All good things come to an end, and that is true today for myself and China Rises. This blog is taking a rest. At some point in the near future, a new McClatchy correspondent will arrive in China and likely take over this blog – certainly with a different perspective than my own.
It’s been nearly three years since I started the China Rises blog, and my family is on its sixth year in China. English-language blogs on the Middle Kingdom have exploded in that time, and there’s a huge variety to read.
I thank those who’ve found China Rises interesting. I can see from the IP locations that people from all corners of the world have taken an interest.
In my day job, writing news stories for McClatchy, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel nearly everywhere in China. As I look at the map, I see I’ve been to every province and autonomous region except Guizhou. For beauty, little surpasses Guangxi with its fabulous karst limestone outcroppings. I loved the rugged beauty of inner Fujian province, where my grandparents lived for five years. I also have very much liked the outlying borders of China: the forested areas near Tumen (where North Korea, China and Russia meet), the anything goes feel of Ruili on the border with Myanmar, Manzhouli on the border with Russia. The Wolong panda preserve in Sichuan was a lot of fun to see.
I regret not making it to the Dunhuang caves in Gansu Province, and to Heaven Lake up in the mountains near Urumqi in far west Xinjiang.
Some of the greatest fun were the cultural and social stories. When I inquired of the Sichuan Culinary Society for the spiciest food in the province, the chief promptly invited me to a feast of the best known and hottest Sichuan dishes. When I was in Ningxia autonomous region, I heard that local Hui Muslims were in high demand as Arab translators elsewhere in the country. That was interesting.
A personal highlight was making it up to Everest base camp. That made up for the numerous trips to Henan province, which seemed to invariably end up with my detention by local officials.
One time I certainly deserved to be detained. Writing about China’s military, I and an early assistant blundered down a highway from Dalian toward what we understood to be a naval museum. We missed signs that said it was off limits to foreigners. When we pulled up to the museum, several men came running for us – detained! Fine: About $100 for “illegal tourism.”
China has certainly left its mark on me. But it’s our two daughters who are most altered. Both consider Beijing home. We’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in their lives. The youngest one speaks like a native Chinese.
I’ll be engaged in a writing project here for a few more months about which I won’t go into details, then moving to a neighboring country for a few additional months before picking up a McClatchy job at a site yet to be determined. Thanks for reading.