Day 1: Odyssey of Photography

I will skip the tearful goodbyes, the uneventful plane ride, and the instructions. That is not what you are here for. 

What you are here for is the gist of the majestic scenery, the bloopers and blunders of our beloved friends, and my thoughts, which I can guarantee will be awesome.

I will start from when the plane was landing. The scenery was vernal, captivating, and shocking. Covered in a wide expanse of reddish-brown soil, and dotted with lonely factories and the occasional misplaced town struggling against the tide of red, Yunnan is the epiphany of the uneasy dance between industry and ecology. Snapping out my camera, and making good use of the zoom function, I captured the captivating landscape, which stood tall against the foolish human attempts to tame the land. "There has not been rain for 2-3 months", said the man sitting next to me. And looking at the dust bowl of a prefecture, it was obvious and plain.

Photography did not stop there: along the way, my camera snapped pics of unique plants, classical architecture with the traditional grey roof tiles imposed against the whitish wall. Rock formations that was chiseled out and blown inwards, the beautiful grey waters of Lake Erhai, and the sun, setting behind the Cang mountains, were all captured in the timeless memory of my camera. I took notice of the natural and the manmade, and tried my best to filter out the telephone poles from the scenery of virgin clouds. Huge power plants obscured the tiny homes of ordinary citizens. The surreal landscape lead me to feel a sense of intrigue and burning curiousity. Was all I could see in Shanghai, the tall buildings and modernity, only a tiny fraction of China?

Finally, we arrived at the vintageYangzhuoran quasi-hotel. The whole compound was decorated by wood carvings, and intricate vases and pottery were arranged in shelfs and on tables. A traditional Siheyuan design meant that all doors faced a bare courtyard of rough-hewn stone. The furniture were entirely wooden, as was the floor that creaked under your feet. The roof was made entirely of the grey tiles that characterize places like Hunan. A veil covered every doorway, against the hated mosquitoes. Cheerful red decoration hung from the supports, and light bulbs were arranged inside traditional lanterns. In other words, it was awesome. My camera seemed to be having a particularly good time, clicking and snapping at will. Interesting angles meant interesting photos. And intresting decór made for an amazing photography experince.

Welcome to Xizhou.


“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask." Over the course of Microcampus, I have experienced the individual freedom that I have been grappling with ever since I have left Shanghai. Who am I? Why am I here? My Microcampus-era posts and thoughts would go to reveal my struggle against who I am, a struggle you will soon face in Microcampus. And now that I am back, I may have but a fragment of my answer.