Tuesday, August 14, 2007

March On...

I was wandering around the net today and stumbled across a couple of old friends I’d like to tell you about.

Ed Jocelyn and Yang Xiao are living and breathing gods among China’s outdoor adventure community. The two of them have been retracing the steps of China’s famous Long March campaign all across the country, with nothing but what they can fit on their pack mules.

Along the way, they’ve met some amazing people and found some of China’s most stunning natural scenery. Of course, they’ve been taking pictures and writing about it the whole way, and I’ll give you the address in a minute.

They’ve also been working to document the histories of the people involved, and are some of the most informed people I’ve ever met on this subject. In fact, they were doing this long before Cui Yongyuan and CCTV, who did the My Long March event that we sponsored. They were the inspiration for this event, as Cui interviewed them months before he took his own march. To Cui’s credit, he admitted as much to me, if not publicly.

About the guys:

Ed Jocelyn is an Englishman who’s been living in China for years and speaks Chinese quite fluently. We actually often speak to each other in Chinese so as not to leave our Chinese buddies out of the conversation. I dig him, not just because he can get away with something like this adventure, but because I see in him the same interest and involvement in Chinese culture that I have, and he even takes it a bit further (thousands of miles further, to be exact).

Yang Xiao is a native Chinese all-around outdoorsy guy and top-of-the-notch equipment freak. He elevates the science of bag-packing to the level of quantum mechanics, and is far more comfortable in the wilderness than anywhere else. I’ve spotted him several times using his foldable camping cup and re-usable chopsticks even in big Beijing restaurants. This calls to mind the My Long March participants, who found that after marching for nearly a year, they became prone to car-sickness.

I met them in Beijing last year, and we’ve hung out a few times at my favorite Yunnanese restaurant in the city, Emmo’s Place, which is a big hangout for the hiking and jeeping crowd. The owner, Emmo, is a really cool Wa guy hailing from Lincang Prefecture in Southwest Yunnan. I have a post somewhere in the archives from when I went to his hometown to make a film. The restaurant looks just like a lot of backpacker hangouts in Yunnan, and serves up some great homestyle Kunming food. It’s also a great place to check out photos from the long march odyssey. A series I particularly like is photos of propaganda slogans painted all over the walls of the Chinese countryside. There’s really some funny stuff there, such as slogans warning against marriage by closely related mentally challenged people, as well as a lot of graffiti propaganda spoofs.

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you about these guys now is that they’re at it again, this time following the path of the 6th Division which went to some of the remotest parts of China. The two should be somewhere in eastern Tibet right now. Check’em out at www.newlongmarch2.com.

No comments:


Web Page Counter
XBox Online Game Rentals