Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On The Top of the World!

I don't have much time but had to update that I am currently sitting in Lhasa, Tibet!!! And it is amazing!!!

The trip so far has been wonderful: stayed with my friends and experienced local culture to the max in the world's most landlocked city of Urumqi, roamed around ancient desert ruins in the old city of Jiaohe, ate grapes from the vine in the 2nd lowest city in the world of Turpan, climbed around clay colored desert mountains in the Turpan basin, watched the sun set and rise over the sandy dunes where I CAMPED with three great Spanish girls in the Taklamakan Desert...surrounded on all sides by nothing but sand and sand and sand and heard nothing but the sound of the wind sweeping across the dunes, shopped in the old market in the oasis city of Kashgar on the Silk Road...

Then took the 24 hour train up up up into the Tibetan Plateau and watched shepherds herd sheep and yaks along the bright green grasslands edged with magnificent ice capped mountains and turquoise blue lakes. Now in Lhasa, the world's highest city..already ate some yak meat and it truly is the rooftop of the world...the sky seems so close that I could reach up and gather it in my looks like the mountains literally support the sky and i've never seen clouds so stunning.

The altitude is messing with us only a little so far...we feel a little blurry...but other than that it's ok. My tour companions are kindred spirits, we have a French guy, and Italian/British woman, a Japanese woman, a Chinese Canadian, and me. Quite an international group. Traveling alone has emboldened me and I've made some really fun friends along the road...the night before the train I was out until 1:30 with the Tibetan owner of the company we used for our tour agency and his friends. I'm thrilled and having the time of my life!

I'll post pictures and describe the places and people when I have time...but for now just had to say that I am actually's real, it happened, and I still can barely believe it! Love to you all!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

...and then there was...?

Tomorrow is my last day in Wuhan. I was delayed on my grand exit by a prolonged visa renewal process, but I've moved out of my lovely apartment on the 20th floor and am slumming with my great friend Bonnie (in her lovely apartment on the 15th floor) for a few days until I leave. Then I am embarking on a 2 month excursion covering: Xinjiang, a province in northwest China; Tibet, a province is western China (with the trip including a stop at MOUNT EVEREST BASE CAMP!!!); Nepal; Germany; and anywhere in/near Europe with cheap flights.

I am most looking forward to spending time with the people who will join me along the way. Xinjiang is the home to two of my closest friends in China, Yultuz and Kunduz, and I can't wait to discover their hometown with them. Then, in Germany, I will be living with my sister and her husband. I haven't seen them since before they were married and desperately miss my big sister. I can't wait to reconnect and travel together!

I'll try to update when I can, otherwise, I'll post excerpts from my travel journal COMPLETE with pictures when I return to the States in October. Also, if you feel like checking back then, I'll be able to update all my previous posts with their appropriate photos as well!

And after that? Who knows! I'll update once I know for sure what I'm doing, but after many twisting paths, it looks like I MIGHT be moving to India to work for about 7 months before returning to the States for grad school. Nothing is set yet, and my plans seem to have changed a million times at this point, but I'll be sure to update when I know more. See you again from the open road!!