Sunday, May 23, 2010

China wasn't my first choice, but...

Look, everything I've heard about China is less than appealing. Pollution, overcrowding, people spitting on your feet, zero comprehension of English,the regime's obsession with paperwork, bureaucracy and non-appreciation of the finer things in life, like taking happy snaps for your photo album. Verboten, in the Land of the Yellow Star!
So what the hell am I doing bound for the Orient? Serendipity takes me there, in the form of various loved ones stationed there for work. So I thought why not visit Tiananmen Square, and see if it is still surrounded by cyclists rather than cars, as it was in Chairman Mao's days? Will there be a paucity of shops to peruse, as it was back in the early 70s when a friend of mine visited the Chinese capital?
A lot has happened to China in four decades and now people are talking. I plan to read "When China rules the World" on my way over to Shanghai, which is my first stop in this vast Marco Polo region. I'll be off to the French Quarter almost immediately to check out the last vestiges of a bygone era... I believe a new skyscraper goes up in China's mainland cities while you blink!
More of all things Oriental in due course, for now I am simply ripe with expectation!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"I'm off on an adventure!"

Goodbye Groundhog Day, I’m off on an adventure and aah, the soul soars! With my ticket booked, anticipation shimmies through my veins, coursing round my body till I feel the pop-pop-pop of mounting excitement and joy. I wanna go now, but I also want the days until my departure to yawn before me like a beckoning chasm of delight. It’s not that my life is bad - oh no, sirree, it most certainly is not - but you know, even molten chocolate can taste icky after excess. If possible, one should have something, like a journey in the offing, up one’s emotional sleeve to quieten the existential angst. Travel, gentle readers, is - as you well know - a honeyed balm for the soul. In general, speaking both metaphorically and literally, I’ve always preferred the road less travelled, but will I see ‘more of the same’ on my travels, only at different latitudes, or will I chance upon the truly exotic? Only time will tell! My shiny, compact suitcase gleams in readiness, and an iPad satchel is ordered for on-line connection 24/7 as I prepare to visit mainland China in June. “Ni Hao” is my first handy Mandarin phrase - and here’s another: “Zai Jian” (pron. Zai Djen, which means, “So long!”) So, for now, adieu….