Lose the map

Welcome to LoseTheMap, former diary of travels around Asia, then account of everyday life in Moscow, and now with my family in Berlin - VERSIONE ITALIANA

Saturday, October 11, 2008

China Part 2

Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/China1

Coming on my way on the road:

The first 4 chinese weeks have held wonderful surprises andadventures, together with first stomach problems!
From Mongolia to China it's been a drastic change of places, people, culture and also regarding my means of travel: couchsurfing not always available, hence hostel's life as a consumed and bearded traveller; movements and destinations with no obligations and time schedule, then i was completely free but without couch's comfort, moreover without lonely planet, that helps you and spoils you too much, instead i used dirty and oily paper written in chinese!

Every day I found myself trying to make it real, talking with hands and feet in front of baffled and confused chinese, but often nice and friendly, what a strive!

But what a pleasure to see myself on those everlasting trains and buses cought on the fly at ludicrous times, on those cars and motorbikes that, hitchhicking, brought me to scattered villages, and wonderful landscapes!

Actually most of time i've been lucky: once understood the meaning ofthe word "to wait", unknown before, i realized that when everything seem useless and nonsense, you just wait and take it easy, and usually some English spoken or helpful person comes along and fixes your problems, that's Asia! You trust him blindly and he turns into your best friend for 5 mins or 10hours - if we travel together for a while!

Beijing: thought to enter in Blade Runner, instead i found the last 3 sunny days thanks to olympic factory-closed, that once reopened had painted the sky in this black-yellowish quite worringly!
A city nice, clean, tided up and even smelling nice, where everything is working, nobody steps on something wrong, nobody hoonks the horn, and billions of policemen, militaries and volunteers assure that everything works fine, to show the world that Chinese know a thing or two!
With my bike riding trough 5 internal highways cadging lifts to electric bikes I made myself at home, with many new friends, and moving first steps into chinese cuisine, renaming myself "king of chopsticks".

A nap inside the boring Forbidden City after a sleepless night, a tour in the Hutong (once upon a time many and ancient, now few and air-con restored), an official session of tea degustation, a martial arts lesson in the Temple of Heaven park, including meditating whiplashes, chats with local artists and beauty girls but dreadfully shy and many other things made my week in Beijing amazing!

Then a journey to the Great Wall: 5 hours hike under a burning sun retracing the past between a tower and the next, with also an injury: broke a toe's nail due to the crappy sandals bought in Ulan Bataar!

Afterwards i found myself on that train, oh my god that wagon! 9 hours with all of China inside it. 1.3 billions inside that wagon, sat on the floor over layers of nut skins, various, shit and spits, hung on luggage-rack and on each other's lap, there was everybody!
While i was writing my diary i turned quickly and counted the heads spying me from behind: 13! 13 smiling heads peeking intomy Italian dull writings!

Then on the road again, in the old city Pingyao, in Luoyang in caves with giant buddhas, in Shaolin Temple where the famous martial artshad begun peeking movements of young students, then in Hua Shan climbing the breathtaking and sacred mountain for 8+8 hours with daoist hermits looking for some friendship, in the Mao's museum (where he's the god!) and on the Yellow river standing under yellow waterfalls! Yeah!

On the road every day many involving meetings with Chinese chatting uptheir funny English and some foreigner among which a Ghanese eating hard-boiled eggs at 6am that proposed me to stop in China teaching english for 6 months!

In Xian the Terracotta Army knocked me down: 3 days in bed with fever, intestinal war and mud under my feet, healing my wounds... I knew, it's part of the game: some overboiled soup, some meditationand 48 sleepy hours put me back on my feet, ready to enter Sichuan, where I am now, the one afflicted by earthquake few months ago: that bus passed throught the epicentre amid wrecked houses and tents, getting ready for the freezing winter, and people working hard to rebuild anything before the snow kicks in...

I went in a Tibetan village inside a mega natural park enriched through coloured lakes, talking live with Tibetans, eventually!
I've heard both the sides of Tibet struggle, and here things have another perspective, points of view are different and the truth is just a matter of ideals... too complicated.. but the people are amazing!
Here i am in Chengdu having some rest and washing some clothes, an touring around this huge city asking for lifts to anything moving.

My idea at the begin was september China-Tibet, october Nepal and november India, but for different reasons something has changed: chinese visa got extended and october will be with ease in Sichuan and Yunnan, afterwards let's see! Vietnam, Laos or Burma?

China is not easy, you must be ready and keep aside many bias, but then like my ghanese friend said: "In China you can enjoy yourself!", and i trust his words!

Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/China1

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