June 1997

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Intro

While my first time traveling out of the country alone was in 1993, that was as part of a tour group of students, so I wasn’t really alone.  This trip, however, I consider as my first ‘real’ trip, for which I planned an itinerary, booked flights, and organized things myself — and it was to China.  At that time, China was still an exotic place to go, especially as an 18 year old college student who hadn’t even done his quintessential ‘backpacking trip to Europe’ yet!  Another first:  I had my first ever ‘legal’ beer – a Tsingtao — at a bar in Beijing!

I did meet up with a friend in Hong Kong, Macau and China, but still – I was pretty excited about it, as this kind of ‘independent travel’ was completely new to me.  I know that it was 1997, and this trip in particular, which solidified my addiction to travel, and it has only increased exponentially since.

As if seeing Hong Kong’s incredible skyline, the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, and Beijing’s Forbidden City weren’t enough excitement, I also planned the trip so I would be in both Hong Kong and Beijing right before the famous handover of still-British Hong Kong to China.  The anticipation and tension in Hong Kong was palpable, even while watching workers string up elaborate lights onto building facades in Tsim Tsa Shui in preparation for the big day.  In stark contrast, Beijing seemed happy and full of excitement to take back Hong Kong after 99 years, with a huge handover clock in Tiananmen Square counting down the seconds until July 1, 1997.

 

Journey Map

    LocationArrivalDeparture
    1Tokyo, JapanJune 6, 1997June 6, 1997
    2Hong Kong, Hong KongJune 6, 1997June 9, 1997
    3Xi'an, ChinaJune 9, 1997June 11, 1997
    4Beijing, ChinaJune 11, 1997June 14, 1997
    5Badaling Pass, ChinaJune 14, 1997June 14, 1997
    6Beijing, ChinaJune 14, 1997June 15, 1997
    7Hong Kong, Hong KongJune 15, 1997June 17, 1997
    8Macau, MacauJune 17, 1997June 17, 1997
    9Hong Kong, Hong KongJune 17, 1997June 18, 1997
    10Singapore, SingaporeJune 18, 1997June 19, 1997
    11Tokyo, JapanJune 19, 1997June 19, 1997

    Featured Image

    The Great Wall, Badaling Pass, China

    This picture is a small miracle. What you see is a gorgeous section of the amazing Great Wall of China at Badaling. What you don’t see, and what I somehow managed to make sure you don’t see, are the hundreds of people on the Wall with me. I ran ahead of everyone else as fast as I possibly could to capture this “solitary” pic!

    Featured Video

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