Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Simple Things

When traveling, it most often happens that we see all of the "big things" during our trip. Don't miss the Statue of Liberty when you are in New York, the Pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall when in China, and all that. (Chairman Mao even said that you haven't been to China till you've seen the Great Wall.)

Well, of course, you shouldn't miss those things. But, there is also something to be said for not missing the simple, small things when traveling.

I recently took two different groups to Shanghai, one in May and one in July. We saw all the "big" things -- the Bund, the TV Tower, People's Square, and even the water villages outside of Shanghai... and of course, loads of shopping. But I found that both groups equally loved being in Lu Xun Park, a small park where lots of local Chinese people spend the few free hours they might have during the day. We rode little boats on a pond (manmade); we rode bumper boats (with these great cannons that shoot rubber balls at fellow boaters); we just walked around and enjoyed the atmosphere. And it was great.

Sometimes an afternoon spent in a tea house, a morning walk through a park, or a night sitting by the river can be the difference in a great trip and a merely busy trip. Remember to plan in some time to do and see the simple things when traveling. It might not be the sorts of things to write home about, but they might be some of the memories that most evoke the feel of a place too.

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silken said...

great tip/reminder. I think you are right in that these things help to evoke the feel of the place you are visiting. I love the early morning walks in singapore through the gardens. I like seeing the many different people out greeting the morning, yes some scurrying to work, others greeting the sun. It can be a different feel than the busy-ness of the day

hifidel said...

That, to me, is what makes for a great trip. I was just talking with a friend last night about how my travel experiences are often enhanced because I often have a local friend to show me around. That is really a plus, getting a little glimpse into "real life" in a place when visiting.