Saturday, 5 March 2011

10 days on the road

As I wrote it in a letter to someone yesterday (I'm enjoying this letter writing by the way, 6 sent so far ;), I've only really been on the road for 10 days (not counting Hong Kong) and it already feels like a month at least. I'm not even necessarily doing that much; it's a lot of new experiences, thoughts and conversations in a short amount of time - presumably as the environment is so different I'm looking at everything differently as well. In any case, whatever you want to call it, it's certainly one of things I enjoy most about traveling. If you haven't done that in a while, I recommend you book a ticket for some strange and new destination, try it out. I"m always surprised at how much changing the context / environment can open my mind to new thoughts, ideas and observations. It's not providing any particular answers to the meaning of life - as far as I can gather it's still 42 - but it's a pleasure nonetheless.

I'm having a really good time and extremely happy with the choices I've made for this year to come and explore the region around here. Given I can't easily access Facebook to upload photos, I'll sum up the trip so far with a few choice pics here.

I took a train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou on Thursday 24th Feb, hoping to catch another one directly to Kunming. I hwaited a few hours there. When people told me the station at Guangzhou is very busy they weren't kidding.
After a 26h train ride (on a hard seat, they only had those tickets left) I arrived in Kunming and spent a lovely few days there. I just walked around town, and also visited Qiongzhu Si, the Bamboo Temple.
I met some great people in Kunming and had some excellent food. Here, we are in a Dai restaurant, they are a minority people from Xishuangbanna, in Southern Yunnan - delicious spicy food. Next to me on the pic is Mike, a cool Canadian dude who has been cycling from home all the way to China across Europe and central Asia.
After a few days, it was time to head over  to Vietnam as I only managed to get a 10 day visa for China this time, I stopped first in Tonghai and visited the lovely mountain park of Xiu Shan, so many gorgeous flowering bonsai, all blooming.

I don't know why, but I can't seem to add any more photos to this blog post. Anyways, after Tonghai, I stopped in Jianshui the following day which has a large part of the old town left and I visited the Zhu Clan['s house and gardens, a nice place to while away the afternoon and write a letter. Then I took another bus to Vietnam and ended in Sa Pa on Thursday evening. I've been in a cloud pretty much since then. It's supposed to be amazing views of the valley all sculpted in rice paddy terraces, but unfortunately there is nothing to see right now. I met some nice people anyways and walked around a village in the mist yesterday. I'm cutting my stay here slightly short and heading down to Hanoi this evening given it's just cold and damp all the time. Maybe some other time.

I'm splitting the way I share my travels in a few different ways and enjoying it, of course on this blog, then you may have heard some of my audio snippets via Facebook or Twitter thanks to Audioboo, and as I said above, I've started writing letters as well.

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