Tianshui

Gansu Province

China

September 2, 2016

 

Ancient trade routes were much more than just a highway for the exchange of materials and goods from one distant place to another.  Ideas and culture also traveled with ships and camels and horses. The Silk Road is certainly a prime example of the exchange and dissemination of culture. 

Buddhism flowered in South Asia and eventually “traveled” to Central Asia and China.  Here in Gansu Province, the Maijishan Grotto Complex is one of several grotto sites lying on the trade routes between northwest China and Central Asia.

Baoji

Prefecture Population 3,760,000

City Population 800,000

Shaanxi Province

Peoples Republic of China

August 31, 2016

 

With mountain ranges to the north and the south, Baoji lies in the strategic corridor and is the gateway to the eastern cities of Shanghai and Beijing and to the Far West of China.

Baoji traces its roots back to 2000 BCE.  

The ancient, now modern city of Baoji is just a short 177 km (110 miles) from the ancient capital of Xi’an and, heading west, an appropriate first stop along the Ancient Silk Road.

Xi’an

Shaanxi Province

China

August 28, 2016

 

Shocked! 

I am shocked as I ride from the airport to the city. 

On both sides of the modern highway, clusters of recently-constructed apartment buildings provide the only scenery. 

Each cluster contains twenty high-rise towers.

Each tower is forty floors high and each floor contains sixteen apartments.  

I estimate there are one hundred of these clusters between the airport and the city!

 

Al Ain Zoo

Al Ain

Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

April 19, 2016

Howdy,

Many, many years ago, my wife at the time, the late Alice Dawn and I took a road trip from New York to San Francisco.  We visited her younger sister, the late Carolyn Dawn and her family.  On the way, we stopped in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Alice was a proficient horsewoman so we decided to take a two-hour early evening ride into the Grand Tetons.  Towards the end of our tour, in the deepening shadows of the majestic and inspiring mountains, I spotted a shy and apprehensive four-legged creature off in the distance. 

I proclaimed with excitement, “There’s a deer!”   Riding along side of me, our guide, calmly and with the taciturn air of a native of the mountains, responded, “That’s not a deer, son. That’s an elk!” 

Opps.

Al Ain

Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

April 18, 2016

 I didn’t count them of course, but there must be several hundred camels for sale at the Al Ain Camel Market.  Goats, too.

At first I thought,”Why do we need so many camels?” 

A few may be bred for racing.  But camels as a major means of transportation are now a distant historical memory.  **

Then I remembered, “Aren’t we all envious of anyone who can afford the ultra soft luxurious texture of a camel hair jacket or coat?” 

And that’s just the beginning.

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