April 04, 2008

Elephant on a Bicycle

Here's an interesting blog on China from someone living there. The photos are both beautiful and intriguing.

Elephant on a Bicycle

An example of the writing (which I really like)

I'm now in Xining, Qinghai, in a youth hostel 15 floors up - which you think would offer remarkable views of the mountains that crowd the city on all sides. But it doesn't, this is China. 15 floors up generally just presents you with worse pollution, as it seems to procrastinate in mid-air limbo.

I'm in a quiet little room with two computers. Beside me sits a young monk of about 18, who has rather rashly decided to accessorise his austere crimson robes with a pink feather boa. I couldn't make that up. Furthermore, he is currently downloading provocative pictures of Nicole Kidman; certainly harder to find fault with this inevitable phase of teenage experimentation.

Xining city is a fascinating stopover because it offers a unique diversity. It is still predominantly Han Chinese, in both it's populace and it's blindfolded embrace of modernity - noisy, dirty, difficult to look at, pulsing
with energy. But alongside this, it contains a deeply religious aspect from the presence of size-able pockets of Islamic and Tibetan communities. In places there even exists a meditative quiet - a stillness - which amidst the commercial bustle and the perpetual foot-race of human progress can seem almost revolutionary. This is especially apparent in the areas surrounding the great mosque where I spent most of the day after befriending a young Koranic scholar named Farooq.

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