I’ve been in the United States for the past month, and during that time I’ve spent a lot of mental energy comparing China and the U.S. In terms of air quality, ease of accessing information online, and presence of Wawa convenience stores, Philadelphia definitely beats Shanghai. But in other areas, China has the edge, and one of those is high-speed rail—the topic of my latest post at the LA Review of Books China Blog:

… having traveled the length of the Northeast Corridor (Boston to D.C.) in the past two weeks, my patience for rattling old Amtrak trains has been exhausted, and I long for the quiet, even glide of Chinese high-speed rail. I miss trains that run on time, clear announcements at each station arrival, inexpensive tickets, and free hot water for my instant coffee (though Amtrak’s $2 brew is surprisingly good, I’ve found). Amtrak definitely has the advantage in seat size (roomy in every dimension) and ease of ticket purchase (done online in only a few minutes, a move that China hasn’t been able to make), but otherwise—God, do I miss Chinese trains.

You can read the rest of the post, and see a photo of my Christmas gift to my father, here.