Home >> Hot Issue

Travel plans on hold until COVID-19 is history

Updated: 2022-02-24 08:39 ( China Daily )
Share - WeChat

What do you do when omicron, the latest variant of COVID-19, keeps you in the city? We were more or less advised, actually told, to stay in Beijing and refrain from traveling to keep us safe and healthy.

The pandemic has drastically changed behavior that used to be taken for granted.

One of the compelling attractions of working in China is the chance to go around the country. I want to see Yunnan province.

Being a bit of a history buff, the province is fascinating for me.

Historians said that, a thousand or so years ago, Yunnan was populated by groups who admitted and recognized Chinese rule under the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-AD 220) dynasties.

Under the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), they gave the province its modern name of Yunnan. The Venetian traveler Marco Polo visited the area sometime late in the 13th century.

I also want to visit the provinces through which the route of what is called chang zheng-the Long March (1934-36)-ran, providing the wellspring for the eventual victory of the Communist Party of China.

Lasting two years, the march covered 12,500 kilometers, which, for perspective, is more than two and a half times the distance from New York City to San Francisco.

For the longest time, I was also fascinated by the Mongols, since their forces swept everything in sight and their empire reached from the Black Sea to the Korean Peninsula.

It was founded by Genghis Khan. His armies were fierce and were impossible to stop in Iran, Eastern Europe, China and Russia.

His sons and grandsons set up the four khanates, with the Yuan in China being the most powerful of them all.

My wife and I were thinking when we got here in 2019 of possibly visiting the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, which holds the distinction of being the coldest capital city in the world, given its location in the northern part of the country.

Aside from the obligatory museums in the city, Mongolia is the land of high-quality cashmere. The country has millions of goats producing the material.

Given the harsh weather in that part of the world, I could use a fine piece of it to keep me warm and toasty. I also want to try the slightly alcoholic drink called kumiss, which is made from mare's milk.

The thing is, there is a smorgasbord of possible places to visit in China given time and a willingness to hop on a train which can take you anywhere.

But those plans were put on hold by a pandemic that is now entering its third year.

Going around the country gives one a flavor for the place, a grounding of what its people are.

I can only hope to make up for lost time when the hold of COVID-19 has been broken decisively.

When will that happen? I just do not know. Until then, I plan to sit back and watch replays of events at the Winter Olympics.

That would be a hockey game between Canada and maybe the Russians. Or ski jumping. Nothing beats watching a slender athlete launch himself into the gloaming and land some 300 or so feet (nearly 100 meters) away. All while having a very hot cup of coffee.

Rene Pastor




Hot words
Most Popular