Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Rambler's Gotta Ramble OR In Memoriam of Two Stinky Shoes

Today, the day after an unobserved St Patrick's Day, I return for a post to El Bloggomondo. I blog because a pair of dear friends are being put to rest and because I have nothing better to do for the afternoon.
Since leaving Harbin and beginning the wander, I've been to ShenYang (nothing great of interest), BeiJing (Parental reunion! Yes! Return of filial freeloading! More yes!), HangZhou (big change since '97, but still cool), Hong Kong (I'm speechless... for now), GuangZhou (worst banking experience ever), and now GuiLin (some of China's natural beauty at its best).
Its been a long trip, and its not over, but we're not without our casualties. Tonight I'll be saying goodbye to a pair of sneakers that have traveled with me all over China, around Ireland, from DC to Boston and even out to San Francisco. I always look at my shoes as carrying the history of my travels with them, and this pair went further than most. But they've split in several places and worn through the bottom and simply no longer comfortable.
Plus a certain Scott had the same pair so really these were doomed from the get go, which was about 3 years ago. I hang onto my shoes for a long time.
The replacements are already on my feet: a sturdy pair of Timberland hiking boots. My ankles are already saying "thank you" for the added support and my soles are in bliss.
Being in China, the new shoes came cheap, but being in China and having large feet (11.5EEE) they did not come easy. After being laughed out of a dozen stores I finally found this pair that met my standards.
Tomorrow the adventure continues on to GuiYang and hopefully immediately on to ChengDu. My Mecca, set long before I left Harbin, stands a 12 hour bus ride north of ChengDu and I fear I must make a sprint to get there before time runs out. But for now I really need rest, 19 days on the road takes more out of a person than I thought, and I've been moving non-stop. Not that I'm complaining, this trip has certainly been a great experience so far and not one I'd ever give up, but I could do for a few days of stagnation and relaxation.
But so much to do and so little time!
And so, to close, a reading from the Book of Seger:

Now, I'm out of money, 'cause you know I need some
Ain't gonna run on lovin', and I must run
Got to keep movin', never gonna slow down
You can have your funky world, see you 'round
Cause I got to ramble (Ramblin' man)
I got to gamble (gamblin' man)
I got to ramble (ramblin' man)
Lord I'm a ramblin', gamblin' man


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