, yeah, well, that you can speak English.) Plus, how clean the air is, and how many trees and birds and flowers there are, and how few unfinished edges — open ditches, stacks of construction beams — you come across.
But they could've been my words too as I am also back in America after seven months being away. And I'd like to add one more thing to Fallows' list: the predictability. Things are much more predictable here than they are back home. Which is another way of saying things are often more exciting (if suspenseful) back home.
Here's the rest of Fallows' interesting observation:
I realize an error of logic I had been making. China is so fast-changing, so ambitious, so covered with construction cranes, so on-the-move and on-the-rise, so dotted with localized pockets of affluence and big new projects like its Olympics sites and its giant factories and its “Mag-Lev” trains, that I had begun, without thinking, to assume that it was “rich.” Not even close. I am reminded of where the country actually stands.