A world in itself, China can be overwhelming and exhilarating. For 5000 years Chinese civilization has sculpted its complex and irradicable history on this planet. Its mark can even been seen from outer space, from which the Great Wall of China is visible. Its attractions range from the simple pleasure of sipping tea at a Sichaun teahouse, to cheering for the crews at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, to jet-setting around the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai. China suffers no dearth of sight-seeing opportunities. One can explore ancient history here, such as Xian’s 10,000 terra cotta warriors, or witness the new, in the controversial Three Gorges Dam. This work in progress, to be completed in 2009, will be the world’s largest dam.
As can be expected in a land this vast, China’s climate ranges from the sultry tropical temperatures in the south, to frigid wintry lands in the north. It is a mountainous country, with high plateaus, western deserts, and the fertile river deltas that make China perfect for rice cultivation. China’s recent economic reforms launched it to the position of second largest economy in the world in 2005. Still, most of the population, over one billion people, maintain lower middle class financial status.