China is a country well versed in change; dynasty-after-dynasty transforming it from one guise to the next. Now, the modern dynasty has a firm hold: a dynasty ruled from concrete jungles, rewarding quick progress. There is a beauty to be found here, but perhaps not the delicate beauty found in the crumbling ruins and rugged wilderness that lies beyond the stop signs.
Out there is a China of old caught up, muddled and at times getting lost amidst progress. It is a beautiful China - a China full of history, heritage, lore and oriental splendour.
Perhaps it is the age-old traditions of Tai Chi still taking place beneath the steel behemoths of Shanghai. Or perhaps it is a simple New Year tradition of family butchery taking place in daub and wattle huts, snow falling all around, deep in the hills of Sichuan.
It is a country steeped in culture.
Perhaps it is red ribbons ripping through the air, bathed in the rich hues of sunrise, on the sacred mountain peaks of Hua Shan, Shaanxi. Or perhaps it is the breathtaking grandeur of Zhangjiajie, Hunan where seemingly impossible rock pillars rise ever upwards from the forest floor, appearing to touch the heavens.
It is a country overflowing with untamed beauty.
A country no words, images or fleeting experiences can truly capture. It is a cacophony of juxtaposed moments that would take more than a lifetime, or even a dynasty, to truly understand. But it only takes a moment to fall in love.