Three months before Shane Linden was born in 1995, his parents left Asia after spending nearly ten years in the region. Asia was never far away for Shane, though, as his parents opened a gallery in Ellison Bay that focused on the arts and antiques from their former home.
Nine years later, Shane had a chance to visit Asia with his parents and younger brother, Bryce. It is on the SE corner of the Tibetan plateau that we had a chance to sit with Shane and discuss his feelings about his first three months in China.
"The Chinese are so hard-working," says Shane as he drinks lemon juice in the appropriately-named Tibetan Cafe. "Look at that man there... he is carrying about three hundred pounds on his shoulders, and he probably weighs as much as my mom. I see men and women moving rocks, wood poles, and other things that are more than we would ever try to move in the U.S."
"The shop owners stay open until late at night. When I walk with my parents through the cities and small villages, many stores are open after ten o'clock. We see families eating around a little coal stove and watching t.v. waiting for one last customer."
Shane takes a sip from his juice and looks at a Bai minority lady and her child, "The people living on the mountains in Guizhou and Yunnan province wear such colorful clothing. I think their clothes are much nicer than the modern clothes the girls wear in the big cities. We have just spent two weeks in the mountains riding on roads that were very narrow. I got sick once or twice driving through these winding mountain roads. We were usually sleeping in rooms with no heat even though there was snow outside."
Shane claims that some of his favorite experiences have been in the small villages in China. His parents "drag" him along to these isolated hamlets in search of antiques. Dragging has given way to hunting for Shane. He takes equal pride in what he can find in each village. He also loves to spend time with the local families. His parents converse with the Chinese while Shane and his brother usually find a dog or other animal to keep them occupied. He loves to take pictures of all the animals he meets, but dogs are his favorites. Many meals have been shared with their new friends and he quickly learned how to say, "I don't eat dog meat."
"I also loved climbing Yellow Mountain and the Great Wall. It may sound strange, but, Bryce and I were invited to sit on a tiger while in a big zoo in Guilin. My parents were shocked when the keeper led us into the cage to take a photo. I think that they were so shocked that they could not stop it from happening. Whatever, the photo is amazing!"
Shane finishes off a piece of Chinese style apple pie and banana yogurt shake, as we ask him to anticipate how he feels about going home. "When I go back to the States, I can't wait to tell everybody what I've done. Before I went to China everybody told me how lucky I am, now I think it's true. "