2006 Adventures

It is holiday time, yet it is not holiday time. I’ve been conditioned to believe that this is the time of year for truly becoming lazy and committing oneself to nothing but the couch, refrigerator and trips to cool places. My holidays don’t arrive until January 13th, and I don’t have a couch, nor do I have anything in my refrigerator, but I do have cool places to go.

The 2006 travel itinerary. Similar to the 2005 escapades in the sense that I’m running solo and heading to cold borderland frontiers.

First stop. Beijing. I’ve been putting off this tourist pilgrimage for a long, long time. Mainly because I’m absolutely terrified of Beijing. It’s a big, big Chinese city, full of people who speak Chinese. Urban navigation is a challenge relative to countryside exploration. Full of traps, and people eager to exploit especially when one is wearing one of those damn backpacks. If it were possible, I would travel without a pack, as the absence of a North Face behemoth definitely reduces one’s ‘newbie’ image.

The plan…in and out as fast as humanly possible. Great Wall, Forbidden Palace, Tiananmen, train station.

The main course: Harbin up in Heilongjiang. Old school Manchuria. The Ice Festival, cool Sino-Russo architecture, 731 biological weapons facility…and of course…Yabuli.

Out to the sticks. Changbaishan, on the Chinese North Korean border. This is about as close as a foreigner is going to get to North Korea on his/her own. Why would I go there? Why else? Changbaishan is visually amazing.

Then it is off to Xi’an and the Terracotta’s…the other “Great Wall” attraction in China. Same plan as Beijing…in and out as fast as possible.

The main event; Huashan. A vicious scraggly peak about 100km from Xi’an. about 2400m. If I have time, energy and money…actually, it is entirely depending on if I can even get there…I will try to take in Taibaishan…another crater lake mountain near Xi’an.

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