Guangxi / Guizhou China – Places

Last post was all about People from my recent trip in Southern China.  This one is pics about places.

There have only been a couple times in my life where I was somewhere and had the feeling that if I never left that would be ok.  The area around Guilin in Guangxi in southern China is one of the places.  For me – the karst landscape is unendingly beautiful.  I could look at it forever and never get bored.  I’m fascinated by the weird shapes of the mountains and the natural beauty of the area.  On top of that, the people are great and the weather suits me!  😀

I was fortunate many years ago to visit it for the first time but only for 2 days.  This time, my husband planned a trip that allowed us almost a week in the area so we could soak up as much scenery as possible.  It still is my favorite place, but we also visited many other beautiful spots on this trip.  Rice terraces, mountain villages, big cities and more.  It was a visual treat each day.  Here’s some pics, hope you enjoy and next blog we’ll get back to art!

 

Guangxi / Guizhou China – People

Been a quiet the past couple of months here on the blog, but for good reason.  In April, took a trip to southern China and it’s taken a bit to catch up.

The areas we visited were the Guangxi autonomous region near Guilin and eastern / central parts of the province of Guizhou.  We were amazingly fortunate and had great guides to help us many places but most of all had the wonderful experience of meeting many many local people.

We met people from 5 different ethnic minorities often living in very remote areas.  We were invited into many homes and got to see their way of life.  Even more luck – several times we were invited to stay for meals!  Everyone treated us so well and not just the folks visited, but everyone around towns, in cities, everyone.  The people of China in our experiences are so amazingly wonderful, so warm, so helpful.

I’ve started learning Mandarin and though that wasn’t the dialect spoken many places we went – folks I was trying to communicate with were super great and helped me along.  We had a lot of fun with shop owners – one in particular who put me in a few traditional dresses and then wanted to take my picture. 😀 And a couple of ladies who were super tickled to help my husband find a shirt one evening.  All sans English, all super fun experiences with smiles and laughing from all parties.

I could write a novel about how much I love the people there, but still feel like that wouldn’t be enough.  I’m eternally grateful for the experience of having gone and am very thankful for my husband opening this door for me in the first place many years ago.  Hope very much someday to return to this ever fascinating place.

Here’s some pics of people on our trip.  Next blog, pics of places, after that, back to art!! 😀

 

Travel is good for the brain (or at least my brain!) – part 1, China

Have you ever not realized how much your brain needed something to shake it up?  I’d not realized how in need my brain was of something completely different till recently when we went on a big trip.

I’m not good at being “in the moment”, my brain is always moving, usually bouncing around future and past thoughts more than present thoughts.  It is hard to not think of things elsewhere from where you are, whether it is a worry, a project, a conversation you recall out of nowhere.

We took a trip this spring that I was looking forward to (we’d been planning it for 2 years) but didn’t realize how much it would impact me.  We were to visit China (Beijing, Guilin & Shanghai), the husband had lived there in his 20s and wanted me to experience it a bit, and after China a stop in Kyoto Japan (my choice due to a long love of most things Japanese) for cherry blossom season.

China was our first stop.  I knew Facebook was banned there, but forgot about Google being banned – and thus my email, which is a gmail account.  Immediately, I had no contact with anyone back home and decided to take that opportunity and run with it by not going online to read daily North American news.  It was a complete disconnect from all things tech and news from everything at home – which was wonderful.

Not that I had the time for tech and news anyways!  I was blown away by China.  Beijing and Shanghai were wonderfully fascinating places to visit.  We saw some amazing sights (the Great Wall, Hutongs in Bejing, the Marriage Market and Propaganda Museum in Shanghai) and learned so many interesting bits about life from various guides.  But my new love on this planet is the Guilin area of China.

I’d long wanted to see the mountains around the Li river and we spent several glorious days there with a suburb guide.  We climbed up peaks in the dark to watch the sun rise over the mountains, we rode on small rafts on the river surrounded by gorgeous vistas, went to ancient villages and met the most amazing people who let us take their photos and told us about their lives.  I can’t even being to describe without writing a novel how many things I learned, how much I cherish the experiences we had, how wonderful and warm the people were.  My brain never once thought about anything back home (except checking in on the beloved dog) the entire time we were here – every day was simply amazing.  I hope with all the hope in my body that I get to return to the Guilin area one day.

We had a week+ in China and on our plane ride to Japan both remarked how wonderful it had been and that we could have happily gone home at that point and counted it as the best trip ever.  But we got one other week in Japan which was spent in Kyoto – I’ll share more about that with you in the next blog post.

So I’m home now, with a rested brain that is humming with Chinese and Japanese inspired ideas.  🙂 It will be fun to see what all comes out of it (kind of want to try and learn some basic Mandarin now).  The 2 weeks of being so stimulated with everything new and interesting that it didn’t allow my brain to be anything other than “in the moment” has sort of held.  I’m doing much better at being in the now and looking forward to the rest of the year in a much more relaxed mode.  Think my brain was really in the need of learning and seeing some new exciting completely different bits.  Before this entry gets any longer, will end with a bunch of favorite photos from the China portion of the trip, and a wish that you too get to experience a brain shake up (in a good way) soon.  🙂