Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cruisin' the Yangtze in the Land of Strange Meats

Having landed back in the USA I reflect back now on the Great Chinese Adventure and think to myself, "Well, that was a learning experience." It feels strange to return to a world where everyone can communicate without excessive confusion.

I have now eaten nothing but salad or vegetables (ok, I admit I had a ham sandwich but I love pork products so give me a break) since my return just to 'flush' my system of the fried goop I was somewhat 'forced' to consume.

The last days of the trip were extremely busy. Shopping for bargains in the markets of Shanghai (Yang Xiang -- sounds like a Chinese rock band!) and tasting the virtual limitless amount of teas available in the local shops.

Of course, the biggest piece of the journey was the river cruise up the Yangtze River. The Yangtze winds through the 3 gorges which are most definitley breathtaking. And where the cruise was a bit slow (never been on a cruise before and though this was a river cruis I don't plan another anytime soon) activity-wise the scenery was absolutely astounding. I kept busy the rest of the time doing yoga (it felt very Chinese), reading and playing Chinese checkers. When in Rome...

So I come back a man richer for the experience and poorer for having purchased 3 oil paintings, a new carry-on suitcase, some tea, cashmere sweaters and candles. All in the name of contributing my part to the 9.5% yearly growth of China's GDP. Given the conversion rate I think the country of China actually owes me money at this point rather than vice versa. I'll keep my eyes peeled on my Visa statement for the line item that says, "Credit from People's Republic of China -- Thank you, please come again".

I could go on and on describing the randomness of this country but I have photos to put up that should pretty much speak for themselves showing the beauty of the country. And in 20 years when the Mongolian BBQ Goat has faded from my memory I'm sure that the ideals of a gorgeous Fall trip to the Eastern cities and Western Yangtze will remain.

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