www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
Line

 

Map of China, Tibet, and East Turkestan China, Hong Kong, and Macau
In June, 2001, Randy and I visited Tibet, China and The Silk Road - This was
at a time well before the Beijing Olympics when China's GDP was only about
13.5% that of the United States. In 2014 I returned for the Hong Kong and
Macau Highpoints where I got a really good, indepth look at both territories...

In December, 2014, Patrick, Tom, Steve and I spent some quality time in Macau and Hong Kong exploring both countries and hiking to their highpoints. Unfortunately the transfer of sovereignty of Macau (a former Portuguese colony) and Hong Kong (a former British colony), to the People's Republic of China (PRC), took place in the late 1990s. Both were some of the world's most prosperous countries but are now considered Special Administrative Districts of the PRC. Since both Macau and Hong Kong will maintain a high degree of autonomy, for about 50 years beyond their loss of sovereignty, they're still considered separate countries by most measures (and me).

China National Flag
 
At 3.691 million square miles, China is the world's 3rd largest country in land area (Russia is 6.5, Canada 3.851, the U.S. 3.623, and Brazil 3.284 [Actually, the CIA's World Factbook pages indicate the rank order for size as: Russia, Canada, USA, China and Brazil - China and the U.S. are very close in size with America's larger water areas making it bigger]) with a population of almost 1.3 Billion (India is in 2nd place with about a Billion and the U.S. is in third with almost 300 Million).[note: the U.S. population soared well beyond 300 million a few years after I made this entry in 2001...]

The majority of Chinese are ethnic Han. There are 55 recognized minorities in China but they only account for 8% of the total population. China has 23 provinces and 5 "autonomous regions" where minorities reside and supposedly self-govern. Although our respective countries will probably never be friends, we found the Han people themselves to be warm, accommodating, and generally curious as to our actions. But, sadly, most Chinese were indifferent to the suffering their government has brought to the peoples of Tibet and Xinjiang...

  - Roger J. Wendell, July 2001

 

 

At the time of our visit Beijing was competing to take on the 2008 summer Olympics. We were surprised, later, when the IOC (International Olympic Committee) finally awarded Beijing the summer '08 games. Our amazement even went beyond China's horrible human rights record and its treatment of the Tibetan and Uyghur peoples - we were astonished that athletes would even want to compete in such a crowded, polluted city! In 2001 the air in Beijing was so bad that our eyes and lungs began to burn immediately after stepping off the plane and walking over to customs - really! So, how can athletes be expected to perform and stay healthy in such an environment? Doesn't the IOC, or sports world in general, take into consideration the health of the participants AND spectators? And, it wasn't just me at the time - a number of athletic organizations around the world were very concerned about the air pollution issue in Beijing at the time.

 

People from the outer provinces like to have their photos taken with foreigners...
(People from the outer provinces like to have their photos taken with foreigners!)

 

Click on any of these "thumbnail" images for a larger view:

Mao Rests Here - June, 2001
Mao rests here!
Beijing Soldiers Marching with Water - June, 2001
Marching with water
Chengdu, Mao is Everywhere - June, 2001
Randy photographs Mao*
Looking up the Great Wall of China - June, 2001
Great Wall of China
Looking up the Great Wall of China - June, 2001
Randy on the Great Wall
* Mao was everywhere...

 

It appears as time goes on the Chinese people, and government, hold Mao in less esteem. At the time of our visit, during the summer of 2001, they were referring to him as "70/30 Mao" - suggesting they believed Mao to have been correct 70 percent of the time, wrong the other 30. Very different from the late 60s when Mao was always right, all of the time!

 

Forbidden City - June, 2001
Forbidden City
Jody and Randy - the Emperor always used the middle - June, 2001
Emperor used the middle
Dressing Up Like the Emporer - June, 2001
Dressing up for a fun!
Walking is an option in China, this photo from out west - June, 2001
Jeshua and Randy
Roger Wendell drinks Future Apple with Ray Anderson - June, 2001
I drink Future Apple!
Streets of Beijing - June, 2001
Streets of Beijing
Streets of Beijing - June, 2001
Streets of Beijing
Chinese Environemnt Cigarettes and Toothpaste - June, 2001
Environment Cigarettes
Chinese Pottery Maker - June, 2001
Pottery Maker
Chinese Military at Tiananmen Square - June, 2001
Military at Tiananmen Square
Jody and Randy Wendell at a National Tourist Attraction in China - June, 2001
Our guide Jody with Randy
Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China - June, 2001
Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China - June, 2001
Tiananmen Square
Statue in China - June, 2001
Statue
Classic China - June, 2001
Classic China

 

Line

 

China Map
(Click on map for larger view)
While in the Tien-Shan mountains, nearly 1,500 miles west of Beijing, we were able to sneak into a military area where few Westerners had ever stood before. Although we were successful in reaching that rare spot the police found us out and took us in for the night. Unfortunately they were not in the mood to allow any picture-taking in and around the jail. Nevertheless, I was able to preserve pictures of the "Out of Bounds For Foreigners" sign (And boy did they mean it!!) and the shot of me and Randy on that rare and remote Tien-Shan mountain real-estate where few westerners had ever stepped before.

