Worlds apart with a common bond: China/Tibet trip takes local to the highest region on earth

Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 15:40 PM.

Pandas! What American citizen has not expressed at least some level of interest in these ever so cuddly looking bears — and we went directly to their homeland, the Szechuan Province. The city of Chongqing has a wonderful zoological garden that compares most favorably to the zoos of our cities. But what most of us wanted to see, of course, were the pandas.

There has been so much poaching that pandas have become endangered so now are carefully protected. They are fat little creatures. If the Chinese eat rice, the pandas gorge on bamboo. What a sight to see them continually stuffing their mouths with long bamboo shoots pausing only to pose for us. That is correct: these animals, whether by experience or instinct, would stop eating for a while, look at us (Was that a smile?), walk around a bit and return to their individual “roosts” and begin eating again. We were in love.

After a three night boat tour of the Yangtze River, we were off to Shanghai, our city of departure. One of our most unique experiences sounded quite mundane. We took a subway to the Shanghai Art Museum. The uniqueness was the subway. Our guide had us line up with four people in a row, one at either end of where a subway car was to stop. We thought this was a bit odd until we experienced it. When the cars arrived, one would think it was impossible for so many people to emerge. And when we tried to enter we had to cram ourselves in, quite literally. The subways of New York City, London, and Paris would pale beside these; we were as intimate as we could be without being intimate.

It was all worth it as it made it possible to stroll through the Shanghai Art Museum. We were reminded that though we often feel no cultures have art like our western cultures, indeed others do. This was a wonderful way to conclude our visit.

Intellectually each of us knows that individuals everywhere are so very much alike, just separated by languages and cultures. Submersing ourselves in another culture, even for so short a time as three weeks, enables us to internalize this oneness as human beings.

 Carrie Nelle Moye is a Santa Rosa Beach resident and former foreign correspondent in the Middle East. She recently visited China and Tibet to continue her quest to see as much of the world as she can, "as that is the best learning experience ever." Read previous parts of Moye’s travel log at thewaltonsun.com



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