journey punctuations

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The punctuation marks that accompany a given journey change by context, though tend often to involve food and drink in varying ways. In China, this is even built into sayings, such as 上马饺子下马面 (“Dumplings when mounting the horse, noodles when dismounting the horse”). Along many journeys in China, the way always seems punctuated by the presence – nay, the near ubiquitous availability – of boiled water.

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Although such ubiquity was initially likely to have arisen through the desire to have the means with which to brew one’s own tea, today it has taken on the additional role of being able to provide nourishment at short notice thanks to “convenient noodles” (or “fangbian mian” / 方便面 ). The airport in Lijiang is no exception, where the noodles are always fresh from the wax paper cup and the tea (leaves are gratis) is always piping hot.

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Journey (and ritual, for that matter) being a rather broad term, consider a somewhat different one that takes place weekly in the adjacent province of Chongqing. On a micro-level, these men are on a journey several kilometers down the swiftly moving current of the Jialing River, engaged in a broader journey towards maintaining physical fitness. Setting off from the banks of an island that is typically submerged in the middle of the river during the cold season (but becomes a vibrant park in the summer months when the water recedes), this group of friends navigates the surging current together.

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