We’ve reported about the growing numbers of Chinese tourists traveling Route 66. A few days ago, Chinese winners of a General Motors contest to travel the Mother Road drove through Kingman, Ariz.
Naturally, when you’re behind the wheel for long stretches in an unfamiliar land, you start to think about the contrasts of your homeland. Fang Cai, who maintains homes in his native Beijing and in Toronto, had this to say to the Kingman Daily Miner:
“I feel that the more I see Route 66, the more I want to know the stories behind it and how it affected America. […] We need to understand Route 66 and the culture behind it to be able to bring information back to China that will help develop it. Everything is getting better there, but it developed too fast and we created new problems because the people weren’t ready for it. What we learn here is valuable to us.”
Too bad the reporter didn’t let Fang elaborate a bit more. It’s well-documented China is experiencing growing pains because of its juiced-up economy. But the comparison to Route 66 is interesting. I don’t know whether he mused on the rapid growth in traffic on early U.S. 66 leading to the interstate that nearly killed it, or whether he observed something else. Maybe he saw something desirable in Route 66’s more-organic growth in its decertification era.
(Image of a Chinese tourist on Route 66 in Amboy, Calif., by jstdadd, via Flickr)