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Completely Off Topic
Completely Off Topic
Letters from China: January 4, 2010
I’m leaving in the morning (yikes! Do I have enough socks?), going on a tour with my 80-year-old dad and some friends of my dad (who are Chinese). We’re going for three weeks, with a plan to meet the minority people of China (there are 50+ minorities, all of whom are celebrated and encouraged to remain intact and separate by the Chinese government.) It DOES seem kinda nervy to go to China in January and then go to Turkey in June, but I will console myself by either going to Egypt or Greece next year. J  

On the last trip, my dad and the gang did the Silk Road, and we will do a small corner of it that they missed last time. We’re starting in Chengdu, which is reported to be very pretty by friends and Chinese food delivery guys alike. From the guidebook and them, I gather that it’s sort of Aspen—people go there from Beijing and Taiwan and such. But we’re not settling in, oh no. Next we go to Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge (look this one up, it is very beautiful, plus has a cool folk tale about it) and on to Songzanlin monastery and a Nixi pottery village. The focus of this trip is autonomous minority groups (like the Nixi and the Lisu), so there will be lots of arts and crafts and photos of people whose everyday wear involves vivid colors and interesting shapes.

Next, we go on to Shaxi to see the ancient Buddhist carvings at Shibaoshan and the Stone Treasure Mountain Grottos (look these up too) and off to Dali to see a Bai village, an ancient wall gate and a rare sighting, a Catholic church. From there, we fly to Guilin, where we’ll see a Dazai village and trek to the top of the mountain to see rice terraces and more minority villages. Next, we’ll go to the Huyang Lou village, which means long hair, so I expect to be very popular there. It is another minority place. I will certainly be the minority blond in this minority place.

After that, we’re on the Goading village near Dudong, which is well off the tourist path, apparently, so they will find us interesting too. Then to the Batuan Wind and Rain bridge which sounds like quite an architectural feat. Then on to Basha for more minority villages, including one where they make their dresses shine with egg whites. Hmm. Next, off to Zhaoxing to see the largest Dong village in China. The Dong are also Hmong, depending on where you’re from and who you’re talking to.

Then, because things won’t have been interesting enough, we will take a river cruise on the Beijiang River and enjoy a folk dance and wedding ceremony at a Miao village. Note that the Beijiang River is not the Beijing River. Apparently, we will see horse fighting, which I am not too thrilled about, and cormorant fishing, which also seems kind of mean.

Then we cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo and see a performance of some sort. In the morning, we’ll go to a cave and then a fishing village. Next, we’ll travel by golf cart to Yongcun village and Moon Hill, and go bamboo rafting on the Yulong River. Then we’ll head back to Guilin airport and head off to Korea. We will spend 12 hours day touring (aimlessly, I gather) in Seoul, and then home to SFO.

Sound fun? Wish you were going?
 
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