Tomorrow I leave for an 18 day trip to China with the students from my school. I did this trip last year so I am well aware of what I am in for. Lots of trekking, bike riding and scaling that incredible wall. We start with a day in Hong Kong, then travel on an overnight train to Guilin to the village of Ping An where we stay and hike through the rice terrace fields that surround this area. Arduous stuff it is, lots and lots of uneven stairs but amazing scenery. This year we are there later in the year so I will be interested to see the changing landscape due to seasonal change.
We leave the rice terrace fields and travel to Yangshou for the bike riding part of the journey through the neighbouring villages. This is far and away my favourite part of the trip. The haunting karst mountains that surround this area are surreal. Yangshou is such an inviting township. Friendly people and a sensational night market. The Li River is a working river and it is a wonderful experience for our students to immerse themselves in the traditional lifestyle of the Chinese people.
After a few days in Yangshou we fly to Xian where we visit the Terracotta Warrior army that Emperor Qin commissioned be built to protect him in the afterlife. It is one of those experiences where you have to pinch yourself to convince yourself that you are really there. On the same day we scale Mt. Huashan and stay at a hotel at the top of the mountain. I can tell you, this is tough going, but you feel an incredible sense of satisfaction that you have achieved the climb. I know it’s going to be like labour. I’m OK with it now, but it will all come rushing back at me once I see the scale of the mountain once again!
We return to Xian and ride bikes around the city wall that surrounds the city. A fun day, then off on a sleeper train to Beijing where we visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Hutong traditional homes. Then it’s off to Si Ma Tai and Jinshanling where we tackle the wall. Back to Beijing, the Summer palace and markets for last minute shopping before we head back to Melbourne!
I’m wondering how I am going to go being off the grid for three weeks. This will be the longest period of time I’ve had away from the network since I started writing this blog so it’s going to be interesting for me. I wonder if I’ll show any signs of withdrawal. Restless fingers, tracking eyes, internet envy of those with iphones with internet access! I’m taking the laptop and will avail myself of internet access when I can, but realistically it’s going to be pretty spasmodic. It may do me good!
If you want to see how things are going check in every now and then and see if I’ve managed to get anthing posted. This blog is blocked in China so I’m going to be using Posterous to post updates. It worked for me in Shanghai so it should be fine once again.