Photo by Chas Pope
Tomorrow morning, I leave for a five week trip to China. I will focus on two major destinations: Beijing (北京) and XinJiang (新疆). My original plan was to visit Mongolia from Beijing, but scrapped that plan due to recent visa restrictions imposed by the Chinese government for double entries. “Sweet, I get to see XinJiang!” I thought.
Here’s my plan so far:
- Travel: Seattle – Beijing
- Beijing – 4 Days
- Travel: Beijing -Ürümqi
- Side trip to TianChi – 2 Days
- Travel: Ürümqi -Kashgar
- Kashgar – 10 Days
- Travel: Kashgar – Beijing
- Beijing -15 Days
- Travel: Beijing to Seattle
Coincidentally and independently, two of my friends from Seattle (Ravi and Jeremy), and fellow blogger friend Nathalie will also be in Beijing for business during parts of my stay. Plus, my parents will also be visiting Beijing around the same time, so it’ll be a party. I feel pretty lucky right now!
XinJiang – 新疆
I’ve always been fascinated by XinJiang, a relatively foreign region within China. What attracts me to it are the vast cultural diversities. Did you know that XinJiang is home to 19 distinct ethnic groups? Wow! As a little girl in Beijing, my association with XinJiang people was that they were the kabob sellers who wore exquisite decorative square hats, with tanned skin and Caucasian features. I’m about to learn more…
XinJiang borders all the “estan” countries: Kazakhstan (Borat!), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It also borders: Mongolia, Russia and India. The majority of the population is Muslim. Urghur (pronounced “We-ger”), a Turkic language, is the common tongue. I heard that Mandarin is frowned upon, so I’m all geared up with a handy Central Asia phrasebook, ready to bust out some Urghur.
Most of my XinJiang time will be spent in Kashgar. I actually laughed out loud when I saw it on a map, it’s waaaaaay on the west end of China. Initially, my plan was to travel by train from Beijing in an attempt to save some money. But learning that trains will take around 72 hours, I jumped at the faster alternative – by plane.
I’m all ready, armed with a dozen rolls of film and several digital cameras. It will be a photojournalist’s dream.
Beijing – 北京
I was born and raised in Beijing until age 10 (English was my second language). I was there during the Tiananmen Square Massacre (六四) and recall seeing tanks along the main road on my way to school each morning. The last time I was back was ten years ago, and I’m really excited to see the results of Beijing’s massive modernization.
My focus in Beijing is mostly for visiting family and to test out how well I can work remotely. (*fingers crossed*)
I will do my best to keep up with ThinkSimpleNow, but I anticipate that reliable internet access will be challenging, especially in XinJiang. We shall see.
I will be spending most of my time roaming around each town, taking photos, contemplating, writing, listening to music and reading. I’ve loaded my iPod with all of Steve Pavlina’s podcasts, videos from Oprah’s Soul Series and a ton of music. That should keep me busy. :)
If you’re curious, I’ll be bringing the following books:
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
- The Bridge Across Forever
- Eat, Pray, Love
- Living on Purpose
- Introducing NLP
- Creative Visualization
- Browse in Timeline:
- « Lifestyle Update – September 16, 2008
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