Leaving on a Good Note
Xingping Travel Blog› entry 72 of 174 › view all entries
November 24th, 2009 – by: domnicella
Aside from being unable to stomach the politics and not always enjoying the food, I can see myself returning. I'd like to see more of Western China, places like Kunming and Lijiang, that I didn't get to visit. I keep telling myself I'll wrap it into a trip to Tibet and Nepal and India. But that's another animal altogether.
The biggest impression (travel-wise) China has left on me is that it's INFINITELY more tolerable when there are others sharing your experience with you. That's not to say you can't do China on your own, but it is SO different and SO difficult and SO frustrating that having others around who think and feel and perceive and speak and act the same way you do makes a WORLD of difference. The stress and frustration become manageable, the situation becomes manageable, there is far more even-keeled thought and a balanced approach to things. And miscommunications and cultural differences become comical, rather than jeopardizing your moment/day/stay. If there was ever a country to have a travel buddy, China is it. I finally figured that out about mid-way through (as I'm sure you've noticed) and have been far more open to linking up and touring places with people than I was before.
Anyway. About my day. I told Bill about the yummy vegetarian dumplings I snagged the night before, and that I wanted to go back and try other items on their menu. Encouraged by the vegetarian options available (Bill's a vege too), he thought he'd give Chinese food a try and ordered "potatoes with vinegar.
We walked off our disappointing lunch by wandering a smaller part of the river that forks off to the east of the town. Made friends with some water buffalo, got yelled at by various locals, accosted for more "hello! bamboo! bamboo!," and eventually wound our way back on the opposite bank, through the farmland we had walked through two days before. We had a mellow afternoon, enjoying the warmer weather and not doing much, and for dinner went to a (western style) "Chinese" restaurant that actual Chinese people have nothing to do with. We got our fried eggs and tomatoes, eggplant (sadly nowhere near as good as the eggplant in Beijing), and our touristy fried rice to boot.
Bill is about as unlike me as they come: always so happy-go-lucky and eager to strike up conversations with locals, always thrown that they can't understand him (EVERY time!), always handing out his cash at the first obscene price asked, always driving me totally crazy with his constant benevolence and niceness and goodwill. Sometimes I wanted to smack him. "Snap out of it! These people are being thieving jerks to you! Stand up for yourself!" But we had a really good time.
As the bus pulled out of XingPing and headed for Yangshuo, a duo feeling of peace and excitement came over me. The visible half of the moon was brilliantly shining, so bright and white.
As for the excitement, I couldn't wait to be back in the "free world." The world of uncensored press and free speech and all the mindless social websites you can handle. High-speed firewall-free internet, here I come! And the FOOD. Five weeks of heavy, greasy, oily, MSG-laden food and close to ten pounds later (how's that for a big ugly number?), I've given myself a pass in the food department for the next few days. I want to eat ANYTHING but Chinese. And sitting there, reflecting on things, being all zen and mellow and at peace with the world, you know I was mentally planning the feasting in store for Hong Kong. Let's be serious. It's imported wine and cheese from here on out. Giddy UP.
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