to travel 1,000 miles is like reading 1,000 books: confucius

The vast mystery that is China demands attention. A journey to this land opens to visitors a geographical, historical and cultural encyclopedia that offers a breathtaking exploration of various worlds within one world.

China is the world’s third largest country, after Russia and Canada. Its most mountainous terrain rises in the west with Tibet and the mighty Himalayas. At 8,847 meters, Mount Everest is the world’s highest peak. China’s lowest point, the Turpan Depression, 154 meters below sea level, is scooped out in its vast north-west. The great mountainous highlands of west China, together with the forbidding deserts of Gobi and Taklimakan in the north acted as a huge barrier to China’s expansion. The land increasingly flattens out the farther east you travel. The vast majority [90 percent] of the population lives along China’s coast or in the fertile lands that line the Yangtze river, Yellow river, Pearl river and the Mekong river. Most of the cultivable land is irrigated by these river systems. Two-thirds of the land is too mountainous, arid or otherwise unsuitable for agriculture. China’s coastline is an affluent bundle of Special Economic Zones [SEZs] and thriving ports. Continue reading

china 9: chengdu, capital of sichuan

Sichuan [Four Rivers] province’s most abiding impression could well be its spicy cuisine, famous for its diversity and comprising over 5,000 dishes such as twice-cooked pork, spicy chicken with peanuts [which I loved!], fish-fragranced sliced pork, and long dumplings. Noodles are eaten as a snack. A legendary dish in Chengdu is pock-marked Grandma’s beancurd. It was invented 90 years ago by a Grandma with spots on her face. Not many knew about the dish or ate it. An important poet once visited her and the meal, thereafter, became the most popular one in the city. Continue reading