Friday, April 29, 2005

April 29

I only have a few minutes to post as I am in an out of the way place.

I just got finished with my weeks holiday.

I don't know if someone who has died and gone to heaven can come back to describe what it was like, but I'll try. I just spent three incredible days on the Yangze River. We steamed from Chongqing to Yichang and passed through the Three Gorges. It was some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen.

Lush green mountains, high rain-worn granite peaks, the mist, the sunsets, the great Yangzte itself.

A trip up one of its tributaries was even more stunning for how completely untouched and unspoiled a piece of nature is. The boat was a blast. The Chinese crew and guests welcomed me with open arms and went out of their way for me at every waking hour.

I spent some time after the River trip traveling through the farm country of Hubei Provence.

It was a dream-like landscape. Perfectly maintained plots of land, cows, oxen, rice, corn, potatoes, fruit trees. Countless farmers bent over with their big round hats shading them.

A note on the bus. It was hellishly hot and we were crammed 7 to a row in a space that was made for four. I had a farmer fall asleep on my shoulder and another who loved my Ipod.

I amused myself by picking songs on my Ipod that lent some irony to the adventure. Barreling down the road in an old bus full of laborers and farmers I had the Star Wars theme blasting through my head phones. I was smiling the entire time and must have looked half crazed.

After these past few days I feel like I saw the China I had been missing in all my time in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong. Sichuan and Hubei and the river were just a dream come true for me.

My pictures are my best yet. I will post the details of the trip and some pictures tomorrow when I reach Guangzhou.

Five more days until I fly back to New York.