Greetings fellow nomads,
It certainly has been a while since I have been able to type anything of substance anywhere. Things have been rather busy for me the month or so since my last post. In an effort to get caught up here is a rough list of what I've been up to.
July 5: Fly from Shanghai to Toronto. I slept maybe 2 hours on the 14 hour flight, it left at around 5pm in Shanghai and landed at around 7pm in Toronto on the same day. Time zones are a killer. Last year I did a journal post on a 14 hour flight, if you are interested in understanding the joy of that experience give err a read.
July 6 - 12: Slept at very odd times throughout the days. Visited family and friends. Good times had by all.
July 13: Flew to New York City to visit Elvina. It is simply an astonishing place. I honestly can't recommend New York City enough to anyone out there. I thought that I would be indifferent to it as I have been to other major modern cities, but I noticed something special about it. After some reflection I realized that New York is special because it is the big modern city that all others try to emulate and pay tribute to, with varying degrees of success. Highlights of the trip included The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Central Park, Times Square, and The Statue of Liberty. I thought that the latter would be cheesy, but it was simply breathtaking. Here are a few sample pics which will get uploaded to The Book and Flickr soon enough.
July 17: Return home with Elvina for a few days. Family related business ensued.
July 28: After saying goodbye to many of my family members and friends (including a jaunt up to my camp for a few day visit) I head back to the Orient. While three weeks sounded like a long time in the planning, it certainly was not in practice. I feel like I hardly saw anyone at all in my travels. My utmost apologies to the many of my friends that I missed.
July 29: Land in Shanghai after yet another 14 hour flight where I slept very little. Spend the evening in Shanghai and try to sleep on a couch, fail drastically.
July 30: Hop on a plan headed towards Xining, in Qinghai province. As the plan begins to board the rain begins to fall with a great deal of vigour. An announcement comes on that says that the plan is delayed for two hours on the runway. I eventually fall asleep despite all of the very loud chatter. Four hours later we take off.
Now I am spending the next few weeks traveling around a bit more of China. I am going to be in Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan provinces over the next few weeks spending my time at monastaries, pand reserves, and eating some very spicey food. Needless to say, I am excited for it.
My first full day in Xining was yesterday and I went to Ta'er Si, a nearby Tibetan Monastery. While it was full of loud, obnoxious tour groups who routinely took pictures in areas they were not supposed to, and were very loud in quiet parts, it was still very beautiful. I could not help but think that they were there to test my resolve as I struggled for enlightenment. Here are a few snaps.
Expect more to come in the near(ish) future.