Hello loyal readers!
I'm writing to you from Dali, in Yunnan Province, in Southern China. The skies are blue, the mountains are tall, the air is clear, and the sun feels wonderful, especially after months and months of cold, windy weather in Dalian.
So far, we've been taking it easy: lots of reading, studying Chinese in our little hostel courtyard, exploring the Old City, and meeting other backpackers. Unfortunately, our relaxing little vacation took an unfortunate turn when a member of our crew, Sarah, fell off her bike and hurt her arm badly. We then experienced the Chinese hospital system, which was fascinating unto itself, but is an entry for another day. Long story short, her arm needs surgery, so we had to scramble to get her onto a flight to Kuala Lumpur, where her parents live. This girl was such a trooper, I can't even tell you. She was in major pain, but stayed in fairly good spirits until her departure.
So now our group is smaller, sadly, because Sarah is awesome and we were all getting along well. But! Onwards to Lijiang. Aside from blogging and checking Facebook, internet access in the hostel means looking at the news and all the photographs from Haiti, which is devastating. It feels awful that one can't do anything but give money, but it sounds like that's what they need right now. My friend Alice works for the American Jewish World Service, and they do very good work in Haiti - so I encourage you to donate to them (or any other aid organization) if you haven't already.