In 1984 I backpacked through china. Bicycles, Mao suits, open air food markets and very bad steam trains. Life was basic, people were poor and humble and foreigners were like people from Mars. Crowds gathered in every place I went.
In 2014 I returned to China, and found many things haven't changed, yet some things have changed beyond recognition. Previously empty and decrepit historical sites are now refurbished purely for the local and international tourist's entertainment, and as crowded as you will find in any place on earth. Wealth and conspicuous consumption are on display in every street, cafe and restaurant.
However, you can still stroll the open air markets if you look hard enough, the children are as cute as ever and the elderly still while away their time.
A bound foot woman in 1984 stares into oblivion. In 2014, and old man diligently guards his chicken.