Friday, June 01, 2007

Karen goes to China!

Last month, I had the opportunity of a lifetime: to travel to China and visit my son and his family, who live in Wuhan, Hubei Province, a huge city of almost 10 million people. China is unlike any place I have ever seen. Some of the highlights of this amazing journey:
  • Seeing my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren! I haven't seen them for nearly a year, and Amelia (10 years old) and Josie (8 years old) have changed so much. They are a lovely family, and they are having a grand adventure.
  • The 2,000 year-old terra cotta warriors at Xi'an. Any traveler to China should not miss this amazing sight. My first glimpse brought tears to my eyes. There are nearly 12,000 warriors and EACH IS UNIQUE. They are guarding the tomb of the first Emporer of China, along with their horses and chariots, and were excavated serendipitously by two farmers digging a well in 1974. Xi'an itself is a beautiful city of 3.2 million people, and is the only city in China with intact city walls. There is a very picturesque Muslim market (did you know that there is a substantial Muslim population in China? I didn't.)
  • The Great Wall of China. Wow. What can I say? I could hardly believe I was there. I will never forget the sensation. What a privilege.
  • The city of Wuhan, with its impressive Yellow Crane Tower and East Lake Gardens.
  • Riding on a sleeper train from Xi'an to many people!
  • The ultra-modern city of Beijing, with its towering buildings and stylishly dressed people. They are busy preparing for the 2008 Olympics. Jeff and I had Peking duck at a historic restaurant there - it was SO delicious. Which brings me to.....
  • the food! I ate spectacularly tasty food everywhere I went. (I had to learn to use chopsticks very quickly, and I was powerfully motivated to do it efficiently.) We ate Mongolian hotpot, wonderful noodles, dumplings, potstickers, lots of yummy chicken, rice, unusual vegetables....sometimes, I was not sure what I was eating, but it was ALL good.

This trip has provided me with so much material for drawing and painting; I am already at work on it. There are spots of breathtaking beauty and color, in the midst of enormously crowded and busy streets. The traffic is even worse than Mexico's - I would never attempt to drive there! Despite the setbacks under Mao, the country is lively and bustling. It was a wonderful adventure and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

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