Too far East is West
We���ll be flying some eight thousand kilometres from Beijing to Amsterdam, the pilot tells us over the PA system as the plane clears the clouds. I look out of my oval window and see the sun, a deep orange ball, in the West. I���m leaving China with the sun. Because we are travelling with the light the sun sets slowly. The next four hours I watch the longest sunset I���ve ever seen.
When I came to China, two months ago, I had only some ideas about the country that I had put together out of information and conjecture. But I had no notion of what I would experience, or of what I would think of the people, the food, the sounds, the volume of life there. Things I imagine are always of a different order to the things I see and feel for myself. My idea of a place is always less complex than the reality.
What something actually is, has to do with the small things: sounds, smells, what happens and doesn���t, the nuances of the light, the relationships between people. In short, many things I forget when I���m imagining it.
Below the clouds have disappeared, and I see mountains sprinkled with red dust that look like the waves of a wild sea this is where the emptiness on my map begins. chloride