In my day job, writing news stories for McClatchy, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel nearly everywhere in China. As I look at the map, I see I’ve been to every province and autonomous region except Guizhou. For beauty, little surpasses Guangxi with its fabulous karst limestone outcroppings. I loved the rugged beauty of inner Fujian province, where my grandparents lived for five years. I also have very much liked the outlying borders of China: the forested areas near Tumen (where North Korea, China and Russia meet), the anything goes feel of Ruili on the border with Myanmar, Manzhouli on the border with Russia. The Wolong panda preserve in Sichuan was a lot of fun to see.
I regret not making it to the Dunhuang caves in Gansu Province, and to Heaven Lake up in the mountains near Urumqi in far west Xinjiang.
Some of the greatest fun were the cultural and social stories. When I inquired of the Sichuan Culinary Society for the spiciest food in the province, the chief promptly invited me to a feast of the best known and hottest Sichuan dishes. When I was in Ningxia autonomous region, I heard that local Hui Muslims were in high demand as Arab translatorselsewhere in the country. That was interesting.
A personal highlight was making it up to Everest base camp. That made up for the numerous trips to Henan province, which seemed to invariably end up with my detention by local officials.
It sounds like it was the assignment of a lifetime. We will miss him, but I look forward to seeing his replacement take up the mantle. They have large shoes to fill! shiu shiu, Tim.
In the meantime, there is still Wang Daiyu’s Islam in China blog and Rebecca MacKinnon’s China-related posts at her blog. Also, Open Left is running a nice China travelogue called An American Griswold in China.