Katie and I headed out with several friends to Panjin, to check out the “Red Beach.” Suaeda Salsa is an algae that thrives in highly alkaline soil, such as that found in parts of northeastern China. The algae is green for most of the year, but for around a month in the fall, it turns a Martian red. Around the same time, the tourists arrive in droves, including us. To explore the area, we rented 3-person bikes, which were a lot of fun but not very fast. (Wouldn't you think they'd be three times faster than a normal bike?) We spent the afternoon avoiding the throngs of Chinese tourists who were rolling up in buses, and checking out the beautiful landscapes.
Katie and I had been planning to get married for the last few months. And now, we were both back in the States for the summer. We spent a few weeks making our final preparations, then our big day came. And what a day it was! I don't even remember it very well, it went by so fast. But everything seemed to go smoothly. And this was a great chance to get caught up with friends and family we hadn't seen in a long time, especially considering that we live on the opposite side of the planet.
My plane took off from Chennai, and I was on my way home for the summer. But I had one last pit stop to make – a three-day layover in Dubai. I was excited – this was my first trip to the Middle East. But when I booked my flight, I didn't think about the consequences of being in a Muslim country during Ramadan.
The Dalai Lama spoke for an hour; his message was mostly about creating peace on Earth. He seemed to be winding down his time on this planet – he made it clear that he was from the twentieth century and now it was time for the twenty-first century folks to take over. He was humble, too. At one point he said that if he thought of himself as the Dalai Lama, he felt lonely. But if he thought of himself as a human, then he had seven billion others to share this life experience with. He spoke in English for this whole hour. During his speech, monks walked through the crowd, passing out bread rolls and pouring cups of yak milk tea. It was savory, not sweet, but still delicious, and a nice gesture.
This is part II of my “2016, What the Year!” series. I'm recapping some of my travel memories from the year that was...2016.
I spent about five weeks in India. It was an incredible country, with never a dull moment. This is a long post, but trust me, it's just a brief summary of my time in India. In fact, this entry will only cover May, so there's more to come.
2016: what the year! Though I spent most of 2016 in China, I did manage to travel to a few other countries. This blog entry, as well as the next two, will be a recap of where I went and what I did last year.