South-east Asia

Welcome to August. I hope you said “white rabbits” (for the unitiated, if you say it first thing in the morning of the first day of the month, it is supposed to bring you luck. Not sure if it works. Suck and see.)

The four month mark of my journey is approaching. Two-thirds of the sands are through the hour glass. These are the days of our lives.

I am off to Kunming, or I will be as soon as this train leaves. The “city of eternal spring” (i.e., it is high in the mountains and therefore cool, but far enough south to be tropical and therefore never cold). After the sweats in Chengdu I am rather looking forward to it.
They also say that Yunnan province (in which Kunming resides) is more like South-east Asia than China. And since I always thought/sketched/day-dreamed of being in South-east Asia in August, that makes me happy. How good it is to stick to a plan, even when that plan is essentially meaningless.

I met a couple of excellent Canadians in Chengdu. That is not unusual. In my experience Canadians are generally excellent people. Although your mileage may, of course, vary dramatically from mine.

They were a couple, this couple from Canada. It was interesting to meet them for lots of reasons, but the thing they made me think about most was travelling with someone else. Something of which, of course, I am unduly fearful.

It would be helpful, I can see, to have someone to bitch about China with, to share money and stamps and long bus rides and dinner with, and to talk to in the interminable waits that sometimes characterise traipsing about with a backpack. But I have always found it easy to find someone to do those things with when I wanted to, or if not I am happy with my own company.

The other side would be the joint planning, the going to the same places, the arrangements to meet, the agreements and disagreements about what to do. And that could get quite dispiriting.

Although it probably wouldn’t, because it would probably be like a joint adventure. Twice as much fun because it is shared. But it would be crucial to be able to do things separately from time to time.

I came to the conclusion a while ago that travelling with someone else would probably take away some of the highs of travelling alone (the amazing moment when you realise you have finally managed to reach some remote place or other), but also some of the lows (like when you realise you isn’t the place of your dreams, and you have to endure the nights by yourself in some insect-infested, damp, icky, overpriced hotel room).

I am not sure if that is true anymore. Maybe it is just that the lows and highs would be different lows and highs. Not sure. Maybe I should try it out and see. Travel is an experience good, after all.

The irony of this conversation is, of course, that I was supposed to be travelling with someone on this journey right now. But she could not come at the last minute. Well, six weeks before anyway. Perhaps all this just means that this will not be my last journey ever. There is still some stuff to find out.

Hmmm. Sarcasm never comes through well in text. Oh, the train is moving.

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