Adventure

The Road The Mountains Other

Nearly two months after my return from the road I found myself once again crossing the pacific towards asia. This time to visit my aging Grandparents in Hong Kong. Christmas and Newyears in Hong Kong had become a bit of a tradition following the separation of my parents.

I walked beside my gong gong. He had decided to get out of his wheel chair and was now slowly strolling down the pathway which bent around the Hong Kong harbor. We talked in mandarin about our adventures, his over 50 years ago, and mine barely more then 50 days past. A light breeze passed through the park, its peaceful embrace hidden away from the bustling streets in this sanctuary of serenity. It carried along with it the scent of a small cropping of Gui trees which had been planted within a garden in the middle of the park. The beautiful smell wafted into my nose and traveled deep into my mind, extracting the most subtle of memories from the darkness of time. As thoughts of the road swirled through my head my heart began to pound with the excitement and longing one gets from seeing a long lost lover pass by in the street. The faintness of those beautiful memories being weathered by the hands of time, only grow more precious with age. I stood struck in my steps, taking in the fragrance of Guilin. Before a word was spoken I turned to my gong gong only to find the same distant stare in his eyes. The same breeze had transported our souls, if only for a moment, to the tree lined streets of Guilin. And for a brief second the hands of time had been thrown to the side, and my grandfather and I were on the Big Road together. The rising limestone camel back mountains, the voices of food stand owners, the winding canals, and the spirit of the city danced through our minds. We stood for a few minutes and reminisced over the town which had captured both our hearts. He had spent over two years in Guilin, escaping the Japanese solders during world war II and being one of the last men to evacuate the city as it fell into enemy hands. I had spent only a few wandering days in this magical city, exploring its many parks and streets via the back of a motorcycle cabbie. Yet in the end we had a chance in this lifetime to walk that road together, and if even for a couple of minutes, it was incredible. For although time inevitably changes all things, the road is constant, and it is in front of us all."

-Excerpt from a travel blog during 2007 solo expedition through China, Albert Lin