From the archives of my other blog, FOREIGN EXPERTISE, I’ve picked out some of my favorite photos from the major trips I took from 2010 to Fall 2011. Full posts and details on the trips can be found on the blog.
In August 2010, my former girlfriend, Layla, and I went to west China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. I did research on the province in college and wanted to see the region firsthand. I also needed a desperate vacation away from Beijing and you can’t get much farther than the mountains and deserts of the west without leaving China.
Xinjiang is an extremely politically charged region. The non-Han Chinese Uighurs, a Turkic people, are less than enthusiastic about their CCP overseers. Violent protests broke out the summer before and after my visit. My summer visit was peaceful, if a bit hot.
Over two weeks, we visited Urumqi, Tianchi Lake, Turpan, Kashgar, Karakul Lake and the Taklamakan Desert.
SHANGHAI WORLD EXPO
The World Expo 2011 in Shanghai was essentially like standing around for two days in a massive, living queue. People were everywhere. The wait times for most pavilions was about three hours — the Saudi pavilion had people standing around for eight.
In January 2011, I went to Harbin, China’s Heilongjiang province, for the annual ice festival. To say it was cold is an understatement — I’d never felt temperatures that low in my life. At a few dozen degrees below Celsius my nose hairs froze and camera battery drained after two or three shots. At one point, my eye froze shut. But the ice sculptures and ice structures were worth the frigid temperatures.
Massive castles and pagodas stood majestically among the plains of snow around Harbin. There was even a two storey bottle of Harbin beer made of ice.
For two weeks in May 2011 I wandered southwest China’s Yunnan province. From the capital of Kunming to the jungles of Jinghong, the great Tiger Leaping Gorge near Lijiang, Shangri-la on the Tibetan Plateau and then peaceful, pleasant Dali I enjoyed the diversity of Yunnan. I also shot 1,500 photos. I dined on some of the best food I’ve had since coming to China and enjoyed the minority cultures in each region of the province.