Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chinese New Year

It’s a great comfort to say that I have begun to settle down into HK (physically and emotionally) and now it’s just like hanging out with the city around us (I say 'us' to emphasize the great role my new friends have played). Yes, there is vast amounts still unexplored, but I can relax and know that life is still life even if in HK. So with that said, let’s get excited for another adventure that will take place over the Chinese New Year!
My original plan was to stay in HK and then go to the Philippines, but through God’s great hand, it has taken a drastic detour. I met a guy named John Newman last Sunday (so I’ve known him nearly a 1.5 weeks), and we hit it off right away. He’s from Kentucky and studying Asian Culture, Language, and Commerce. He’s fluent in Mandarin and pretty good at Cantonese. Anyway he described to me this trip he had formulated last year, and as he described it, I would have died to join him (he was either going alone or with his dad, but his dad isn’t coming in the end). So through a series of conversations and 3 days after I met this kid, I booked a flight to follow his adventure (and photograph the event).
With backpacks fastened, we will fly from Shenzhen, China to Kunming in the Yunnan Province of China. From there we will take a sleeper bus over to Dali, where we’ll spend the night and hit the sights. We will bypass Dali to get to our final destination, Lijiang. I have been informed by many (including LonelyPlanet) that if you are to visit any province in China, Yunnan is the place to go.
Furthermore, Lijiang houses one of the oldest, most traditional towns in all of Asia. There’s a place called the “Old Town” where every building is traditional Chinese style architecture. It’s where movies are filmed for that “old time look”. So we plan to spend the New Year in this “Old Town” and then see all the sights it has to offer. ALSO, the nature there is incredible which brings us to our other final destination, “Tiger Leaping Gorge”. This is a backpacking trail in one of the most renown places in China (and maybe the world). It’s “heaven on earth” as John likes to describe it, and the pictures of it don’t lie. It’s insane! We’ll literally be in the mountains with a gorge far below. There’s guest houses on the way that house backpackers and serve food/tea on the balcony of the cliff!
So we will backpack at the trail for about 4 days and then head back to Lijiang, finish our sightseeing (and eat tons), then head back to Kunming where we’ll meet John’s Mandarin teacher from high school (small world!). That will conclude our tentative plans, and I’m super stoked. We’ve been backpack shopping and it gets my blood flowing, and hiking up to the peak of this mountain that overlooks HK was an incredible taste of what is to come.
I’ve gotten the ticket and VISA, so let the games begin. Also going is Jason from California. He too just met John and is coming along for the ride! It should be very humorous, John a white kid from Kentucky, Jason an African American from Cali, and then a half Korean guy from TN. We won’t stick out like sore thumbs :D Either way, that’s what’s up over here. Skype sometime please!


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