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Fascinating diary. I visited most of the places you mention 25 years ago, and the differences must be striking.

Not so much the Leshan Budhha, I expect he´s much as he has been for centuries. Emei Shan was a matter of climbing it on foot for us, over several days, and staying in monasteries. Chengdu was a shock for me, the poorest and most backward place I had ever been, the countryside around it amazingly beautiful and almost pre-industrial -- the current pollution being the price of economic progress, one supposes.

Heading east -- by plane, train and boat, mostly --felt like travelling in time, and Hangzhou and Suzhou felt almost like we were back in the "western world", by their contrast with the backward inland regions. Their cultural and historical significance was clear.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 14th, 2012 at 06:22:11 PM EST

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