Experiencing new cultures, new geographies, new histories and new arts is a heady adventure. As I travel around the world and through America, I'm discovering new worlds and new friends. "Life is a banquet" and I'm relishing the various dishes. As I do, I'll blog about them.
This year I'm off to Europe --Ireland, England and France. I'm presenting a paper at a conference in Ireland and, since I will be over there, I decided to visit some friends. So instead of being a tourist, I'll be a visitor. And since I've been over there before, I'm hoping to see some new places and enjoy some new experiences.
Being a tourist is not my thing. Or at least not completely. Two years ago, I signed up with Road Scholar tours which was collaborating with Earthwatch on this particular trip, "On the Trail of the Giant Pandas." The trip included touring the major cities of China--Shanghai, Xian where the Terra Cotta warriors are located, and Beijing, but it also involved six days of service/field work with the giant pandas in Sichuan Province. Our small group of 11 worked in the research preserve in Bifnexia with the pandas. We actually participated in the research by observing the pandas and recording their behavior.
I realized several years ago, after my trip to the Stans (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan), that while I enjoy learning about the history and arts of a country and walking through museums, mosques, madrasas and other sites, I also want to learn about the people and their culture as they live it today. I want to get involved with them. The trip to China provided this kind of experience.
I tried to provide a different kind of blog from the many already out there about China. This one focused more on the Chinese experience, especially during my field work in Bifengxia, and less on the sightseeing aspects. There are many links to provide that kind of information.
Since my trip to the Stans, I have travelled to Camarilla, California, where a friend leads tours of the region's wineries and volunteers in the Reagan Library though she is a fervent Democrat. I also traveled to Hancock, New Hampshire, a wonderful small typical New England town where I had my fill of fresh lobster. Between trips I visited Galena, Illinois, in the unglaciated tri state area of northwest Illinois, southwest Wisconsin and central Iowa . You can take an ecological boat tour on the Mississippi, visit a mustard museum and buy some of the best Swiss cheese this side of Switzerland. I'll be blogging about those places during the coming year.
As to where I'll go next, I'm not sure. Perhaps I'll return to China where my University has a collaborative agreement with one of the universities there to provide a summer training program for teachers to improve their English.
Wherever I'll be, I'll be blogging about it.