9 November 2010

I have done a fair bit of travelling; the first thing that comes to mind is China. It was a big experience for me. I hope to travel like it again, for the time being it was like nothing else I had ever done. I climbed the Great Wall of China near Beijing and saw Pandas in Chengdu.

One of the most beautiful areas I visited was Guilian, which borders Vietnam and if you didn’t know where you were, you would think you were in Vietnam. It has a large river that’s runs down it, which people use to travel on bamboo rafts. You may have seen the HSBC advert where the old Chinese fisherman on a bamboo raft uses birds to dive and catch fish, well that is the river I went down. It gives me chills to watch it every time.

One particularly great experience while I was there was the cycling trip. We got up early while the air was still cool and misty, chose our bikes from the hostel and started to ride. I wore loose shorts and a t-shirt which were already slightly damp as the area was very tropical and humid. We rode to the river and left our bikes, then got onto a bamboo raft where we were carried for an hour down stream. I saw red birds of paradise with long floaty feathers and mountains that looked like no one could ever climb them, completely covered in vegetation. We were already very high above sea level but the land there was so flat with these huge unusual shaped mountains that looked like they had simply erupted where they stood, in some case almost vertical sides. Everything was so green and lush and the areas of flat land had been turned into rice paddies with winding roads in-between them. In the morning after the rain all you could hear was the singing of the locusts and male frogs. As we travelled down river every now and then hitting a rapid or a point where the river dipped I would hold my camera over my head hoping not to fall in as our raft went underwater for a moment. We got to the end of our trip down river and got out where our bikes had been moved to meet us, then continued to cycle up the road towards the crescent moon mountain. Along the way women would run after us or cycle next to us trying to sell things. Once we got to the mountain again we tied up our bikes, rested for a moment and then began the climb. It was a climb through thick bamboo forests with beautiful old stone steps that took you to the top. Once we hit the peak we stood underneath the crescent moon where water droplets fell on my head and swallows dived. I could see so much below, how far I had climbed and the many, many mountains in the distance. The air still remained misty but the temperature had risen.