On June 26, I will begin my 81st year on planet Earth. And during those 80 years I have done a lot of things. If you have been reading my columns for the past 10 or so years, you know about all of the places I’ve been and things I have done. But this column is about the things that I have not done, things I would still like to do, but probably won’t because of age and debilitating arthritis. I got close to China, but I never officially entered the country. I’ve been to Hong Kong twice, but both times it was before the Chinese government took it back from the British Empire. On one of those trips I took a hydrofoil boat across the water to Macau, which is on the Chinese mainland, but is not a part of China, although we went right up to the border and looked over into China, we did not enter. China is the largest country in the world and therefore probably the most interesting. From what I read in magazines and see in photographs China is booming and looks very new and modern in its major cities. Did you know that 10 cities in China have a population of more than 8 million each.
They are.......... Shanghai 28.2 million Shenzhen. 21.7 million Guangzhou 21 million Beijing 19.2 million Wuhan 12.6 million Tianjin 11.6 million Chengdu 11.3 million Chongqing 11.1 million Hangzhou 9.3 million Nanjing 8.3 million
By contrast the largest city in the United States is New York City with a population of 8.3 million and #10 on our list is San Jose, CA, with a population of 1.03 million people. China’s total population is nearly 5 times bigger than our United States population, so there is much to see there and I’ve seen none of it. Although I took a three day weekend cruise on the Delta Queen from Memphis to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and back, and I have taken a very large ferry from Stockholm, Sweden, to Finland on an overnight trip to tour Helsinki, I have never been on an ocean going cruise ship of any kind. I always thought I might take the Queen Elizabeth from New York to London, or do a Caribbean Cruise, or maybe one of those Alaskan Cruises, but I never have. One of my problems is it seems the only thing to do on a cruise is look at second rate entertainment at night and eat all day and the scenery in the middle of the ocean never changes. Still I wish I had taken at least one cruise maybe the Alaska one. Speaking of Alaska it is one of only two states, Iowa being the other, that I have never been to. Otherwise I’ve had my feet on the ground in the other 48 states. But I would really like to go see Iowa and Alaska. I’ve been to all of the continents except for Antarctica or any of South America. Not sure I want to go to Antarctica, there’s not much to see there, except ice and snow, but South America has a lot of interesting cities that I have missed seeing during my life. Africa is the second largest continent and I have been there three times, two times to Egypt, one time just to Cairo, but the other time we visited Cairo and then toured all the important sites down the Nile River to Aswan. The other place in Africa that I visited was Kenya where I took a short three-day safari which was magnificent. I’ve seen lions and elephants in the zoo, but to see them roaming free on the plains of Africa - that is magnificent. My regret is not going to South Africa when I had the chance. We had a Rotary Club exchange student from there and I should have visited him after he returned home. Russia and India remain unvisited as does Iceland and a trip to the Holy Land. What Matters Most ......... Traveling the world gives you a different perspective of the world in which we lived and all of the people who live on this planet with us. I think we need that perspective in order to know how to move progressively forward together. When humans cooperate, we can accomplish anything, so getting to know one another is the best thing that we can do and I’m sorry I did not get to do more of it.
© 2020 #11 - Jim High can be reached at 20 Road 447, Iuka, MS 38852 or by calling 601-401-1932.