Asia | China | Shanghai – On the plane
The plane is on the runway at Shanghais Pudong International Airport. My trip is now officially over. Much of the past three months has become a blur by now, but some highlights will remain with me for a long time. When I think back, I see a series of images flashing by: the rice terraces in Yunnan, the simple campus of the middle school in Jiasha, cliffs hovering above the clouds at Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yuedengs tiny figure circling around the stupa near Lijiang, the lonely beacon at Yang Guan Pass, Kirgiz women making nan in front of the snowy peaks of Mt. Mustagata, Daniels horse trying to furtively sneak pass mine on the trek near Songpan, and the gigantic yak burger served up in Langmusi
Having visited mostly the non-Chinese parts of China, I gained an appreciation for the diversity of the country, and at the same time saw the power of cultural and political assimilation. Through Daniel, I realized how unique and different China is from the rest of the world. It takes patience and an open mind to enjoy and experience the real China, and I now have so much more respect for those who explored this country off the beaten paths despite the language and cultural barriers.
I do have regrets, such as not able to trek Tiger Leaping Gorge or see northern Xinjiang. But a trip wouldnt be complete without regrets. Yunnan was my favorite part of the trip, and I will for sure come back for the Red River Valley and Gaoligong Mountains. Tibet and Inner Mongolia are possibilities, too. Every time I traveled in China, I ended finding more places to add to the list to visit instead of crossing them off. China is like a good cup of tea, the more you savor it, the more fragrance it returns.
I hope you all enjoyed reading the entries and that they would be helpful in planning your trip should you ever travel to China. It’s been three months of searching my brains to describe experiences indescribable by words, trying to recognize my own illegible writing, and waiting with agony in front of the semi-functional computers. But that was all part of the fun of travel writing. That’s it for now and I’m outta here!