Friday, December 4, 2009

Happiness requires a garden

From China Daily:

Chengdu is the "happiest" city in China in a survey of the top ten cities in the country, the reported Wednesday.

The capital of Sichuan province topped the list for its fine scenery, cheap goods and easy lifestyle. Tourist city Hangzhou came second, with seaside city Qingdao ranking third. Most top ranking cities are garden cities where people enjoy the good environment and less pressure.

Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the four biggest cities in China, didn’t make the list due to bad air quality, high housing prices, heavy urban traffic, along with high work and living pressure, the report said.

Having been to Chengdu, Hangzhou and Qingdao, I have to say this doesn't surprise me in the least. I could spend hours in Chengdu's teahouses -- many of them named Thousand Fortune Teahouse for some reason, by the way -- while Hangzhou's West Lake lives up to its reputation and Qingdao's roadside beer could take away my worries any day.

I must say, however, I would still take Beijing over all of them. We live in a world-class city with everything at our fingertips. Imperial gardens are a subway ride away, neighborhood shops are everywhere, malls and amusement parks (if you're into that sort of thing) easy to find, and the biking culture still exists, unlike in cities like Shanghai. Of course, the pollution problem needs a bit of work, but after trips I'm always happy to be returning to here, and I think that's a good sign.

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