And We’re Off!!

Time to leave China — we are flying out of Shanghai in a few hours. Cara is going back home to Brisbane while I am off to the Land of Smiles….Thailand once again. For reasons unknown, I have decided to delay my flight back to Oz and spend a couple relaxing weeks in the islands. Worries aside, my ticket is already bought so I’m going to suffer in silence and lie on the beach….I promise…..no complaining!!!

I think Cara and I both have mixed feelings about China. It took us a little while to get adjusted, especially with the gloomy weather we encountered for most of the trip. As a pair, we had a wonderful time and certainly had our fill of interesting experiences. Cara is a travel buddy that I would take with me anywhere!! I know we both loved the Yunnan area and would like to return at some point to travel further north into the mountainous areas. Traveling during the low season was also especially nice as we came across plenty of lower prices and travel deals.

As many of you know, I tend to be rather outspoken and, on more than one occasion, I had to bite my tongue from making a comment or asking an out-of-line question about a taboo topic. I at least wanted to have some in depth conversations about the Chinese government and history with some of the locals. Many stories, passed on to us from other travelers, were interesting to say the least and Cara and I had our own fill of serious conversations with one another. For instance, since Taipei is claimed as the capital of Taiwan in the Lonely Planet, these books have been confiscated by customs at several Chinese border crossings. Interesting but no big deal. The government isn’t happy with what they say is an “untrue claim” as China would like to think that Beijing is the capital of ALL it’s land. Furthermore, I have HUGE problems with the Chinese occupation of Tibet…..or what use to be Tibet. Now Tibet is not longer it’s own free country but a playground for genocide and religious prosecution. Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama, has been living in exile in India for the past fifty years while the Pachen Lama is being held prisoner in mainland China. Many truly horrible and inhumane things happened during the Chinese invasion, too bloody to mention here on a happy blog but it’s worth investigating if you have any interest. In current times, Tibetan monks and nuns are not allowed to follow their religious beliefs (or even speak about it) and are often arrested, beaten or killed for practicing their faith. Sadly, Tibetans are now the minority in their own country as hundreds of thousands of Chinese have moved in and taken over their jobs, land, language, culture, and former way of life. I realize that this happens all over the world and is, in many cases, on a much grander scale. However, I’m very fond of Tibetans as they are some of the most kind and compassionate individuals that I’ve ever met and I am truly intrigued by their religion and history. I don’t mean to go on a rant here but what bothers me is that most Chinese locals see Tibet as just another stepping stone, just another piece of land that they now occupy and just another gold star for their flag. Now that they have control of Tibet and Hong Kong is out of the way, they are intent on settling the score with Taiwan……it really makes me angry and is one of the reasons that I didn’t choose to travel into Tibet at this time. I think I would be too emotionally involved and would be outright furious at the public displays of poor treatment of the Tibetans. I will get there eventually but I’d like to have some extra time to really see the “country” rather than just skip through it in a week’s holiday.

I could go on and on about my frustrations, another one being that the government completely disregards any acknowledgement of the Tienanmen Square incident in 1989 and this mass murder is NOT spoken about anywhere. But…..I suppose all governments have their problems and I’m one to talk, Miss USA!!!! After all, this is why we travel, in order to get more than a bird’s eye view of the world, cultures, and societies. It’s not all roses and flowers is it???

Back to our Shanghai departure. I’m kind of excited about our flight. I’m sad to admit that I actually like airplane food for some odd reason.And we get to watch free movies for the entire flight on the fun little monitors that are built into the seat backs in front of us. Did I mention that Singapore Air serves all the free drinks that your little heart desires???? Next time you hear from me, I’ll be writing from the sunny skies of Thailand. I think this will be the fourth or possibly fifth time that I’ve entered the country. I hope they don’t have a limit………


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