GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!
On any extended journey – a really long trip, several months or several thousand kilometres long – there always seems to be a trough in the middle. You’re far away enough from the beginning that the novelty’s worn out. You’re too far away from finishing for the end to be in sight. Every day is just another day of plodding through a mental and physical rut, and it seems that the only thing on the horizon is more horizon.
Along the Great Wall of China that trough has a name. It is Shaanxi.
To say that Shaanxi has not been our favourite province is . . . well, enough said. Or at least once we’ve finished with this post enough will have been said.
Oh! To be in Australia!
To be fair (not that we intend to), it wasn’t all Shaanxi’s fault. After putting up with winter in December and early January, we really didn’t need another six weeks of it. The BRRRR! factor when we checked the thermometer in the morning wasn’t impressive any more, it was just cold. Falling on our butts as we crossed icy rivers wasn’t that funny (except when Emma did it), it just hurt.
Not exactly Christopher Dean
But she does a passable Jane Torvill
Of course we could have taken consolation in the scenery. If there had been any. We love the desert as much as anyone, but after 1500 kilometres, is it too much to ask for a tree? One?
We meant one that was ALIVE!!
If it weren’t for the difference in texture between rammed earth and wind-blown dunes, we wouldn’t have known we were on the wall
OK, all right, the red bushes are pretty
Actually, it wasn’t all bad. It was lambing season, and “kidding” season, or whatever you call the season when baby goats are born; and the cute little guys were jumping, literally, all over the place.
You gotta be kidding me
The proud billy
Village life was often picturesque, despite the poverty, which was considerably worse than in other areas we’ve visited, and which we’ll write about in a more serious post down the road.
The tiny village of Cai Xiao Gou Cun. The slate on the rooftops is taken from an adjacent cliff.
Yulin, the largest city in northern Shaanxi, was one of the nicest cities we’ve visited, with vibrant street life and a beautiful old section of town.
A “pedestrian” mall in Yulin – for some reason it didn’t stop the traffic
A Yulin nut vendor
And, as always, whenever we got down (or needed an uplifting end to a whiny post), the children of China were there to lend a hand.
No wonder they’re hiding – the slogan on the wall says “Study to the best of your ability, over and over, every day”