6. May 2009 13:28
The diversity of China is truly incredible when one travels beyond the metropolis of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. To learn about China’s 3,000 year old history, see the cultural diversity and think about how far China has advanced in the last 20 years is extraordinary. There is much to see and learn in China... Traveling in China allows experiences such as drinking tea with nomads, taking part in Tibetan dances with the locals, visiting grottoes that survived the Cultural Revolution, visiting the Great Wall - one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval Minds - and visiting diverse minority groups that still thrive on ancient traditions. The colorful powerhouse is home to nearly 60 minority groups that still thrive in pockets of China, half these groups living in the lush mountainous Yunnan region. In the Yunnan, we were able to observe villagers living the same way their ancestors did, building houses the way their parents did, and constructing crafts passed down from generation to generation. Here we stayed in the quaint villages of Shangri-la and Lijiang and lollygaged around the cobblestone streets at night. Red silk lanterns set the mood for local cuisine of yak momos and "crossing the bridge" noodle soup, both delicious. In the Qinghai province, the area of the Tibetan grasslands, we visited Tibetan nomads living in the grasslands for the summer and discussed their transient lifestyle and animal husbandry. Making stops along the ancient Silk Road allowed us to envision the European traders sharing their goods, skills and spiritual beliefs. Visiting ancient and highly revered Buddhist grottoes and murals that survived the Cultural Revolution, as the only tourist around, created an authentic understanding. Western China is a true cultural experience and a far off the beaten path place.