The Ladder

I’m standing at the bottom of the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province. Next to me, the JinSha river rushes its way down the enormous canyon it’s made for itself.

I should be filled with wonder. But I am exhausted. I just wanna go home.

And my way back is a ladder.

A rickety ladder nailed to a vertical cliff.

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Photo Piece: The Longji Rice Terraces

Rice: the fuel to the factory of the world.

There is a place in China, where simple rice farming is made an exquisite work of art. Home to the Zhuang people, this ingenious step-irrigation system was built 650 years ago and is one of the most treasured secrets of the Chinese countryside.


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Culture Shock


First milestone reached: six months in China. What does that feel like? What am I supposed to feel? Acclimatised? Adapting to a new culture, apparently, is supposed to happen in stages:

Step 1: The Honeymoon Stage

When you first arrive in a new culture, differences are intriguing and you may feel excited, stimulated and curious. Like any new experience, there’s a feeling of euphoria when you first arrive and you’re in awe of the differences you see and experience. You feel excited, stimulated, enriched.

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