This post is dedicated to my son, with only pics of him from the 4 week backpacking trip. Were it not for him, I likely would have never seen China. A tall, mid-western young man in China speaking fluent Mandarin through a bit of a Texas drawl deserves his very own post. He paid the price to live in China for a year-and-a-half to learn the language. He lost 100% of his hearing in his right ear 3 weeks after arriving in Beijing, which is tragic enough, but he’s a musician and was attempting an almost impossible task in the learning of a tonal language. He knew no one, couldn’t speak the language, was completely alone and yet weathered the event, triumphing over all the barriers in the end. He’s said since that he so wanted to come home, but he stuck it out. Maybe with a stem cell miracle someday, he’ll regain the hearing.

Dear Son,

This trip, the memories, the photographs, journal entries, public stories, private stories (that we’ve sworn to the other to never tell), the fantastical peregrination would not have been possible without you.  While I’ve enjoyed my day in the sun from the attention garnered from my documentation of the trip on this website, the writings, the photos shared with anyone and everyone, the ooohs and aahhhs from friends and family, it all really belongs to you.  Thank you for what you’ve given me — the gift of a lifetime.

Love,

Mom

P.S. I’d travel with you again, anytime, anywhere, for any length of time. And I hope that someday, we can again.

We made quite a spectacle that day traipsing to the Kashgar post office with my son carrying the beautiful Dutar, the proprietor carrying packing supplies, the helper carting a large wood box fitted to the instrument for shipping, and me. Two hours later, my son handed over the carefully packed instrument to the lady behind the postal counter. The Dutar arrived home before I did, completely intact. My son is a musician -- a talented guitarist. While I love to tell the story of him picking up my red Fender at a young age and never putting it down and of turning him onto Stevie Ray Vaughan (which he says changed his life LOL), the guitarist he is today is solely because of his tenacity in the pursuit of a passion. May your next instrument be that Taylor of your dreams!

Skipping rocks on Karakul Lake just off the Karakoram Highway near Pakistan.

Monastery of Divine Light

Monastery of Divine Light

We observed that most every Chinese posing for a picture, threw up the double Peace sign. When in Rome...

In-The-Moment Pause.

On the Wall of Simatai

A couple

A couple we met at the restaurant in Lijiang. They loved my son and wanted to party the night away with him. Even he was tired by this point and chose instead to call it a day after the early dinner we shared with them.

In the Gobi Desert

In the Gobi Desert

The Thinker?

The Thinker?

The Tall Midwesterner with the Digital Camera, was a hit with the kids!

The Tall Midwesterner with the Digital Camera was a hit with the kids!

The Tall Midwesterner got a lot of stares. He'd gotten used to it by the time I came over.

The Tall Midwesterner got a lot of stares. He'd gotten used to it by the time I came over.

He kept me laughing.

He kept me laughing.

Looking KEWL in Urumqui

Looking KEWL in Urumqui

Near an Ancient Grainery Warehouse

Near an Ancient Grainery Warehouse

With David, the Australian, whose contact information I lost before getting home.  If anyone seeing this knows David, please tell him to contact me through this site!

With David, the Australian, whose contact information I lost before getting home. If anyone seeing this knows David, please tell him to contact me through this site!

Towards the end of the trip. LOL

Towards the end of the trip. LOL

Self portrait

Self portrait after we'd parted in the Beijing airport. I was heading home to the U.S. while he still had several months to go. We were both sad -- I cried as the escalator took me to the tram. This is a photo no Mother wants to see.

This next set of photographs are ones taken either by him or of him during his stint in China before and after I visited.  They were worthy of being included here.

Self portrait taken at

Self portrait taken at the Hanging Monastery of Datong

At the edge of a rural section of the Great Wall

At the edge of a rural section of the Great Wall

Taken in

Taken on one of his Solo Road Trips. Like Mother, like son!

Transport

Transport

One of his favorite restaurants

One of his favorite restaurants

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