Asia | China – The Roof of the World or Thereabouts
Patagonia, Altiplano, Bujumbura, Timbuktu –
Serengeti and the Yukon, Caledonia and Kathmandu.
Their prose is never-ending but discovery is left to you.
The magical names of faraway places have set generations of travellers and explorers in motion. Yes, sometimes just a name is enough to awaken the dormant nomad that lies within each of us, tugging at our imagination and pulling us from familiar surroundings…and one day you awake under a sky of the deepest blue, in the wind you hear the name again, but now you can see it…touch it…and feel it. Dreams become reality and the names become places. The story unfolds and The Road takes your hand, the plot thickens and the wildest of characters begin to weave in and out of the rolling poetry…and it began with just a name.
On the northern fringes of Yunnan province this mystical name rolls easily from the lips. The sapphire sky and the ochre soils, the wrinkled but radiant smiles, mantras and prayer beads, stupas and monasteries, the sights, sounds, and smells of the Roof of the World have once again invaded my senses, in fact, they have never left me.
A day’s drive now separates us from the controversial political borders but already we have entered The Land of Snows…or better said, it has entered us.
Tomorrow we will set out on the journey to the once forbidden city of Lhasa. The passion with which I look to the world has returned. Away from the cities and pollution, away from the most abrasive culture that I have yet to encounter, the road fills with color and an unbending smile returns to my face.
Almost 2 weeks of China remains to be written and that is just how it will stay for now. The country was absolutely fascinating providing even more food for thought than I had appetite for. A journey to the Middle Kingdom is worth all of the trials that it presents but I personally cannot say that I enjoyed it. I don’t regret it in the least but it wasn’t a pleasure cruise.
The end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, turning the pages has never been so sweet. Since leaving the azure skies of the Bolivian Altiplano, the Himalaya has been the goal, and here amidst a raw and rugged landscape our arrival has been confirmed.
High on the plateau we will be pleasantly removed from the wilds of Cyber-ia so don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks for the next update. In the meantime grab an atlas and pick a name, you’ll know it when you see it, the rest is inevitable…