Then I remembered: tonight begins my next round of brush painting classes,which should keep me Sinologically jazzed until my planned May trip to the Middle Kingdom. I searched for some flights on line yesterday and concluded that earning miles on my preferred carrier is not worth the cost or the extra time; United likes to take Honolulu folks to LAX or SFO first, before arriving in Shanghai. (This is not so bizarre as an intinerary I was presented a couple years ago, from HNL to Beijing, a 54-hour flight which featured stops in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Get a globe, people!) I will probably go on my usual Asian airline, Korean, which makes the trip pretty efficiently in 13.5 hours (and sometimes on 747s) through Seoul (regrettably, through Incheon and not the funky old Kim Po). So I won't get the miles, but I can save time and a lot of cash.
a trip down the Li River more than 15 years ago, a little tour out of Hong Kong to see the fabulous formations in the Guilin countryside. I may have already blogged this memory, but it came to me so vividly this morning. We had been drifting along the river in one of the flatbottomed boats, marveling at the beauty of the karst landscape when it started to rain. Most of the group went below where a perfectly timed lunch was ready. We were neither feeling hungry nor social and decided to stay above, irritating the crew who had to stay on the upper deck with us to make sure we didn't steal the souvenirs on offer (but covered against the rain). But we all became enchanted with the cruise in the mist; overcoming his frustration on having to accompany the pesky tourists in the rain, one of the crew members tried his English to remark: "It's beautiful, isn't it...just like a Chinese painting." Not unlike below, but mistier.
Not My PhotoWe returned from the river cruise to a restaurant in Guilin which was memorable not only for the rat runnning around in the overhead light fixture, but for all the paintings decorating the walls, all for sale. I acquired a wall scroll that was better than any photo I could have taken of the scenes. (I had neglected to carry enough film--remember that stuff?). But the painting is completely accurate, in mood and memory.
Not My Painting