Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Musings On Travel

Beijing is an interesting city. Like most major cities, the cultural aspects most people come to see are dotted around the city like little islands of the past in a large, more modern sprawl. You usually can make your way to these islands pretty easily if you don't mind paying extra or enduring extra, unwanted, side trips. I, however, have a rather low tolerance for such things.

I am not so sure how good of a traveling companion I would be. I can be very accommodating when I am with others, but I know, when I see someplace on a map, I feel there has got to be some way to get there. And I tend to try and do it by myself. Sure, I may ask for directions occasionally, but I am not the type to just hop in a taxi and say, "Take me to ..."

Yes, this does end up with me taking some rather long unplanned (and planned) walks, having to wait for buses which only run at certain times, confusing buses, missing connections, and generally enduring a lot that taxi riders would never even have to consider. My wellspring of patience rarely ever runs dry, though, so I do endure it and usually make it to where I am headed, sooner or later.

And when I do, there is an extra sense of accomplishment. "I've made it." Sure, the locals do it all the time, but for me, doing what I set out to do makes that little part of the trip a bit, just a bit, more special. After all, someone did say, "The journey is the reward." And completing that journey, through your own ingenuity, is even a bit more rewarding.

I have a few pictures for you. Just a few shots, out of many, of some of the places I've been so far. (Don't think you are missing much because you can't see the rest of the photos. There are only so many ways you can photograph a wall or temple.)

The first couple are interesting. I have always thought that food-on-a-stick was a great invention, but the Chinese seem to almost elevate it to an art.

The Great Wall. One more of the Seven Wonders I can now tick off my list.

A lot of Chinese temples are fairly familiar, having just come out of Korea. The color schemes are a bit more varied, and the complexes sometimes a bit more grandiose, but still rather familiar.

I am off to Tibet next. Taking the train from Beijing to Lhasa. Being the cheap bastard that I am, I opted for the "hard seat" rather than any kind of sleeper. I may regret that after the approximately 48 hours are up. Wish me luck.

(P.S. I can post to my blog, but I can't (without a lot of difficulty) actually view my own blog. Apparently "" addresses are blocked in China. So forgive me if my posts appear a bit strange now and then.)

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