> Visit the China Photo Gallery at SKJphotography
>Visit China essays at Shara Sinor
>Articles and Interviews about China by SKJ
"Forbidden City - Beijing, China" at Tourist Guide Central
"Travel China: Shara Johnson of SKJ Travel" an interview on traveling in China at TraveLinkSites
I traveled to China in order to participate in a volunteer project documenting the daily life and non-material traditions of a rural peasant village in Shaanxi Province. I spent two additional weeks sightseeing in Beijing and Xian. These posts were originally sent as off-the-cuff "this is what I did today" emails to a mail-list, and therefore extremely informal in nature. I'm working on updating, re-organizing and formalizing them, adding lots of photos, for the blog here. A slow process. Posts with a photo next to them are ones which have been updated. See more posts in China II.
China Welcomes Me Wherein:
I arrive in Beijing by myself, settle into my hostel, and take a six-mile hike along the Great Wall and romp around the Summer Palace.
Romping the Summer Palace Wherein:
I test my skills navigating Beijing on my own and spend a day cavorting around the splendid grounds of the Summer Palace.
I manage to find the Lama Temple after a lovely, if unintentional, detour, and have a beautiful experience.
Traipsing Through the Forbidden City - No Map, No Matter! Wherein:
I trek around the Forbidden City without a map of any kind, making for fun adventure. Then find a beautiful park near Tiananmen Square.
Exploring Lesser Known Beijing: Prince Gong & Mdme Soong; plus the Temple of Heaven Wherein:
I get off the beaten track to see the lovely sights at Prince Gong's Mansion, learn some history Soong Ching Ling's residence, and find quietude at the Museum of Chinese Architecture. Wrapped up with a musical joy at the Temple of Heaven.
Xi'An Xi'Ho: Fun with Stone Steles and Giant Cooking Contraptions Wherein:
I take the train to Xi'an where I wander the alleys and souvenir strips, meander past swamps and sidewalk food vendors, and check out the Forest of Stone Steles museum.
I spend more time exploring the city of Xian and cross off the top thing on my travel "to-do" list: see the Qin Terra Cotta Warriors!
Huashan to Yulin: I see the scenery; I am the scenery Wherein:
I spend a day at the spectacular holy Taoist mountain, Huashan, then arrive in Yulin City and meet my volunteer research team, where we are treated as dignitaries by the local government officials.
Village Life Wherein:
I arrive in the Dang Jia Shan village and meet the villagers. This is the reason I came to China, to witness and document the daily lives and traditions in this tiny rural village. Everything about my experience far exceeded any expectations I had.
Winding Down Wherein:
I recount some of the special moments in the village such as watching a traveling blind musician play and having the villagers put on a mock wedding for us so we could learn about their marital traditions.
Waning Moments in Beijing - Fragrant Hills and Flower Tea Wherein:
I return to Beijing for a few days to wind down, visit the Fragrant Hills, getting horrifically ill, then bounce back with flower tea.
Postscript Supplied by Erik Wherein:
A letter I posted to Erik was relayed by him to my mail-list, talking more about my time in Dang Jia Shan, Jiaxian City and Yulin City.