Monday, September 27, 2010

Accretionary Wedge #27 - Important Geological Experiences

I have no pictures for this one, just the vivid, graphic impressions of a 9-year-old living in Seoul, Korea in 1972. I was already in a foreign land, where the pine trees didn't grow like the pines at home. When I first arrived, at age 7, I went through quite a bit of culture shock, from the smells, the sights, the sounds of Seoul when sewage ran down the streams and there was still no subway. My hair got touched everywhere I went (I was blond as a little girl) and always, crowds of people would gather around me to see the little foreign girl.

After a time I (mostly) got over that, but visits to art museums and palaces with lots of Chinese art always left me with the sarcasm that only a 9-year-old could have: "Mountains don't grow like that!" That thought crossed my mind every time I would see a Chinese scroll or print with these funny tall mountains that didn't have an inverted "v" shape.

That is, until Nixon went to China in February of 1972. Some of the officers who were attaches on the trip were somehow allowed to go to Guilin. And they brought back pictures. And us kids in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades at Seoul American Elementary School (at the post on Yongsan, for those in the know) were among the first to see them.

It blew my mind that day, that mountains did "grow" that way, that the art I had seen was not all wrong. I looked at those slides with wonder and awe. And they inspired a love of landforms and earth processes I've never lost.

Wikepedia link to Guilin image:

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