Last Film Pickup

Yesterday, I picked up what may be my last rolls of developed film.  I have to say, there’s definitely something to the delayed gratification of seeing your photos for the first time as prints in your hand. A couple things I hope to still do when I convert to pure digital: Compose the shot right the first time.  I realized, with my digital point & shoot, I would take 20 photos to try to capture a picture (instead of 2 or 3) just because I could.  To some extent, that’s the benefit of digital…  But I think if I’m not careful, I’ll just get sloppy. Printing photos.  I love …


Yangshuo is labeled “sleepy little backpackers’ town” with “views that have inspired Chinese artists for centuries.”  While the scenery is breathtaking, the pollution is killer and the town has lost a lot of its quaintness in its mad dash to commercialize.  The highlight of the weekend was an early kayak trip down the Lijiang river Saturday morning.  We got dropped off upstream and paddled for about 3 hours.  We had no guide, the morning was fresh, and there were very few tourists out – just fishermen and locals.   note:  pictures were “depollutionized” in photoshop   karen kayaking   view on the …

Off to Yangshuo

Had a great week wandering around Beijing. Saw Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and yesterday, the Great Wall (which was my favorite). Off today to Yangshuo for the weekend. Backposts soon!

The Great Wall at Simatai

After the hoards of folks at the Summer Palace & the Forbidden City, I was concerned about tour groups and a mob scene at the wall.  I decided to try Simatai, as it was supposed to be one of the less “restored” public portions of the Great Wall. I got lucky – the Great Wall at Simatai was beautiful and empty. It took about 3 hours to get out there, which is past the travel time tolerance of most tour groups.  This meant that Thursday morning, there were probably only 50 other folks out on the wall total.  It took me about two …

Summer Palace

After finding local bus 375, I was on my way to the Summer Palace — which it turns out is several hours out of the city.  My favorite part of the Summer Palace was “Longevity Hill,” which I wandered around first.  It was incredibly pleasant, climbing over rocks and having small temples and pagodas around each corner.  I sat and finished Kite Runner; there were 3 women playing a card game just over the way from me. card games   temple in longevity hill   famous summer palace bridge   lions on the summer palace bridge     in the distance

Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City

I tried to get up early in order to “beat the crowds” at Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City.  My efforts were in vain.  🙂  The tour groups were already out in full force. Like much of Beijing pre-Olympics, the main two halls were undergoing renovation. They did, however, provide a nice mural of what I should have seen. Hands down, my favorite part of the Forbidden City were the side halls.  These were not crowded, often passed over by the tour groups (which meant no matching hats & no microphones).  In some of the ornately decorated nooks, it was just me wandering around.   …

Terracotta Soldiers

Went to Xi’an & saw the Terracotta Soldiers.  Also, had a most pleasant time wandering around the muslim quarter, eating street food & seeing their very small, very beautiful mosque. The soldiers were beautiful and timeless. 

SLR Sadness

My SLR is dead.  🙁  It’s been on the fritz the last few weeks, but last night it refused to respond the shutter button at all. I have to say I’m really sad.  It was my first SLR, and I’ve traveled to a lot of places with it.  And I was really excited about shooting pictures of China with it. Hopefully the film that I’ve already taken will turn out. Looks like I’ll be going completely digital when I get back to the States…  

Waiting at KLI

It’s about 10:30pm & I’m waiting in Kuala Lumpur International Airport for my 12:30am (6 hour) redeye to Beijing. To my amazement, they actually offer FREE WiFi in the terminals (!). Anyways, will be back loading some photos & stories from the last few days in Malaysia soon. But just want to report that I am VERY sore from my climb to the 4095m summit of Mt. Kinabalu….which was absolutely breathtaking.