The following morning, after being released by the police, we left the restricted area via an 11,300 foot pass through the Tien-Shan mountains. Unfortunately, on the way down, we came into a head-on collision with a utility truck that completely totaled our car. Our driver's face was cut, pretty badly, with Ray, Randy, and Jeshua sustaining a variety of bumps and bruises. I, myself, hit my head and shoulder really hard as I was leaning out the window taking a GPS reading at the time of the collision. I think I went unconscious, briefly, but was definitely disoriented and dazed for awhile. According to my GPS we were doing about 40 mph when the truck hit us head-on as we both rounded a curve along the mountain road.

I was taken to what I believe was the region's only hospital - nearly six hours away via unpaved road to Kuche, still well within the huge province of Xinjiang. The hospital staff treated me well although I do recall some chuckling as they kept trying to stand me up in front of their X-ray machine and I kept passing out and crumpling to the floor. Many of the other patients, and their visitors, found me to be a curiosity - some asking if my nose would ever stop growing while they stared smoking next to me in the hallway and hospital room (Many Chinese are fascinated with blonde hair, something I don't poses. They're also distracted by what they believe to be very large noses on the faces of Westerners - I'll have to agree with them - my nose, and that of the majority in North America, is pretty darn large when compared to Asians!)

 

Out of Bounds for Foreigners
Me and Randy on Some Rare and Remote Chinese Ground
Roger and Randy Wendell
on some very rare and
remote Chinese ground...
Our Chinese Car Wreck in the Tien-Shan Mountains
We were in a head-on collision
coming down from an 11,000 foot
pass in the Tien-Shan mountains...
A Crowd Gathers Around our Chinese Car Wreck
A crowd almost immediately gathered
out of "nowhere" as I didn't recall
seeing any villages or people in the area...
Roger Wendell Fractured Shoulder in a Chinese Hospital
The Chinese were able to X-ray
my skull and arms where they
found fractures my left shoulder.

 

Line

 

More China Photos:

Roger J. Wendell in China - June 2001
  1. The crowd takes our cue inbetween some immitation Terra Cotta warriros at a restaraunt near Beijing (34k)
  2. There are a lot of yurts throughout western China (24k)
  3. Randy put together this Power Point presentation on where we were... (It's a BIG 857k)
  4. I found the toilets of China, despite their lack of cleanliness, to be much more healthful than what we're accustomed to.   This is because a natural "squatting" position is required that doesn't entail touching your bottom to anything.  This particular photo is of a typical train toilet and is a stainless steel version of what can be found in all kinds of different forms around the country. My Toilet Matters page has more info on this delicate subject... (5k)
  5. There are more photos from our trip on my Tibet and Silk Road pages...

 

"Despite China's development of technologies such as gunpowder, compasses, paper, and the printing press hundreds of years before
  Europeans did, China experienced nothing equivalent to the European Renaissance and the successive scientific and industrial revolutions."

- Lee Billings in his book,
Five Billion Years of Solitude
(The Search For Life Among The Stars), p. 22

 

Line

 

Links:

  1. Aconcagua
  2. Africa (Eastern) - Kenya, Tanzania, and my Kilimanjaro climb
  3. Africa (Southern) - Our trip through Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  4. Amazonia and Ecuador
  5. Antarctica
  6. Argentina and Brazil
  7. Australia Main Page
  8. Australia Two Page
  9. Bolivia
  10. China Daily
  11. CIA World Factbook on China
  12. Climbing
  13. Ecuador
  14. France
  15. India
  1. Ireland
  2. Japan
  3. Mexico
  4. News from Inside China Today
  5. New Zealand
  6. People's Daily - China
  7. RFA - Radio Free Asia
  8. Russia
  9. Silk Road
  10. Southeast Asia
  11. Tibet
  12. Travel and Travel Two
  13. United Kingdom - England
  14. United Kingdom - Wales and Scotland
  15. Waypoints

 

Line

 

Back Back to Roger J. Wendell's Home Page...

Web Counter Logo

 

Abbey | About | Blog | Contacting Me | Copyright | Disclaimer | Donate | Guest Book | Home | Site Index | Solutions | Terms, Conditions and Fair Use | What's Changed or New?
Copyright © 1955 -