Where In The World Is Evan?

Trekking to Everest

Posted by Evan on Monday, 22 August 2005 at 3:01 pm

After spending a couple of days hanging out in Lhasa and seeing the sights Sergio, Jacek and I hired a tent and hopped on a bus to Shigatse–the second largest city in Tibet–on our way to Mt. Qomolangma (i.e. Mt. Everest).

Shigatse is by far the worst city that I have been to in China. Despite its relative size the streets remained almost constantly empty, giving the city the feel of a ghost town. In the middle of the afternoon when we arrived most shops were inexplicably closed and rubbish lay strewn along the roads and footpaths. Despite the Lonely Planet asserting that prices across Tibet decreased outside of Lhasa, both food and accommodation in Shigatse were more expensive and of a significantly lower quality. Requiring some additional equipment we found the only sizable trekking goods store in town. As I perused their selection of compasses it occurred to me that of the eight they had on display only three pointed in vaguely the same direction–the other five choosing their own unique perspective on north. What amused me most about this situation is the stupidity involved in placing such defective compasses next to each other, thus highlighting their worthless made-in-China quality.
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Lhasa; Tibet? China?

Posted by Evan on Monday, 8 August 2005 at 2:15 pm

Since the liberation of Tibet, and the consequential exile of the Dali Lama, Tibet has been the focus of an extensive redevelopment plan by the Chinese government. On the one hand they have built much needed road networks, schools, hospitals, and a variety of other important infrastructure. On the other hand they have stomped all over the indigenous people, their culture, and their religion.

In many ways Tibet is still a police state. There are soldiers and police roaming the streets, and on guard at all of the major Buddhist sites–particularly Potala Palace, the former home of the Dali Lama.

Like Xinjiang, the largest province in China, Tibet was conquered by the Han Chinese during the Qing Dynasty. Subsequently the Chinese have encountered difficulties in maintaining political control and obedience to the Party in these culturally alien, and physically remote places. Since the time of Mao, however, the Party has maintained a deliberate policy of ethnic Han resettlement from the east coast into the western provinces. This means that the majority of people living in the cities of Tibet and Xinjiang are ethnic Chinese, and not the indigenous Tibetans or Uyghurs. In fact my ex-girlfriend, Li Dong Dong, is the child of Han settlers living in Xinjiang–they took a government incentive package to move there from Shandong province before she was born.
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Posted by Evan on Friday, 22 July 2005 at 11:53 am

What can I say… another belated entry backdated so the blog maintains it’s chronology.

After Tai’an I took an eight hour train, on a standing ticket, across Shandong province to the idyllic port city of Qingdao—famous for it’s German brewery, built when the city was a German concession.

Interesting architecture, fresh sea breeze, nice beaches, good seafood, and the best beer in China… what more could you ask for in a holiday destination?

When you can buy pints of brewery fresh, icy-cold beer on the beach for 4 kuai (AU$0.66) it’s no wonder that I had a nap and woke an hour later with terrible sunburn across my torso and upper arms :-(

Thankfully my hotel room had super efficient air-con, so I spent my last couple of days lying naked, flat on my back, rubbing moisturiser into my body, and smoking pot and popping aspirin to deal with the pain.

Check out the Qingdao photo gallery.

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Tai Shan

Posted by Evan on Tuesday, 19 July 2005 at 3:25 pm

Either I’m in much better physical shape than I thought–and visual observation might suggest–or the staff writers for Lonely Planet are fat, lazy slobs. What was pitched as a “minimum 8 hour return climb”, that “necessitates” a stay at an expensive hotel 2 hours from the top, turned out to be something quite different.

Planning to climb at night seemed like a brilliant move to avoid the crippling summer heat. Whilst it did achieved this aim, it did nothing for the intense humidity. After one hour of climbing by moonlight (I managed the whole climb without using my torch) I found myself sweating so badly that I was forced to climb bare-chested (for a man this is quite acceptable in China, surprisingly).
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Ni Hau

Posted by Evan on Monday, 18 July 2005 at 2:55 pm

I guess it’s about time I made an update for those of you who are still interested in my activities and whereabouts here in China.

At the end of June I finished my teaching contract in the city of Chengdu, and am now on two months of unpaid summer holidays. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks lounging about Chengdu, partying frequently, and saying goodbye to a time and place in my life where I was truly happy.

Presently I am in the city of Tai’an, in Shandong province, at the foot of Tai Shan–the holiest Taoist mountain in China–about to prepare for my solo night-time ascent of the mountain. On a clear day (which I’m not expecting) you can see over 200 km away, as the sun rises from the ocean!
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Saying Goodbye

Posted by Evan on Thursday, 14 July 2005 at 11:51 am

Last night was my goodbye party–to say farewell to my friends, and to the great city of Chengdu.

Around 8:00 pm Sergio and I headed down to “In Joy’s Bar”, a Chinese run Western style bar–the owner’s English name is Joy, and no doubt she’s quite pleased with herself for making such a bad pun. Starting off with a bottle of vodka we settled in for the evening as the latecomers trickled in throughout the night.

After finishing off the forth bottle of vodka, between about six of us, it seemed a natural progression to go dancing. In a delightful stroke of luck, Romain–Chloe’s boyfriend who had just arrived from France–discovered that he’d inadvertently smuggled six pills of e into China. He’d lost them a couple of weeks earlier in a small niche at the bottom of his bum-bag.
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ODd China

Posted by Evan on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 2:22 pm


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Dong Dong’s Departure

Posted by Evan on Saturday, 9 July 2005 at 11:50 am

As all good things must come to an end, very good things must come to an end sooner.

This morning Dong Dong and I said goodbye, as she returned to her home in Xinjiang province, about 40 hours away by train. Being the child of wealthy Han Chinese settlers her parents send her to Chengdu to study at university–Sichuan universities being considered superior to those in Xinjiang. Whilst the time we had together was brief, and we both knew this parting was imminent, it’s still quite sad to see her go. The language and cultural barriers between us meant that it was often hard to accurately convey our feelings, but nonetheless she was a constant delight to spend time with, and never ceased to make me laugh.
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Stuck in KTV

Posted by Evan on Sunday, 3 July 2005 at 11:49 am

Undoubtedly, one of the nicest effects of ecstasy is the incredibly heightened enjoyment of music.

As I discovered yesterday, however, this effect is not infallible.

After being dragged to KTV (Chinese karaoke) with Cathy, and in turn dragging Sergio along with me, I discovered that ecstasy does nothing for what is unreservedly a tragic musical experience.

Needless to say, I owe Sergio a big favor, and personally resolve to never again go to KTV–such a pointless waste of otherwise good drugs :-(

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Country: China

The Three Gorges

Posted by Evan on Sunday, 26 June 2005 at 11:48 am

As I’m never going to get around to writing up the week Jon and I spend cruising down the Yangzi River I’ll just direct you to Jon’s amusing, if disjointed, account of what happened.

Check out the Three Gorges photo gallery.

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