China - from lots of perspectives!
|On my first trip to China, in 1988, I had three main objectives. Perhaps the most important was to see the Terracotta Army of the Emperor Qin, near Xian, more or less in the center of China.The story of the discovery and extent of this incredible site was featured in this April, 1978, National Geographic magazine. I was awed by the site, but one of my main memories of that visit was the purchase of my first little Yixing teapot, and my preoccupation with getting it home safely. All the way up to the tomb of the emperor (some distance from the army) were kiosks selling souvenirs. I had sworn that I was not going to buy any ceramics on this trip, which was going to involve extensive travel, but when I saw the teapots, my sales resistence dissolved, and I spent some time selecting one that I felt was small enough to carry safely. During the rest of the tomb tour my mind was preoccupied with my transport problem. My eventual solution to the problem was to remove the cardboard tube from the center of my toilet paper roll (a necessary item on long distance world travel) and stuff the teapot into its place. The teapot survived the trip, even when a very well padded (the padding was his clothing for standing all day at the border at a very high altitude) Chinese guard (who hitched a ride to the border) fell backwards onto the pack (because he was so padded that he couldn't bend) and remained there until we arrived at his destination. I worried about my teapot for the 1-2 hours of that ride, but was not about to voice my worry. I was more concerned with getting across the Pakistani border at that point, and felt the border guard might not appreciate my bringing attention to something so trivial as a tiny teapot.|
|(The other highlights of that trip were the Great Wall of China, and crossing the Himalaya Mountains over the recently opened (I believe in 1986, for foreigners) Karakoram Pass into Pakistan. Other memories of that trip will find their way onto these pages eventually. It was one of the most fantastic trips I ever undertook.)|
|In 1992, my sabbatical took me from Moscow, across Siberia, through Mongolia, and to Beijing again. From there I went, for the first time, to Shanghai, where I spent most of my time in bed in a hostel, with a very bad cold. Even so, I fell in love with this wonderful city! Luckily there were to be more visits to Shanghai in the future. (In 1994, two times, and in 1996, two times again! Maybe once in 2001...?)|
More visits with more pictures, and more links will find their way to this page as I find them - and find time to write a little about those trips. The picture to the far left is the Kunming airport, and the one to the immediate left is I-Chi's garden at his pottery workshop in Beijing.
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