Travel

Accounting for Modalities

Accounting for Modalities

Given that many people in the United States are thinking about accounting today, I thought I'd share some of the raw numbers from my recent trip to China and the Philippines, but rather than detail how much money I spent (speaking of which, you are welcome to complicate my 2015 taxes by donating here), I thought I'd share the following summary of the many journeys within a journey I took while traveling through China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, Canada and the United States:

Feet shredded while walking miles through eleven cities, many small villages, one former military stronghold and atop, along and around ruined portions of a gigantic wall: 2

Subway systems used more frequently than can be tallied: 6

Personal cars ridden with a buddhist who would later host an elaborate tea ceremony, an atheist tour guide raised in a cave, and two precocious children: 1

Bridges crossed at which the largest conflict in the history of the world began: 1

Last minute rickshaw rides organized by a guide squeezing in one more sightseeing visit before a thirty-hour train ride: 1

A thirty-hour train ride between China's current capital and the city that served as its capital during World War II: 1 

Chongqing Aflame

Chongqing Aflame

Beyond the fireworks, you hear Chongqing in honking horns, sizzling streetside frying pans and screams of Schezuanese from every direction. At night, before your eyes, Chongqing's bright lights dance up skyscrapers, the same towers that shoot from fields of strewn rubble and half-buried buildings, far past the smog-smudged apartment blocks they're replacing. Chongqing's scent wafts from grilling meats and fetid alleys.

Ducking the Elephant in the Room

The day takes shape slowly. Getting out the door just happens. Once you do the bus is ten minutes late. Then, so is the MAX, but you don't mind. You've been quietly extricating yourself from time. You wait in the chill beneath an interstate, listening to teenagers gossip. Staring at the spikes lining the steel beams beneath the roadway you think perhaps a bit too long about pigeon deterrence.

Los Angeles in Your Eyes

How would you give a tour of Los Angeles with only a short time to do so? What would you show? Why? What do you think is quintessential L.A.? What can be ignored? Do you have a universal trip you'd share with every visitor or are there certain ones you'd reserve for certain people? Would there be a specific flow to your tour? Would you use the strict geographical boundaries of the city, or would yours be more a tour of Southern California with Los Angeles as its center of gravity? If you're not from Los Angeles, what would you want to see here if you only had a few days to do so? What is this place to you? Why would you want to visit? What type of tour would you want?