5 Photos, 5 Stories : Day 4

Day 4 of the challenge already. Thanks for the nomination Gilly “Lucid Gypsy” I am enjoying my trip back through my memories.

Day one; India. Day two; Grand Canyon. Day three; Russia.

Day 4 it is memories of the Trans Mongolian Express…

It is April 1990 and China is in turmoil. It is 10 months since the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4th 1989. Can you remember that heart stopping video of the lone Chinese student confronting the mighty tank?

Tourists had turned away from China fearing a civil war.

This was the month and year I stepped onto the Trans Mongolian Express with 19 other New Zealanders, led by an indomitable character named Tim Round, for a 6 week journey to England


It was one of my dreams to walk on the Great Wall of China. When I did it was almost deserted, only a few Chinese workers sweeping and cleaning the ramparts. It was so steep in some areas, I marvelled at the size of this construction built with manpower. Photos do not do justice to the enormity of it. Tim Round, our intrepid leader, had been leading groups here for 15 years and he had never seen it deserted.

The highlights of this journey are many and all are recorded on old-fashioned film and lovingly stuck (with Sellotape!!!) in an old scrap-book tucked away in a cupboard. Of course they are starting to deteriorate…

(note to myself I must start scanning them before it is too late)

I have spent an enjoyable few hours looking through those photos and reliving my journey through China, across Mongolia, spending May Day in Siberia in the snow dancing with the locals, going down to the magical Silk Road area of Tashkent and Samarkand, Seeing the might of Russia paraded in their Victory Day celebrations. The euphoria of Czechoslovakia in the middle of their first democratic elections, and the Berlin Wall had just come down. We went through Check Point Charlie from East to West Berlin, possibly one of the last to do so, and chipped a souvenir piece of rock from the Berlin Wall. The memories come flooding back…


This is the fun of these challenges, they give me an opportunity to go through my photos.

The second part of the challenge is to pass the baton on to another blogger. So today I would like to nominate (drum roll please) Tish Farrell of  ” Writer on the edge” Tish is a writer extraordinaire, she has a way with words that takes you on a journey through her world of Much Wenlock, a delightful English village, and beyond. With detailed descriptions and expressive photos that make me want to linger. Go across and say G’day to her and explore her world.

There’s no obligation Tish, have fun if you want to join in!

The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.



Categories: 5 photos 5 days, China, photography, Trans Mongolian Exspress | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “5 Photos, 5 Stories : Day 4

  1. What a story! I wish I could have been there.

    • Things will be so different now. China was still old fashioned many wearing the blue Mao suits and riding bikes, not so many cars around, but they were so friendly and we never felt threatened.

  2. Thank you very much for that very glowing report, Pauline. I’ll see what I can do 🙂

  3. I forgot to say that this is a great post. What a brilliant photo of the Great Wall, and what an adventure. I’m just hopping back to the previous posts 🙂

    • Thanks Tish, I have loved travel and been lucky to do it before all the tightened security made it so difficult.

  4. My, oh my….what a story! I’m full of envy, I have to admit!

    • The world has changed so much since those days. Travel is far more difficult now with all the threat of terrorism and tightened security. I think I was lucky to travel when I did.

  5. I am now going to add the word intrepid to my opinion of you. An INTREPID adventurer! An amazing view of the Wall. And you have prompted me to do something about my old photos too. A project for next winter I think.

    • Oh I have SOOOO many old albums Jude I don’t think I will ever be able to sort them. Maybe just scan a few now and then when a suitable theme or challenge comes up…

  6. What amazing memories and such an astonishing photo with no one on the wall. Quite a few of our family of several generations have explored China on extended stays and none of their photos show an empty wall. And your timing for all the different historical celebrations couldn’t have been better. Thank you for sharing these. Did you stop in Mongolia at all?
    Looking forward to tomorrow’s photo.

    • Yes we stopped for a day in Ulan Bator. It was like going back into the dark ages. Unfortunately my camera played up and I had a whole film that I didn’t get any images off and they were of the amazing fashions of that area. Fortunately it only happened to one film.

  7. Hey P – I would like to walk the great wall sometime – and you know, now that you mention it – I have never seen shots of this wall without people on it. so this is extra special – and looks like you were traveling at a very special time in history (again).

    Oh – and I cannot recall where I read it – but a while back – an exec from Google was giving tips to folks who were scanning all their stuff. He just said to see the bigger picture some “generic” archival storage- that is not tech dependent – he said like right now so many folks have stuff on floppy disks – stuff they cannot really easily retrieve because they do not have the actual disc player. And it was something about just being mindful to maybe use some archival safe paper and print a few of the most special and then keep hard copies preserved that way. It got me thinking

  8. Pingback: 5 photos 5 Stories: Hidden Wenlock #1 | Tish Farrell

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