I began writing about my July trip to China last month, posting some photos that I had made on the first half of the trip with my small Canon S90 digital camera. Those were photos from Beijing, Xian and Chengdu.
Now I’m finally getting around to the second half of the trip.
I wrote in that first post that I had a problem with photos from later in the trip, and this is part of the reason why I’ve had to wait for so long to post them. The second half of the trip included several days in Lhasa, Tibet, a short visit to Chongqing, a three day Yangtze River cruise, one night in Wuhan and finally, three days in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately – and I don’t even know how I did it – I somehow changed the settings on my digital camera to go from taking JPEG files to taking DNG files early during the time in Tibet, and I didn’t realize it until the end of the trip. The problem with this is that my photo editing program cannot open DNG files, so for a long time, I was stuck.
I tried one thing or another to make it work, but alas, no success. Finally, I happened upon a website that will convert files from one format to another – including DNG files to JPEG – for free. The only problem with it is that it will only convert individual files, rather than a batch, so you can imagine the amount of time it took for me to convert all of the ones I had in mind, and then do the final editing on them.
Still, I recently finished working on that, so here we are.
As to the trip itself, I had written that the first half of the trip was very hot, and the second half felt even hotter, but before that we had a respite of three days in Lhasa, Tibet. That’s because it’s at an elevation of around 12,000 feet and things are a lot cooler up there. The down side, though, is dealing with the high altitude and the lower level of oxygen that it has.
On my first trip to Tibet in 2007, I had no problem. People were even surprised that I didn’t take any altitude sickness pills. This time, though, I wasn’t feeling very well on the day we flew from Chengdu to Tibet – and it didn’t help that we had to fly there twice. Why twice? The flight time is two hours, and everything was going fine until an hour and a half into the flight. With only half an hour left, the flight crew announced that because of heavy rain at the Lhasa airport, the plane would have to fly back to Chengdu and then wait until the weather cleared.
So, back we went to Chengdu, flying another hour and a half to get there. We then sat on the ground for about two hours, waiting for the airplane to be refueled and have more food delivered. Then, we finally made the two hour flight to Tibet, but what should have taken two hours ended up being five hours in the air and more than seven hours on the plane – exactly what I needed when I wasn’t feeling well, right?
I skipped dinner that evening and just rested in my hotel room, as the combination of feeling unwell to begin with, combined with the thin air, made me feel even worse. Still, I did begin to feel much better after breakfast the next morning, though I did play it safe and decided to skip the trip to the Potala Palace – the former home of the Dalai Lamas – with its 13 floors worth of steps to climb, especially as I had gone to it the last time.
After Tibet, though, it was back into the high heat, our first stop being the city of Chongqing. I had read in my guide book back in 1989 that the three “furnace cities” along the Yangtze River are Chongqing, Wuhan and Nanjing. In that regard, Chongqing did not disappoint – and neither did the Yangtze, where some of the days there, I heard, reached 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and humid, too.
Still, getting to relax on a ship for a few days was nice, and it was very interesting to pass through the locks at the Three Gorges Dam, especially at night with lightning flashing all around.
The visit to Hong Kong was my third time there, and it continues to be a somewhat unique place. Of course, the weather was pretty hot, too, at around 95 F. That didn’t stop me from doing a lot of walking, or what seemed a lot of walking because of the heat and humidity. I find the architecture of the place to be rather fascinating, as the buildings all seem to be either very new or very old, with not much in between.
Hopefully I’ll finish getting all of the film from this trip developed this week, and as I get the time to scan them, I’ll begin posting some. For now, please enjoy these color snaps.