The People’s Republic of China shielded me from 95 percent of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign’s final three weeks. For that, I am grateful to the Chinese.
A business trip took me to Wenzhou, a city you’ve probably never heard of, but its 9 million residents have a hefty impact on world commerce. A journey out the ancient Silk Road followed.
CNN and the BBC were on most hotel TV menus, and only occasionally was access blocked to the Washington Post and New York Times websites, but why bother with the acrimony and drama of Donald and Hillary when diversions were so abundant?
- Hiking Daluo Mountain above Wenzhou
- Admiring the waterfalls of Tongling Mountain National Forest Park near Wencheng
- Encountering Buddha inside a mountain at the Guanyin Temple
- Inspecting a street vendor’s produce in Zhangye
- Laughing at the young couples shakily trying to navigate the city wall of Xian on bicycles built for two
- Being captivated by the graceful moves of a tai-chi master teacher
- Riding a camel across the desert dunes
- Pondering why a cell tower was “disguised” in an evergreen tree in the Gobi Desert
Part of the 5 percent intrusion of American politics came from a 20-something tour guide in Shanghai, who surprised my traveling group crammed into a too-small minivan when she declared, “I tell you joke. You tell me if funny.”
The setup: “Donald Trump and Hillary both fall off a ship in the middle of the ocean. Who survives?”
The punchline (after a perfectly timed pause): “America.”
The minivan erupted in laughter.