We were not supposed to be there, but that’s the exciting thing about travel- flexibility is a must when rollin this lady!
Yangshuo is located in Guangxi Province and is known for its breathtaking natural wonders. Its most notable attraction is its prominent karst mountains that are intertwined with the life of the locals living there. The Li River gracefully winds through their lands, adding to its magnificence and charm. Yangshou is a place for nature lovers. Hiking, biking, rafting, and rock climbing are some activities that one may find here. The small town itself is bustling with life- and tourists, but there are many ways to get lost on the outskirts in the vast nature and feel like you are the only one there.
Today marks the 46th day of the citywide lockdown in Shanghai as the government continues their impossible quest for 'Zero COVID-19' in China. Like many foreigners, I have lived in Shanghai for a considerable amount of time and life here has often felt like a wonderful dream. Over the past two years this dream has now turned into a nightmare. And because there seems to be no end in sight, many of us are leaving or have plans to leave our dream home.
As I impatiently and anxiously await my Exit, I have been reflecting on the many places that I have visited in this vast and diverse country. Many of these experiences have been documented in my blog, while others have yet to be shared. Now that I have more time on my hands, I have challenged myself to share all the places that I have visited in China- before my Exit.
You can think of it as unfinished business.
The famous Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan, China, is one of the most recommended destinations to visit in this province. Legend says that a tiger jumped across the Jinsha River at its narrowest point to escape a hunter, which is where the gorge got its name. Tourists enjoy views of the canyon at a viewing platform, and standing there, one can behold the magnificent power of the roaring Jinsha River. There is, however, another “viewing platform”, one that is more majestic and natural and can only be viewed by trekking for a few hours or two days…
As I begin to think of Shaxi, I get this dreamy, peaceful feeling- a feeling that is ever-present in this once-bustling trade stop. What is left now is a sleepy town that has begun to wake up, from a slumber that has somehow managed to offer us a well-preserved glimpse of Old China.
Between the cities of Dali and Lijiang, lies Shaxi, an ancient town in a sunny, serene valley. Shaxi was once an important point along the Ancient Tea Horse trade route, but when this trade began to lose existence, so did the significance of this town. Shaxi Ancient town has been a forgotten town for many years, up until recently. It has now been slowly becoming a place of interest for travelers like us, who are willing to go the extra mile for more genuine and gem-like experiences.
Travel “Before Corona” seems like a world away. Travel, that is, to other countries- at least for me, and Siargao was the last place I’d visited outside of China. A beautiful, unspoiled Philippine island that I’d dreamed of visiting, and then in February 2020 finally did so with my sister and friend.
It was the first in a very long time that I’d traveled with company other than my boyfriend. And us girls had a fantastic time on the teardrop-shaped island of Siargao (even though the coronavirus outbreak had begun in China). Early on in our trip, we underestimated COVID’s impending worldwide catastrophe, but as the days went by, and we frolicked on the beach, hopped the waves, and basked in the surfer vibes that Siargao so generously bestows upon its visitors, it became evident that something big in the world was happening. And our sunny days gradually became overshadowed by concern and confusion. When I think of our trip to Siargao, it seems somewhat of a blur until I look at pictures from our time there. They bring back pleasant memories of our vacation almost lost.
Sighs, a moment of silence for the times when we freely traversed our Earth.
As much as I had tried to stay positive, 2020 sucked! But I will continue to count my small blessings of being "stuck" in China that I have gratefully counted along the way. One being that we have had the opportunity to visit places within this vast country, never considered before.
2020- "A chance to be still", I said to myself. I had been wanting this for some time and up until this year, it had been difficult to make it happen. Why you may ask? Because outside travel is essential to survival inside. Living in a city like Shanghai has its upsides, but there are also many hard factors that we have to “deal” with, so quick escapes to neighboring countries usually act as quick fixes to our woes. But this year- post COVID-19, life, has, like many, hardly allowed us to venture out.
Somewhere in Indonesia, is a place called Sumba.
Called the forgotten island by some.
…And a Frenchman ;)
But, let's skip to the talk about the trip to France itself!