Day 143: Country #15.2
Changsha is the capital of Hunan province and located quite centrally in China. It was from Changsha that Mao Zedong began his political career, which resulted in the founding of modern Communist China, so I was curious to stop by and get a feel for differences in mindset and way of life.
I arrived in the middle of the rain and searched all over to find the accommodation that I booked, unaware that I needed to check in at a book store. I asked for some help and was lead in circles, before we saw someone walk by rolling a piece of luggage. They pointed down the same street where I first asked for help. I saw a sign pointing to the book store just a few feet further down from where I first sought help, but it was closed.
We called the number on the sign and were told to wait in the tea shop next door, so I sat down and waited as I tried to talked to the shop owner. Finally, someone came by to opened the book store and let me in.
Interestingly, after I checked in and was lead to the actual accommodation nearby, which was a somewhat run down concrete building, I returned to the book store to ask for information and I saw that the store had a small closet furnished with a bed, so I assumed someone should have been at the store.
As I asked questions, a few other guests came in to avoid the rain. They were Chinese but knew English and had American accents (which I also noticed in Chongqing) so it made for easy and lively conversation. We ended up talking for hours about Chinese history and culture while I shared bits about America and my trip.
The long train ride from Chongqing to Changsha gave me a lot of time to read up on Chinese history so I was able to ask informed questions and tease out the degrees of truth and indoctrination from what I heard.
The rain persisted all day, but as it got late and I began to get hungry, I needed to venture out. Fortunately, I was near the food center and one of the my new friends offered to show me around.
Don’t accept political philosophies, ideas, or stories at face value. There’s always another side or version of the story. This also applies to our own views and stories of the world. The beauty of travel is the natural exposure to different perspectives if you remain open minded.