Waunderlust and travel have always been my passion. But Communist, polluted China was not on my 'must see list', so I begrudgingly accepted an Oakland County Government invitation to attend a 'business development mission trip' in 2015. Oak County Deputy Director, Matt Gibb is a rockstar in China, where government officials are treated better than the Hilton sisters at a champagne pool party. The picture captioned is not in Beijing, it is at an insanely huge Chinese Pharmaceutical factory in Tiajan, China (never heard of this 13 million person city, me either). The factory had life sized scale replicas of the great architectural buildings of the world - The Arch d'triumph, leaning Tower of Pisa, Effiel Tower etc. scattered amongst gleaming white factory buildings. A TV crew followed me around the factory grounds in a parade of golf carts, interviewed me as "Mr. Deputy Gibb", as I was standing in for him, I made the nightly news (1 offical TV channel in this large city).
All this to say, China is a surprising place. It is like flying into a dystopian future. And if you haven't witnessed the economic miracle which is cities like Tiajan, Chongching, Chengdu and Shanghai, you are not part of the REAL modern world. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Panama City, Seoul - this is the new world order.
As our politicians embarrass us, the rest of the world is building sprawling cities, flexing manufacturing might, developing and educating their work force and we are arguing over basic facts. China is unfairly kicking our economic butts, we can make excuses, we can even pretend they are some kind of polluted back water, but we do so at our own loss.