The People's Republic of China in the fall of 1986 was author Susan Jane Gilman's (Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress) first destination on her round-the-world trip after graduating college. She struggles with feeling utterly alone (even with groups), out of place (being Western), and like a child before it learns to read (staring at words on a page and seeing nothing but squiggles).
Sexy Australian backpackers, Chinese military, nervous breakdowns, and feelings of doubt and insecurity compounded by being in a foreign country. Gilman shows herself as she thought the Chinese saw her, and makes realizations she hadn't had when she was 22, but in later years came to see.
A memoir of travel, friendship and rude awakenings, Gilman writes honestly and humorously about her adventure.