Monday, October 01, 2007

friends and mountains

I normally try to flag up Sam's posts, scribed between meals as he eats his way around Asia, but I've just realised I've missed a few, and done him a disservice, as they're fascinating. Here's a couple of short extracts, then, and links to the blog posts.

In Dali
"Yesterday we cycled through the local rice fields. Despite having spent some time now in fairly remote parts of the country, this was the first time that I really felt like I was seeing Chinese farming life for real, unchanged for hundreds if not thousands of years. These are the real poor, people left behind in the great push for modernisation. Most don't even own a motor vehicle for taking their rice back to the communal farming communes, instead pulling traditional carts by hand."

"The start of the climb gave some forewarning of the challenge to come. Within minutes we were both struggling hard with the barely discernible trail, which struck upwards at such an oblique angle that we were reduced to scrambling on our hands and knees at almost every step. The going eased a little after an hour or so, giving us false hope as the path then sprang up even more steeply than before, emerging through dense bamboo scrub into bleak rock-face, traversing an escarpment, dropping hundreds of meters to either side. I could easily have imagined myself in the highlands of Scotland, were it not for every breath reminding me that we were at altitude far exceeding anything on the British isles.

The day had stared with wisps of cloud, but rather than abating as hoped, the mist drew in closer, until visibility had dropped to 50 meters at most. Nevertheless, the penultimate marker before the summit, we stopped to share a sandwich, and debated our course of action. Each of us held just too much pride to make the decision to return, although each of us would have quickly accepted the decision had the other taken it. Therefore we pressed on despite the inclement weather."

Come home soon, Sam.

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