I have magical timing

Posted: February 2, 2008 in Uncategorized


My arrival in Beijing coincided perfectly with the Winter Break/Spring Festival, which centers around Chinese New Year and Christmas (for them, at least — there seems to be some confusion here as to what day Jesus Christ was born).  This means that roughly one-third of the country is on the move, going back home to see family or (in many cases, especially students) migrating to other areas to work for their break.  Combine this with the worst winter China’s ever seen (costing them $4.5 billion and counting), and 40 million people are stranded at train stations and airports across the country.  The result — I can’t get anywhere in this country.  They literally laughed at me when I tried to book a 3-stop ticket, going from Datong to Xi’an and then south to Kunming (where it’s easy to cross a land border into Thailand or Laos).  You really DO NOT want to get stuck in Datong or Xi’an; Datong has some awesome stuff to see, but it’s a major coal mining town, so the air is literally soot (instead of mostly soot, like here in Beijing), and Xi’an is cool, but it’s in the middle of the country, where the worst weather is hitting right now.  So, I’ve just kinda been chilling in Beijing… not that I mind being stuck in the cultural mecca of China at all, just that there’s no way to get anywhere else.

It’s time to move.  I can’t see any more of China right now (at least not without a HUGE headache), so I’m flying into Hanoi on Thursday.  But guess what’s in Vietnam right now?  Oh yeah, that’s right — Tet Holiday.  I’m a destination genius, no?

Anyway, it’s a balmy 57 degrees and raining in Hanoi right now, which is downright sweltering compared to Beijings 15-30 degree action… southward ho!


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