Strollin' China! by George Stroll aka Jíři Procházka China--A wicked country and suffocating despair. I spent two beautiful years in China as a student and a teacher of English. I won’t get into details, but after two years of teaching, I’m glad that the 1st ISO teachers didn’t kill me and sometimes I wonder how they survived our constant stupidity. I’ll always hold ISO in my heart, no matter where I am. I was a student of Lixin University in Shanghai, one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever seen. Why? Not because of its enormousness: because of the people. You can see everything in this city, from Buddhist monks with their cameras worth tens of thousands to foreigners who are as lost as you are. I decided to become a part-time teacher to help kids struggling with their homework, but especially to earn some cash to travel this colossal country. My first trip was during the Golden Week, huge holidays for Chinese people, where the whole country goes home to see their families. There were literally millions of people moving everywhere. I visited Xian with its terracotta soldier army, as well as the Goose Pagoda. Now, listen: never EVER go to an “underground palace” if they have no signs in English. We walked around the Goose Pagoda and saw these weird doors with stairs leading underground. There was just one woman guarding the doors, Gandalf-style. So, I went to ask her what she offered, and she told me a long story about an underground palace that had been there for thousands of years. Truth be told, I didn’t understand half of what she was saying due to her rural Chinese. But I understood that there was a long history surrounding this place and maybe something with strong dragon power. Naturally, as a fan of the Kungfu movies, I wanted to visit this place, get the dragon power and become the next Jackie Chan. However, I should probably have listened more carefully to her. As we descended, it became clear that the cave was not thousands of years old. My first clue was all the concrete; then there was the cafeteria and, most notably, a plaque that read 1999. However, I still believed that I was destined to become a new Kungfu master, so we continued towards the last cave. As soon as we entered I turned and left. There was a mirror maze with statues all around and to anyone who has seen Doctor Who… you don’t want to be there. We moved on to Chengdu which is, according to our Chinese friends, “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY IN CHINA." Oh, yeah. The city itself was a gorgeous mix of stunning unpainted concrete with a hint of magnificent communist architecture (read: 5m tall statues of Mao). Yeah, beautiful. The parks with their tea houses were fine, especially after the whole day of walking the concrete headache. I could see how people would like it. If you don’t consider the buildings, streets, and walls, the parks and things around it were fine. There’s one thing in this city that makes sense for every person that travels here: PANDAS!!! 20km from this city is the largest panda sanctuary. IT WAS AMAZING AND WHOEVER TRAVELS TO CHINA HAS TO SEE THESE STUPID BEARS FALLING DOWN THE TREES BECAUSE OF THEIR ADORABLE LAZINESS.