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There are so many well known images of China, from the Terracotta Warriors to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. Some images, like tanks rolling into Tiananmen Square, are less picturesque but equally a part of the long history of this wide and populous country. The desire to touch history can be easily fulfilled here as you rub shoulders with Chinese who are themselves beginning to search out and experience their own history.
In May/June of 2004 I took a tour of China. 'The Road to Beijing' was a Geckos tour described as grassroots and one that promised the highlights of the vast country as well as some hidden jewels. Some of the jewels were buildings or people seemingly untouched by the headlong rush of modern China into the future. Sometimes it was speaking English with someone who admitted that he did not know or understand the word democracy until just a few years ago.
The Three Gorges Dam project may be an example of how China's rush forward is burying its past and I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to see, feel, taste and touch a part of the world that is changing at a rate that may be too hard to record.