Here is one American’s perspective about China after visiting recently. I think this represents basic differences that an American would notice about parts of China after visiting for the first time nowadays.
China is land that arises out of the, almost foggy, cloudy, haze. A land of very few clear days. A country with extremely large cities and people everywhere (Beijing and Harbin challenging cities even as big as New York). Skyscrapers stretching, seemingly, as far as the eye can see and new ones, in rows, further than that, mainly for housing the countless millions. On the horn filled streets, cars, buses, bikes, scooters, pedestrians everywhere, walking and running together with few restrictions other than get there the best way you can (I loved it). Air conditioning is used very sparingly and humidity at levels that leaves you sweat, soaked from beginning until ending of the day.
There are many Western influences that have penetrated the eastern world such as McDonald’s, KFC, & Pizza Hut, along with signs with English on them, and the beloved chair like commode. Even with Eastern versions of these, culturally, authentic food is in the largest supply. Americans from the Western world should carry a adequate supply of Pepto Bismol, Imodium, and anything else they can think of in preparation for the abdominal disruptions that will, without a doubt, occur at some point. Smoking restrictions are minimal, in comparison with the West, allowed even in many eating establishments. Most public restrooms contained a commode in the floor (no, not above the floor but, recessed in the floor) known as the squatty potty (something totally mind boggling to all Westerners). And oh yes, you have to supply your own toilet paper in such places!
Aware of that China is a Socialist Republic, I was very surprised to see the capitalism and entrepreneurship being practiced by normal, everyday citizens. Almost all ground level space in the countless skyscrapers housed restaurants, convenience stores, bakeries, produce stores seemingly run by the people of these cities.
Chinese people love Americans & their culture. They have a burning desire to learn the English language. They love wearing clothing with English words on them. They are intrigued and want to stare and touch you. They make you fill like a celebrity and they love having their pictures made with you! They are courteous to you beyond belief!
Question: If you have been to China, what differences did you notice?