When I first arrived in Dali ancient town, Yunnan province, Southwest China, it was generally quite a quiet place. There were many Chinese tourists but relatively few foreigners. Days were spent lounging around sipping Dali beer, chatting with the friendly locals in the sunshine. If one wanted to explore there were always cheap bikes for rent which you could take down to ErHai lake, or you could head up to the mountain. I remember one of the first sights I saw after I had arrived, was a local policeman walking down the road, a flower in his hand instead of the usual clipboard. It was a kind of paradise, seemingly untouched by the heavy hand of the Chinese authorities.
That was in early 2008 Read more [...] Read More
Having travelled a lot in China, when I stepped off the plane in to India, I had a vague idea of what to expect. Unofficial taxi drivers crowding around intimidated foreigners, dirt and dust and car horns. Having arranged to meet my friend at the airport I knew that I would be able to avoid most of this. Maybe he would come in a taxi to meet me, maybe he would somehow arrange a private car, but what I didn't expect as he beckoned me past the
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In 2009 after a good friend of ours in England sadly passed away, I decided to go and visit my friend who was living and teaching English in Xichang, Sichuan Province. I hardly knew anything about the place, except for my friends descriptions of it being completely different to Beijing and a lot more lawless and wild. So, the next day I packed my bag with a few clothes, my passport and phone charger and headed down to Beijing West train station to buy a ticket and get on the next train down Xichang.
After about 20 minutes of trying to explain to an attendant that I was trying to get to 'Xichang' and that I wasn't just pronouncing the word 'Sichuan' in a funny way, he led me through a door and down in to the depths of the station. Beijing West is an absolutely huge station and after about 3 minutes of walking down semi-lit small corridors I realized that this place was not the normal place where people would go Read more [...] Read More
Here I am preparing to set out again from my comfy sofa in Wales off in to the wild.
It seems that what i should be doing is running around checking documents, tickets, travel insurance etc, but I am not doing any of these things. As a matter of fact I feel strangely calm. There is a hint of excitement of course, however, I guess that I am yet to be in its full grip. That will probably only happen once I have arrived at the airport.
My first stop will be New Delhi. As I have never been Read more [...] Read More