Wednesday 11 January 2012

Across the cafe table

The Travel Belles first across the cafe table question of 2012: Where do you most want to go in 2012 but haven’t been yet? was a really easy one for me. I'm not sure if it's cheating to choose a place I already have plans to visit, but I'm going to go with this one anyway. Where do I most want to visit:

In August 2008 I took a big step away from home and moved to China. I spent my final year of university reading testimonials from the British Council China language assistants programme and getting lost in imagining myself living an exciting life in China. I left uni focused on one thing; moving to China. I completed my CELTA course and managed to land a job teaching English as a Foreign language near my home in Essex. But I was always planning to leave. I became pretty fascinated with China. I read my Lonely Planet guide over and over, I read Wild Swans, to the edge of the sky, Snow Flower and the secret fan and every book by Xinran that I could. I was hooked on China. In my interview for the assistants programme I was asked 'China is a politically sensitive country. What topics should you avoid talking about in Class?' 
 Chairman Mao, Taiwan and Tibet.
Hmm, Tibet. Is it part of China? Is it an independent region? Will the Dalai Lama ever return from Exile to Lhasa? How much cultural genocide has the PRC committed to Traditional Tibetan traditions? and so my interest in this country widened.
Once I arrived in China, talk often turned to Tibet. It's off-limits, it's impossible to get to, you need a guide, you have to take a tour, monks on Putuoshan island were begging for Alms 'For Tibet'. When we stayed in Chengdu our hostel had posters all over about tours to Tibet, the safest way in. I read about the 'rooftop of the world' taking a train through the highest railway in the world. Simply having laid train tracks so high up was a feat of engineering. Apparently electronic gadgets turn a little strange as the train climbs further and further up into the mountains, carriages are equipped with oxygen and the toilet water has to be heated so it doesn't freeze due to the altitude.
I want to see what's left of Tibet, to visit Lhasa, stand in temple courtyard surrounded by colourful prayer flags, stare in awe at the stunning blue blue skies, across the empty plains and out over the biggest and tallest mountain ranges in the world, and hopefully my travel wish will finally come true in 2012!
Best Blogger Tips

Blogger Tips - Get This Gadget


  1. Tibet is intriguing to me as well, especially the prayer flags and the unique cuisine. :-)

  2. I think it's still so unknown and quite possibly disappearing rapidly. Can't wait to see it!

  3. Hi Ruthie,Wow - a great place to aspire to go in 2012! Your life sounds very exciting. Look forward to hearing more! Thanks for playing with us!