So the sandstorm hit and OH MY GOD!! Look at the pics!!!
BEFORE THIS LONG POST -- I need to let everyone know that I can post in China right now, but I can't freaking comment. If that's not back-asswards, I don't know what is. But thanks for the comments everyone!
Insanity! It was impossible to breate, much less survive. The mere exposure to the harsh climates peels the coloration from your retinas, inducing a piercing blue tint to your eyes much like the spice in "Dune". Mere surgical masks does little to... umm... delay the inevitable... err...
Ok, April Fools. And a day late, no less.
Of course, the images are photoshopped. Not only photoshopped, but done so in an amateurish way that would make my teachers at the Art Institute disown my one year of intensive artistic training. The sandstorm did nothing. As a matter of fact, the next day was beautiful. Clear skies, clouds, you name it. I think I even saw a blue-bird on someone's shoulder. So much for Beijing living up to the hype. Gah!
Speaking of science-fiction, I've been watching Dr. Who. This campy, yet highly entertaining, new romp in old fashioned sci-fi worlds doubles as a metaphor for traveling. Kind of like how Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy did and yes, I'm sure, the original Dr. Who T.V. series. But this one really has a lot of interesting aspects that equates to what I experience while traveling. With the uncertainty, the culture shock, the exploration, and how they handle contact of one of the main characters with her family back home, who neither know where she is, or when she is. The whole premise is based around traveling through time and space to distant... times and spaces.
The whole purpose of traveling in my personal experience has little to nothing to do with "finding yourself" as many people believe it does, and more with just seeing all you can see, and challenging yourself in ways that you simply can't be challenged academically or physically (not that I frequently challenge myself in the latter). Thrusting yourself into a situation of uncertainty and almost total exclusion from anything you're comfortable with or accustomed to. It's the ultimate in uprooting yourself.
In addition to academic challenges, I feel that this is one of the most worthy endeavors that anyone could do. I need to stress "anyone", because it's not just me that I feel this relates to. Sure, I've loved traveling to the point of scary addiction since the whole European Extravaganza back in aught-2, but I think this experience is oft overlooked as being something that "gets in the way of real life". I, of course, profoundly disagree. Seeing how you handle yourself in these situations, and seeing just how much your own behavior differs from those around you (when you're TOTALLY surrounded by it) allows you to be able to be more aware of your abilities and limitations. Which is why, I must say, I'm especially proud of Ma, Pa, and my dearest older brother, Nukie. They ventured to the lands of the Scots and the Brits, and enjoyed it. I have to be honest, it surprised me a little. Even more of a shock, Dad liked Hong Kong. Hong... Kong. Not just a city, a big ol' city. Full of people. And he only managed to embarrass me only about half the time. Shocking.
Oh, but I ramble. This was mainly a post to say that traveling should be done by all. I don't want to here any moaning about, "Oh, but I can't. It would be nice to travel and piss away my life rambling about the globe, but I've got my future to think about." I got news for you, buddy (er... buddies), especially you younger types. The average amount of time an American changes his or her job is 5 times in their lifetime. At some point during those 5 changes, find some time to travel somewhere and experience all the craziness first hand. Just a few months, maybe a year. If you despise it, at least you'll be better off. Unless you get malaria. Which is why you should go prepared. And who knows?! Maybe you'll FIND yourself!