The song,SLOW BOAT TO CHINA, is by way of an introduction to this blog and not a summary of it! The seeds were sown I suppose some fifty years or so ago. Our headmaster on wet dreary afternoons, when games had been cancelled, would tell us tales of when he lived in China. Whether as a result of, or because of, the Japanese invasion he did not tell. He mentioned Confucius and Marco Polo and a naval event on the Yangze River. He painted a mystical picture of a far off country. His stories faded into the recesses of the mind until two years ago. It was about this time that I read a number of articles about the silkroad and its passage into northwest china from central asia. Through this medium I also spoke to several people in that vast country and will shortly be meeting just two of them when I spend my annual holiday there.
I shall be travelling alone and on an intercontinental flight – Yes – the Laird’s 2009 holiday like Marco Polo before me, is to China, to be more precise, to the large metropolitan cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou. It will be for 2 weeks in the Orient – not the 25 years that the intrepid traveller Marco Polo took overland!
This year I have forsaken my coach tours of Italy and France and having sampled a short air journey last October and overcoming my preconceptions, of air miles, I have decided to travel a quarter the way around the world! ‘Muck or nettles’ as we say in Lancashire! Why? Because it is there!! It is also the second item in my original “Bucket List.” Seeking out new continents – going where I’ve never been before. Additionally, I am reliably informed, it will be pleasantly warm! Meeting a new culture will be challenging and give me an insight into the characters in an ongoing novel derived from the above mentioned articles. My arms have been well and truly jabbed with 6 or was it 8 vaccinations? Despite a part time bank clerk telling me to go home and check my previous months expenditure, which I did – I changed banks; I have my currency bought !! The visa is firmly attached to the passport and the list of items for the suitcase completed, and this coming Wednesday the journey begins with an overnight stay at Manchester International Airport. Then a 3 hour flight to Helsinki and following a 2 hour stop there, nine hours later I shall arrive in China on May 1st.
In the interim I leave you with a little music on your visits here
Bye blogger friends for the time being – I shall return !